Much ink has been spilled over the “Great Resignation.”
Many employees have resigned their positions for more meaningful work, increased flexibility, and stronger leadership. Employees are making more courageous choices in where they choose to work. Part of this trend is that Millennials and following generations are the majority of the workforce. These generations are more interested in doing meaningful work and having more free time to enjoy their hobbies and loved ones. So what do business leaders do to attract and retain the best talent?
- Be mission driven. In a very noisy world, it’s increasingly difficult to stand out, attract, and retain employees. An effective way to do that is to stand for something. Employees like working organizations who have purpose. Standing for something unapologetically, valuing behavior that furthers the mission, telling stories of how the mission is actually making a difference, and helping employees understand how their specific job moves the mission forward are all things that inspire employees to invest and commit to an organization.
- Expand your thinking. The astute leaders are realizing that many of the skills and tactics that worked for them before are no longer effective. Now, more than ever, is a time to view employees as “exceedingly human.” This concept was advocated for by organizational health expert and consultant, Pat Lencioni, in the COVID Pandemic and remains a valuable lesson. After all, we are dealing with human beings and not robots. They have emotions, hopes, fears, sicknesses, and the list goes on. It’s incumbent on organizations to provide leaders with skills and training on how to increase emotional intelligence so there is competency in relating to its employees in a healthy, safe, and productive manner. Employees produce more when they feel safe and valued.
- Develop your people. Organizations are still hiring new employees, handing them a laptop, a welcome packet (which is more like a marketing deck), taking them for lunch, and wishing them well. While that may sound extreme, it’s not too far from the truth. Onboarding is the singular most important responsibility of a leader in ensuring an employee’s success. Helping them to understand the culture of the company, what it aspires to, how they can personally succeed in their role, and how the company will support them is work that should be ongoing for the first 90 days and beyond. The modern workforce is naturally curious, wants to expand its knowledge base, and is counting on the company to provide those opportunities. The lid on an organization is its people. If leadership is not consistently raising the lid through development, it simultaneously stunts its own growth.
It takes real work to attract and retain top-performing, mission-centered employees. Helping them understand why their work matters, adapting leadership styles to meet their needs, and consistently providing employees with the opportunity to develop will help you and your organization to stand out in a crowd of organizations who aren’t willing to do the same.