How to avoid an exodus of your best people

How sensemaking can help avoid an exodus of your best people

If you already suffered from the Great Resignation and lost key employees, this may be too late for you. According to a survey conducted by Zety in the USA, 49% of the respondents to the survey quit in 2021!

But, if you still have people in your company that you really want to retain (hopefully true for most organisations), then there are things you may need to do. Just because employees stayed with you, it does not mean that they enjoy their jobs and like the company. They may be quietly biding their time, even ‘quiet quitting’, and waiting for the perfect job to come up. There are many reasons why people either quit or are thinking about it, some internal to the company and job and some external.

One of the catalysts of the Great Resignation was the ability of many people to work from home during the pandemic. This allowed people, particularly Millennials or from Generation Z, to revise expectations of what work can provide. It allowed them to think about long-term goals, their careers and, crucially, their working and living conditions.

For example, in an era of stagnant salaries, many young people found they were unable to buy their own homes. This situation that has only become worse now that inflation is raging.

As companies started to insist that employees return to the office, many of them decided it was time to move on. Leaving to join companies with more flexible working arrangements and a better commute, in some cases allowing people to move to more affordable areas.

According to Zety’s research, reasons for quitting, internal to the job and company, include:

  • low salary,
  • poor benefits,
  • limited career opportunities,
  • not being valued.

In the case of people who had not yet quit, 80% cited ‘low salary’ and 66% cited ‘not being valued’ as reasons they were thinking of quitting.

Jacques Buffett, CPRW in Zety, lists four takeaways from the research to stem the tide of leavers and potentially attract people who are thinking of quitting jobs in other companies. These are addressing the main reasons for quitting related to pay and benefits, flexibility, bosses and career opportunities.

On the issue of ‘bad’ bosses, Buffett says ‘Poor leadership is toxic to an organisation. We’ve long known the risks posed by bad management, but workers simply won’t tolerate it any more. Organisations should ensure their leaders have the skills needed to keep talent on board.’

Charles Ross, Asia editorial director of Economist Impact, explains the approach taken by some companies, recognising the ‘balance of choice has shifted in favour of employees’ that involves the use of data to discover and address the aspirations and preferences of employees. Ross says that ‘businesses in the region (Asia Pacific) are using analytical methods to attract, hire and retain talent’. He emphasises the need for companies to act on existing rather than old cultural and performance issues by creating and maintaining a constant flow of data. Ross comes to a very similar conclusion to that revealed by the Zety study, namely ‘to retain the best talent, firms need to create a place where people want to do great work, feel they can be themselves, and be rewarded or recognised for that’.

One tool that can help leaders discover, anonymously and in real-time, how their people are feeling about the organisation is Tensense. Grounded in the science of Sensemaking, it provides an early warning system for leaders that surfaces issues such as increasing inertia, poor collaboration or declining relationships. This is done by harnessing the instinct of the workforce, who see what is happening on the ground, and asking them how they feel the organisation is performing. This innovative diagnostic has been instrumental in helping large and small organisations detect potential problems affecting their people and stay on a path of optimum performance – allowing leaders to ‘see around corners’ if you will. See how it works.

Photo by Paula Schmidt