"Celebrate endings—for they precede new beginnings."
~Jonathan Lockwood Huie, Author
Year in Review
2022 is shaping up to be quite a year in the world of work. The Pandemic's trajectory is sidelining many businesses' plans to return to the worksite. Employees continue to leave their jobs in droves. These issues continue the upheaval beginning in 2020 through 2021. The good news is that this turmoil is creating great opportunities for Companies willing to step into the breach and build cultures that serve their business, their employees, and the world.
The Ongoing Pandemic
The Pandemic reset how we live, work, and do business, accelerating long-term shifts and setting new changes in motion. Thousands of airline flights continue to be canceled daily due to a lack of healthy unexposed crew. Supply chain disruptions continue. Organizations are delaying in-person meetings, shelving return-to-office plans yet again, and canceling conferences.
"The pandemic is a huge opportunity to reset our business and personal lives."
~Diplomat and professor Margaret Hanson-Muse
The Pandemic offers a call to action to change organizational cultures, not find a way back to the way it was. Visionary Leaders have stopped trying to set a date for all employees to be back at the worksite. They focus on making it safe for the employees that must come back. They also are investing in efforts to develop policies and procedures to build strong cultures using virtual and hybrid models that support the needs of their employees.
The Great Resignation
The Pandemic served as a period of reflection for many. In its wake, millions of U.S. workers quit in what some dubbed the Great Resignation or Great Attrition... More than 43 million U.S. workers—and counting—have quit their jobs since April 2021, a record pace disrupting businesses everywhere.
With employees reassessing their options and leaders grappling with how to respond, the future of work has become a hot topic. Companies are struggling to address the problem, and many will continue to struggle for one simple reason: they don't understand why their employees are leaving in the first place. With so much up for grabs, organizations risk their very existence by ignoring people and talent issues.
Listening and Learning
McKinsey latest multi-industry, multi-national research into the nature and characteristics of the Great Attrition and what’s driving it shows that leaders are not doing is listening and learning what their employees are telling them.
Instead of learning what the employees want and need, companies primarily use cash to improve retention. For frontline workers, businesses have been raising minimum wages significantly, while at the executive level, companies have been offering seven-figure retention bonuses to keep talent.
But money alone will not stop employees from looking elsewhere or being available when other companies come calling. The employees seek genuine connections to the organization's Vision and Mission, their work, leaders, and fellow employees, not transactional interactions.
In the September 2021 report, McKinsey wrote: "Leaders who neglect culture and connections do so at their peril”. If you lead a large team or a company, remember this: the Great Resignation/Attrition is real, will continue, and may get worse before it gets better.
If we are to truly reclaim our lives, now is the moment to start building.
The Pandemic does not appear to be ending anytime soon. It is time to implement long-term thinking about how we will live and work with the virus ever-present. Will companies going forward be hybrid, purposeful, inclusive, and built for balance and wellbeing?
This continued upheaval leads us to this unique moment which represents a big opportunity. To seize it, take a step back, listen, learn, and make the changes employees want—starting with a focus on the relational aspects of work that people have missed the most. By understanding what you can do and why employees are leaving and by acting thoughtfully, you may be able to turn the Great Attrition into a Great Attraction.
If you would like to learn more about stepping into the breach and building a culture that serves your business, your employees, and the world – please reach out to us email@example.com@heffelfingerco.com.
James and Lori
James Jackman and Lori Heffelfinger
Supporting Business Leaders to transform cultures and transition through the pandemic and beyond.