It is worth recognising that even the most loved workplaces will lose team members, so no one will be exempt. Now that many people are finally able to leave their own suburbs, let alone the state, movement is inevitable.
The shift we are seeing is one where priorities have changed within the workforce and it is this shift that businesses need to take heed of. Work will now need to fit in with life choices: the willingness to sacrifice life choices to work has dissipated. This does bring a certain shift of power to the individual that is choosing their new direction as they are more confident and honest about what they are needing in a career.
The challenge for businesses is they will need to step up to not only retain talent, but also to attract it. You will probably fall into one of three camps with your response to this new conundrum.
- Head in the sand
- Panic stations
- Bring it on….after all, we have managed to get through the pandemic gut punches of the last two years.
The reality is that this is unavoidable and most businesses will be impacted. The key will be not to panic, but instead be prepared. So, where to start?
Retaining your team
First up, a climate check of your team is a must. Confidence is returning, so now’s the time people will start looking to the future. The question is, where does your business fit with the future aspirations of your team? If you don’t ask, you don’t know!
I could write a whole other article on how to have these conversations and ensure they are productive, but for now, let’s stick to the basics. One-on-one conversations will be important, so all leaders within your team will need to step up to ensure no one is forgotten. Find a relatively quiet, non-intimidating space (granted many of us are still on Zoom) and a time that works for all.
Remember, the goal is to gain an insight into their thoughts, not to insert your own. Many people are still finding their feet, so it may be that focussing on the short term is all they have the headspace for. Not everyone will be able to articulate their career projections but may simply be happy to enjoy the small pleasures life out of lockdown has to offer.
What you would ideally like to better understand is:
- Are they feeling more confident for the times ahead? Give them the floor to talk about whatever they want. Whether it is personal or work related, this is your chance to understand where their head is at. Being listened to is also an incredible step towards building trust and improving communication.
- What are their working preferences and what new ways of working are they loving? Workplaces are also still finding their feet, but understanding your team’s preferences will help you work out a game plan.
- What are their goals within their role or within the business? They may or may not be thinking long term, but understanding their goals and motivations will give you insight into how you can help them get there.
- Be open and share your goals for the business. Being transparent will help someone understand the path ahead and what opportunities might be available for them.
In having honest conversations, you can better understand the motivations of your team. They may be looking to move on for a number of reasons, but wouldn’t you rather know about it so you can prepare? For those who are starting to think about new opportunities, ensure you are offering as many opportunities as you can inhouse. Professional development, flexibility or opportunities to explore new roles within your business should be areas to be developed. Last but not least, burnout is very real, so does anyone need a well earned break to re-calibrate?
Losing team members
This can be tough and expensive to a business, but it is a fact of life, so please don’t get bent out of shape about it. Ideally you have insight into why they are leaving, but if someone feels uncomfortable sharing the real reason, then it is a little late to fix it as they are walking out the door. Do ensure it is as positive as it can be as this world is just way too small.
To minimise the damage, there are a few things to get onto:
- Have all procedures written down! Losing a team member who has the procedures in their head is a disaster.
- Will their departure negatively impact any team members? The last thing you need is a knock-on effect, so do some research as to whether this is the case.
- Do you need to replace the person leaving or should there be a change in the role? Don’t knee-jerk to fill the position until you are 100 per cent sure you need to.
- Is there a replacement right under your nose? Would anyone like the opportunity to step into the role, even if it is simply to try it?
Now the most exciting opportunity…
To ensure you stand out from the crowd and attract the newly available talent, you need to do some work to ensure your business is front and centre. This is where the power play has shifted and businesses need to step up to be more transparent and market their business to potential talent.
- Be transparent. There is no point in having your business values and ways of working privy to internal eyes only. Embrace them and share them in a way that engages future team members. Remember, people are looking for businesses that align with their needs: values, career opportunities, flexibility, and most importantly culture. Engagement should start in the hiring process.
- Be flexible. Career pathways and preferences are changing, so businesses will need to be flexible if they want to capitalise on talent that might look a little different on paper.
- Consider being open for talent to approach, even if you don’t have a particular role available. Businesses that remain open to opportunities will benefit greatly in the times ahead. ‘Don’t see the job for you, we still want to hear from you’ is a great way to attract talent that align with your brand.
- Take the time to have conversations. CVs and cover letters barely scratch the surface, so if this is how you are managing your talent flow, you will need to try and read between the lines or have more conversations to ensure the culture fit is right. Alternatively, trial some talent communities that offer more in depth profiles to help you make informed hiring decisions.
There are plenty of opportunities ahead for businesses to not only manage but also capitalise on The Great Resignation. Being proactive, flexible and keeping the channels of communication open will be the key steps in ensuring you are one of the ones to not only ride out but also thrive during the times ahead.