Employees across the country are leaving their jobs at historic levels. In fact, more than 4.5 million employees exited the workforce in November 2021. Unemployment rates are also dropping, though, declining to 3.9% in December 2021. How can resignations increase, while at the same time, unemployment decrease? Many experts believe that workers are seeking more satisfying employment opportunities that fit their lifestyles and goals and are turning to alternative employment models.
This historic exodus and changing workforce is often been described as “The Great Resignation” in today’s media, and often alluded to in a negative context. However, we believe this is really a positive phenomenon and should be described as “The Great Realignment”. Instead of purely resigning, employees are looking to realign their life, obtain better work/life balance, and contribute to the workforce in ways they find most meaningful.
What if, instead of resigning, employees could find the realignment they’re seeking right within your organization? How can you, as a leader, influence and create a connected culture of transparency, acceptance, and one that provides fulfilling opportunities for employees?
Read on to learn how leaders, at any level of an organization, can help employees, teams, and organizations transition from The Great Resignation to The Great Realignment.
It all starts with culture. The past two years has all but eliminated any separation between our work lives and our personal lives. Now, many employees’ lives convene in the same location each day – the home office. And office cultures around the country are evolving as a result. How can leaders impact and help build a culture that supports its employees?
- Create a connected culture. Creating a culture that is connected, even in virtual environments, provides opportunities for employees to build relationships on a personal level. Look for ways to recreate in-office, non-work related interactions through virtual coffee chats, weekly lunches, or happy hours.
- Engage the whole person. Now more than ever, employees want to work for organizations that value both their professional and personal interests and needs. As leaders, it’s important to get to know your team members on a personal level. What do they do in their spare time? What are they passionate about? How is their family? Getting to know your employees as a whole person makes them feel valued and comfortable expressing their needs, goals, desires, and challenges. It takes more than feeling engaged, though. A recent Gallup study indicates that even engaged employees may struggle with their overall wellness. As a leader, it’s important to include wellbeing as part of performance management and integrate wellbeing conversations into workplace conversations.
- Leverage employees’ strengths and passions. Employees who are provided opportunities to do what they love are bound to be happier in their current positions. Using a strengths-based philosophy, look for ways to provide opportunities to team members that spark their passions, gives them energy, and are aligned with their values. While not every task during a workday will leave employees feeling fulfilled, aiming for 20-percent a day is a great start.
- Be transparent. Just as employees have become and continue to lead with transparency in the workplace, it’s important that leaders do the same. While getting to know the entire person of your employees, be sure to offer the same opportunity for your employees to get to know you as a whole person.
- Conduct stay interviews: Every team has members it can’t afford to lose. They are your forward thinker, high performers, and future leaders. A stay interview is a conversation between supervisors and employees to uncover what employees want in their professional future, inquire on what the company or team could do better or improve, and how to make their work more engaging and satisfying. Three of the best questions to ask during stay interviews are: “What can we do going forward to keep you here?”, “What do you look forward to each day?” and “How can I make your job better?”. For additional resources on stay interviews, check out SHRM’s article, or Hello Stay Interviews, Goodbye Talent Loss by Dr. Beverly Kaye Sharon Jordan Evans.
- Consider a culture audit. Whether formal or informal, audits can help to identify where an organization’s culture supports and enables its employees to achieve the vision, mission, values, and goals, and where there might be areas to improve. These audits can be focused on the organization as a whole or just your team. It doesn’t need to be a formal, elaborate survey either; it can be individual or team conversations, as long as the person asking is open to the feedback.
Positive change starts with CI International. To learn how we can help your organization realign itself for greatness in 2022 and beyond, complete our brief contact form or call 800-559-9785 to start a conversation today.