Ways to Offset the “Great Resignation” and Keep Staff Happy

A lot of people suddenly had more time to think about their careers and assess next steps, which has led to a national shift in the workforce. A CEO offers his advice on retention—and more.

The Great Resignation is real. A recent Gallup poll found that 48 percent of America’s workforce is actively job searching or watching for opportunities, and a record 4 million people quit their jobs in April alone, according to the Labor Department. A lot of business leaders are wondering why this mass exodus is happening.

It’s not that employees are discovering something different about themselves they didn’t know before the pandemic, said Josh Christopherson, CEO of technology and coaching companies iCUE Technology and Achieve Today. Normally lots of people have different points in their career when they wonder if they are happy and fulfilled in their jobs. But when the pandemic hit and everyone went home at once, it caused many people to reassess everything.

“It wasn’t anything unusual that was happening to the individual,” Christopherson said. “It’s just that the circumstances caused everybody to do it all at the same time.”

A Culture of Communication

When everyone shifted to working from home, a lot of leaders expected their managers to suddenly know how to manage remote workers. At Christopherson’s companies, leadership recognized that managers didn’t necessarily have those skills and so they focused on training them on how to deal with issues employees might be having at home, how to address them, and how to be sensitive about it, he said.

Traditional quarterly reviews suddenly seemed irrelevant for remote work, so managers were retrained on how to review remote employees and determine their production levels, while also keeping challenges they might be facing in mind. Because management was checking in to see how employees were doing at home and asking if they needed help, it built a better culture of communication.

“We’ve talked very openly about what’s going on and that we’re here to support our employees through it,” Christopherson said. “Communication is a huge part of it.” And it comes from the top down so employees are comfortable coming to their managers, or even Christopherson, to talk about issues they are struggling with. “It’s being willing to have those conversations, being transparent, and working with each other,” he said.

Act on Staff Input

Another way the companies foster a positive culture is by sending out quarterly, anonymous employee surveys to find out what changes and improvements staff would recommend. They use a Google form, which is free, and keep it to three simple questions:

1.) How satisfied are you with your experience? (The answer field is a scale from 1 to 10 ranging from “totally unsatisfied” to “I love it here!”)

2.) What is one thing you would like to change or discuss?

3.) What is one thing you really like?

The senior team picks three survey responses every quarter to work on, advance, and implement. It helps build trust and show staff that their concerns matter and, more importantly, will be addressed.

There are also weekly strategy team meetings for managers where they can talk about challenges they are experiencing in their departments, or with employees, and then the strategy team works together to come up with solutions on how to fix the issues and move forward.

“Not only are we helping our employees, but we’re also helping our managers have a community of people they can talk to and go to for solutions,” Christopherson said.

(phototechno/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!