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Insights from Ben Neivert

How to stop the resignations

Why are your employees unhappy and what can you do about it?

Over the last year, we have seen many articles and heard podcast discussions about unhappy employees and higher-than-normal resignation rates; 'The Great Resignation' or 'The Big Quit'... whatever you call it, is impacting many businesses. The numbers support this with the unprecedented numbers of 4.5 million or 3% of the workforce quitting their jobs in just one month (November 2021). The bad news is this trend is not abating so we can't just wait and see what happens. Chance's are you will loose your best people first.

When you think about it, it makes sense. Not too long ago, the discussion amongst HR professionals was how millennials often expressed frustration with how long it took to make changes within an enterprise or get a promotion.

Let’s also consider the interplay between the generational beliefs in the scope of control: that is to say, 'The Great Generation' believed that it was all within their scope of control, where Millennials often seem to feel like little is in their scope of control, but, considering their empowered upbringing and in many cases, their education, they feel it should be.

These scope of control forces are creating a high level of frustration in many. A frustration that leads to pushing for change and resignations.

Combining these forces with access to social media and significantly less respect for an older cultural norm of not publicizing work issues, we get the current situation.

On top of this phenomenon, add the idea that there are always other jobs and less value placed on having a job in the first place, and employees are much more willing to break these norms and express their frustration publicly.

So, the real question is, what can we, as leaders, do about this?

I believe that well-thought-out engagement is the key. Listen not to appease but to understand. How can the things that frustrate the employees be improved for the benefit of the enterprise and improve the employee's happiness?

We need to develop a way to listen more carefully to the employees' professional and personal goals and then understand how we can map those to the business vision, strategy, and processes. In addition, we need to consider what changes need to be made to the vision, strategy, and business processes that leverage employees overcoming their frustration to improve the business.

A holistic approach is needed here, involving human resource policy, leadership style, and may include organizational structure and the opportunity to implement life-long learning models.


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