Can we take a minute to have an honest reflection on how much has changed over the last year? Covid gave us the opportunity to focus on what truly matters, and appreciate the moments we may have been taking for granted. For example – last year we reminisced on drinking burnt coffee with colleagues in the break room, and now we’re back to gathering around the shared office Keurig.
After a year of almost everything being virtual, employees are slowly adjusting back to in-person life but the workplace is no longer the same. Let’s think about all that’s happened in the last year that led to a historic drop in employee engagement:
- First of all, the Covid-19 pandemic clearly changed how we worked and interacted with each other.
- Shortly after, we confronted racial division with Asian hate crimes, the death of George Floyd, and Black Lives Matter protests.
- We also faced some heavy political and social divides (hello, vaccination status and masking).
It’s pretty exhausting looking back at what we’ve endured, so how can we use the lessons from the last year to make positive change? While we experienced some horrible things over the past year (and let’s be honest, much longer than that), these experiences have opened our eyes up to the need for an inclusive environment. And there’s no going back.
Your Defense Against the Great Resignation
Have you heard the rumblings about something called “The Big Quit” or “The Great Resignation?” You may have started seeing “Now Hiring” posts popping up from tech companies to retail chains. Although months ago many of our friends and family were fretting that the pandemic would impact their jobs, people are now quitting in record numbers – four million people left their jobs in April alone! So what on earth is going on?!
Life during Covid has changed many people’s mindsets. Our values shifted; we learned to prioritize time, wellness, relationships, and overall well being. Like never before, employees are taking a stance for what is truly important to them and are willing to leave if their needs are not meant. Unfortunately, many employers are calling their bluff. This “optimism bias” leads managers to believe that “The Big Quit” would never sweep their workplace. But that naivete could come at a high cost.
Last month we shared four skills every manager needs to learn because how they respond during this time will determine whether or not their employees feel inclined to join the migration or not. The flexibility of remote or hybrid work has opened the eyes of many to realize there is more to life than to eat, sleep, work, and repeat. In fact, polls suggest that nearly 40% of white-collar employees would be more likely to quit their jobs if it meant giving up remote work.
Whoa. Those are not small numbers.
While some employees may be overjoyed by the return to the office, there is also a growing number of employees who aren’t quite ready to give up their virtual lives. Workplace flexibility has become the new American dream.
We get it, seeing your colleagues and friends in person is WAY better than staring at a computer screen for a Zoom call. But not having to choose family or a personal life over work? Priceless.
Let’s take what we have learned to help shape the future, rather than moving backwards (because let’s be honest, no one wants to relive August of 2020). But don’t worry, we’re here to help with 4 easy steps to develop a new organizational strategy to defend against “The Big Quit.”
How to Develop an Organizational Strategy for the New Workplace
Step 1: Get a Benchmark on Strengths & Opportunities
First of all, you can't manage what you can’t measure. You must establish a benchmark so you can help managers identify strengths and personal areas of opportunity. Psst… bonus points if these strengths and areas of opportunity are based on what’s most important to their team! This is where dual-rating comes in handy, so your organization is not wasting time and resources on things that your employees deem as unimportant. Focus your attention where it matters!
Tip: Our statistically valid dual-scale #BeHeard Survey is a great place to start! Get a free benchmark on engagement, effectiveness in 5 key engagement drivers, and turnover risk. You can even run reports for individual managers or departments to see what’s most important to your employees. Click HERE to access the Survey Toolkit and create your free account today!
Step 2: Create an Action Plan (and Follow Through)
Training lags in organizations, even with remote options. So be specific and action-oriented regarding the identified skills that are needed within your teams. Take the opportunity to personalize a plan of action for each of your managers to have the biggest impact on your organization. This will also help set expectations, such as participating in a recognition training or workshop (like this team training).
Provide support to ensure each of your managers develop their growth areas to be successful in their roles. They will feel valued and appreciated because you’re investing in them as individuals and then, in turn, do the same for their employees. Make that trickle-down effect work to your advantage!
Tip: If you’ve taken the #BeHeard Survey, make sure to use our free templates to personalize a plan of action for each of your managers. This will help them prioritize specific actionable recommendations and make the EI skills above a habit.
Step 3: Track Progress and Celebrate Wins
When practicing new skills, it’s critical to track ongoing progress. Give your managers the tools and insights they need to see the progress they are making and gauge how their employees are feeling as well. Provide them with a way to regularly check in with employees and ensure they have the resources and assistance they need to be proactive before their concerns begin to grow.
Should we say that again? Proactive means identifying the pain-point BEFORE it becomes a big issue for your employee. If you wait, you risk finding out about the issue during an exit interview when it is much too late.
Tip: Psst… pulse surveys are a great way to do that! Our Sparck solution integrates with the #BeHeard Results and helps you manage pulse survey questions in real time. Learn more HERE!
Step 4: Provide Manager Coaching with Examples and Support
In addition to tools for checking-in, your managers also need resources and realistic examples to help them develop the right habits. This may include real-time coaching tips and alerts, or a library of questions to ask that align with authentic curiosity. For example, some managers may be asking “How was your weekend?” but not actively listening or observing body language and tone of voice. Coaching around these interactions will lead to the type of engagement that is needed to build relationships, effective communication, and engagement.
Tip: You can help equip your managers by providing additional solutions and resources that managers can use to elevate their EI skills like ImprovEQ, Sparck, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and more. The pandemic accelerated tech adoption like no other, so there are a ton of great options to explore.
Let Sparck Help
All of the changes in the world have helped employees realize what they need in a workplace and they are not willing to compromise. The organizations that invest in ongoing learning and development opportunities, provide the tools and resources needed, and meet the diverse needs of their teams have happier employees. And happier employees stick around. The first step is giving your people a voice, with tools like the #BeHeard Survey. Once you know what your employees need, you will be one step closer to creating a work environment that is well-equipped to combat “The Great Resignation.”