Don't Make the Great Resignation Even Greater: 4 Mistakes You Could be Making
With more than 4.5 million professionals leaving their jobs in March – the highest quit rate ever recorded – businesses across all industries have been left understaffed, over-stressed, and struggling to retain and support their current workforce. Many business leaders are being faced with tough decisions as they try to balance current staff needs with talent attraction efforts. While some companies have been able to rise to the challenge, many have made some of the following four mistakes while navigating the Great Resignation.
Halting Internal Job Transfers
As the Great Resignation drains talent from companies, business leaders are left with lean teams and staff taking on additional responsibilities. In an effort to keep their best teams intact, many businesses have halted internal job transfers. Many managers need the support of every team member they have to accomplish day-to-day tasks and to help train new employees, leading to them to prevent or highly discourage their people from applying to other roles within the company.
While considering internal employees for job changes may mean leaving another position open, not doing so may drive loyal employees to look outside of the organization for the opportunities not available to them – even though open - at their current company. If leaders need support on their teams, they should consider creating a hybrid role that allows the employee to straddle both roles – learning the new responsibilities, while remaining available to train new hires on their former team. If unable to do so, work to manage expectations. Job changes may be on hold for now, but interviews could begin sooner, rather than later. If unsure of the timeline, consider preemptively writing a letter of recommendation for when it does open or offering to help set up informational interviews for the employee.
As soon as companies ignore the needs of their top performers, who are committed and want to stay and grow within the organization, they are digging themselves a deeper hole.
Promoting Employees Before They are Ready
On the flip slide of the above, some companies finding themselves short-staffed have relied too heavily on their existing staff to take on responsibilities above their skill level. While turnover among managers is on the rise, and many companies are not prepared to fill that position immediately, some look internally for employees who can assume that role and responsibilities. For employees already stretched beyond their abilities and comfort level, this can do more harm than good.
If caught without qualified management for a period of time, companies should look at current leaders and conduct a temporary reorganization for an existing leader to cover different teams until a new manager is hired on.
To prevent this predicament in the future, businesses should implement more robust succession plans to help develop their high potential employees for future leadership roles. Training them for the next step of their career can begin even years in advance and can help prevent employees from feeling underprepared when the time comes for them to take on that leadership position. Employees want growth and career development. According to a LaSalle Network Study, it is the number one motivating factor for many employees to take a new position. So, in turn, succession planning can be a talent attraction and retention tool.
Not Tapping into a Key Talent Group
While businesses scramble to move talent down their candidate pipeline from business awareness, to applicant, to new hire, many are forgetting a key demographic: boomerang employees – professionals who once worked for an organization, left for a period of time, and came back/were rehired.
4.5% of hires within the U.S. in 2021 were boomerang employees, versus 3.9% in 2019. These employees already know the business and industry, are familiar with the culture and mission, and may still be in touch with people within the organization. Often, they can be onboarded and jump into their roles more quickly and effectively than new hires, as well. If considering various boomerang employees, companies should first consider their original reasons for quitting to ensure the factors that motivated them to leave initially no longer pose an issue.
In order to help boomerang employees better reassimilate to the company, onboarding may look a little different. They should be informed on any business evolutions, including how the company culture has shifted or evolved, new processes in place, and expectations as they rejoin the organization. They should also reconnect with key leaders and team members who worked with them in the past in order to discuss what has changed from their perspective since they have been gone, and what those employees have achieved since. It’s a great opportunity for the boomerang employee to regain trust from existing employees and get reacquainted.
Not Focusing on the Employee Experience
While unfortunate, it is true that turnover can be contagious. As various team members and leaders turn in their resignations, it can cause others to consider why, and if they should follow suit. Rather than try to downplay turnover, companies should consider communicating with their employees what is being done to help improve retention and the employee experience. Communicating with staff about how the business plans to evolve to meet their needs can help stop turnover contagion in its tracks.
With an increased number of resignations, it is even more important to continue exit interviews and surveys. Knowing why people are leaving can help improve the culture or processes to prevent future exits. Don’t assume it is just for a salary bump – while that could be a motivating factor for some, there are likely additional reasons the employee started looking elsewhere to begin with.
Leaders should consider the suggested changes sooner, rather than later, as the Great Resignation is likely to continue well into 2022. How leaders respond today will impact the strength of their workforce in the years to come.
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