Outdated assumptions that undermine employee retention
The Great Resignation began at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and, according to recent research, is showing no sign of stopping.
As data highlights that two-fifths of people are unhappy at work and are considering leaving their job in the near future, leaders and organisations need a clearer approach to understanding and engaging talent.
New business models, creative delivery platforms and distributed workforce configurations are forcing us to think differently and act faster than ever before — and the widespread myths that have surrounded employee sentiment for decades aren’t keeping pace with today’s realities.
1. Lack of flexibility
Flexibility, in all its forms, is quickly becoming the new currency of employee retention. With flexible work arrangements, employees are able to customize their work schedules based on their specific needs and values.
A recent PwC study which shows that one in five employees plan to quit in 2022 also found that remuneration aside, work flexibility has become increasingly important. More than a quarter of respondents said they would like to work remotely full-time, however, only 18 percent believed that their employer is likely to allow that to happen. Rather than being tied to a physical location for certain hours during the day, organisations that value employees focus on providing them with the flexibility needed to enable them to be productive.
2. Recognition and feedback
Recognition and feedback are powerful employee retention mechanisms. According to research from McKinsey, 52 percent of the employees who recently left their jobs reported feeling undervalued by their manager, and employees who didn’t feel recognised for their contributions were nearly twice as likely to be looking for another role.
Sense of progress is one of the most powerful motivators in the workplace, even stronger than pay. And encouraging people’s strengths by providing specific feedback on their contribution helps them and the organisation to thrive. More organic, ongoing conversations about performance, development and career paths build rapport, demonstrate care and generate positive feelings that lead to employee retention.
As a result of a rapidly changing economic, technological and social landscape, employees are looking to ensure that today’s experience meets their needs. If it doesn’t, they have options that they are willing to exercise quickly. Today’s workplaces are in a constant state of change, and this can create a need for an open dialogue.
Regular and authentic communication is essential to ensure that employees remain motivated, excited about their career growth and able to see the bigger picture. Leaders are often primarily focused on getting to the finish line, however, in a hybrid or remote work environment, that mentality can cause communication to become transactional, and result in missed opportunities to connect with employees on a deeper level.
Employees want to believe they are working for something greater than themselves. A higher purpose goes beyond economic gain – it is much more personal and aspirational. It helps employees feel that they are making a difference and cementing their support. Compensation is not the only motivator that drives us to work, and as a result, more improvements need to be made for organisations to keep their top talent engaged, productive and happy.
The degree of meaning and purpose we derive from work is the biggest difference between a job and a career. Psychological research shows that when employees feel that they belong, they are not only likely to perform better, but also experience higher levels of engagement and well-being. In addition, those who don’t feel their work contributes to their company’s mission are 630 percent more likely to quit their jobs than their peers who do.
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