October 12, 2021
Worried about The Great Resignation? Create a Great Reengagement
In early 2021, a variety of reports, including ones from Achievers, Microsoft, and Prudential, set off alarm bells at companies around the world. About two-thirds of employees were considering looking for new jobs within the year, portending catastrophic turnover.
By May, the threat had a catchy name: The Great Resignation. By July, there was data to justify the fear, with a new record-breaking national quit rate. With 3.8 million people leaving their jobs in a single month, the business press collectively declared it official: The Great Resignation was no longer theoretical; it was here.
The Great Resignation Takes Over
Suddenly, talk of #TheGreatResignation was impossible to avoid. The trend was referred to as a tidal wave of turnover, an avalanche of attrition, and a tsunami. Additionally, a few major narratives emerged, including:
- That the threshold for acceptable working conditions had shifted for a more empowered workforce.
- That people are primarily seeking greater flexibility.
- That the threat of returning to an office was to blame.
What the natural disaster metaphors and simplified narratives have in common is the implication that The Great Resignation is happening to companies, who are passive casualties to forces beyond their control.
It would be unfair to dismiss that idea as entirely false; after all, the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic and public health crises it wrought were the impetus for an unknowable amount of soul-searching, reprioritizing, and major life changes among the people who make up the workforce.
Still, we couldn’t help but feel that The Great Resignation was more than the trend keeping HR leaders up at night. It was a wake-up call and a call to action. On September 9, via a LinkedIn post, we introduced the world to the Great Reengagement.
Introducing the Great Reengagement
If The Great Resignation is what’s happening at companies everywhere, then The Great Reengagement is what those companies now need to actively create. The Great Reengagement is an opportunity to make necessary, systemic, long-term changes to the way you support your people.
To illustrate this mindset shift, consider these common Great Resignation remarks and their Great Reengagement reframes:
|The Great Resignation||The Great Reengagement|
|“How do we keep people from quitting?”||“How do we earn people’s lasting trust and loyalty?”|
|“This is a difficult moment, but things will eventually get back to normal.”||“This is a paradigm shift, and our one chance to make the necessary changes for long-term retention.”|
|“Employees will go where they can get the best offer.”||“Employees are telling us exactly what they need, and we should listen.”|
Let’s break those down further. We’ve selected Bravely content to dig deeper into the topics relevant to each aspect of the Great Reengagement.
Earning lasting trust and loyalty
In an employees’ market, people don’t have to look far for a reason to leave your company. They’re looking for a reason to stay. And “easy” fixes like pay raises or flashy perks, while likely to retain some, aren’t a real solution on their own. People need:
- to feel connected to their work and to each other.
- opportunities to grow, learn, and fail without fear.
- to be seen and respected not just for their contributions, but for who they are.
A paradigm shift
Our changing world of work opens an incredible opportunity for massive, unprecedented change in service of our responsibility to build workplaces that work for everyone. Take nothing for granted, especially not the status quo. This is the moment to look at every aspect of our organizations and ask, “Is this really the best way?”
Listening to your people
Want to know what your people are thinking and feeling? What they need, why they’re staying, why they might consider leaving? Ask. It’s never been more important to be not only receptive to feedback, but soliciting it and acting upon it.
The Next Normal: Open Your Feedback Channels
The Great Reengagement won’t be a magic bullet that stops any and all turnover on your team. It’s a long-term play, and the value of leveling up your commitment to your people will be felt over time. Stay the course. The companies that come out of The Great Resignation stronger will be the ones that understand this one thing: What’s good for your people is what’s good for your business.
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