Employees are quitting their jobs left and right in droves, as workplaces globally face extreme labour shortages. Companies are scrambling to maintain their workforce and continue operations. It’s not a particularly easy task.
Forbes claims there are many reasons employees aren’t showing up for work. Recent increased polarisation within the political and social ideology planes have been causing anxiety when facing current news with the C-suite.
Women and minority groups worry about microaggressions or feel undervalued. The commute to work can be difficult physically and mentally for certain socioeconomic groups.
Others simply don’t want to lose the freedom they gained when working from home, or desire to continue nurturing pandemic-rediscovered priorities such as eating dinner with the family or being active throughout the day.
The post-COVID work world is riddled with uncertainties and polarised desires – either for things to go back to how they were, or for the workplace to entirely reinvent itself. Unfortunately, the latter is an unachievable reality especially in the short-term, and thus employees are dissatisfied with work.
Many workers re-prioritised their life during the height of COVID-19 and don’t want to lose their new focus on fitness, family, or healthy hobbies. Other workers want to be back in the office full-time, buzzing around high on the fast-paced energy.
None of these workers are getting exactly what they want. And even if some do, many are unhappy.
The “Great Resignation” – dubbed by professionals as this massive “I quit” phenomenon, has made employee retention even more of an urgent conversation among founders, CEOs, and managers.
Make Time Off a Requirement
Especially for the achievement oriented or those eager for extra paychecks, working as constantly as possible can become an addictive reality, while taking time off is a procrastinated thought of the past.
This can lead even the best employees down a deceptive route of extreme burnout. To make sure that you retain your most valued and hard-working employees, you must ensure they are taking their much-needed and much-recommended time off.
Encourage Life Outside of Work
Show your employees that you value them being happy, healthy human beings with commitments outside of work. John is a new dad? Offer a work-from-home option for him so he can spend time with his child when required and help out at home. Sarah wants to leave work an hour early to go on a long walk with friends? She gets all her work done early anyways, encourage it!
Set Strict Work-Life Boundaries
Don’t send emails after clock-out time. Assigning get-done-over-the-weekend projects, especially when you know they will be visiting their parents for the weekend, is not great.
Eyes bleeding over the computer late into the night when an individual should be spending time with family, just to get up in the morning and rush to the office again, is not a great incentive to work hard during the day.
This isn’t just on your part, however. Your employees need some encouragement and guidance to not stay switched on after certain hours at night.
Of course, it is their choice, but by creating a culture where you express you would prefer the opposite can help them choose to refresh with life outside of work, or at the very least feel good about putting in the extra hours if they choose to do so. The expectation should be: work is done at work, and life outside of work should be free of work obligations.
Improve Meaningful Connections
The human experience requires individuals to feel they are making a difference with their work through meaningful connections. In any business, whether selling shoes or serving dinners or providing architecture counsel, it requires employees to see that the work they do is making a difference in the world.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by improving employees’ communication with customers, and therefore establishing meaningful connections.
Establish Firm Workplace Harassment Policies
Your employees need to feel safe, respected, and valued as a person when coming into work. CEB’s Quarterly Global Labor Market claims respect is one of the top three qualities employees look for in a workplace.
With the social, ideological, and political tensions the recent world events have stirred up, certain groups face even greater concern of being harassed. Workplace harassment policies that are strictly adhered to can create peace of mind especially for women and marginalised employees.
Offer Due Recognition
Work should be a fulfilling experience. Similar to making meaningful connections to foster a sense of purpose in work, recognition of achievement and effort must occur.
Create awards and honours for loyal, hard-working employees. Many employees crave a sense of status, belonging, and admiration from their workplace. Peer and authoritative recognition is so important to enforce any positive habit in life, including showing up for work.
The “Great Resignation” doesn’t have to impact your business negatively. Look at it as motivation to improve your HR and employee culture. Just a little bit of effort can create an epic workplace where everyone feels respected, heard, refreshed, eager, and energetic with purpose!