Our last blog covered the signs and symptoms of the possible exodus of employees post pandemic. Your company may already be feeling some of this happening. We see companies that are desperate to fill positions along with scrambling to keep the people they have. Organizations large and small are reporting that employee turnover rates are already reaching record highs this year. The question that needs to be answered is how can companies slow down and stop this exodus and become an employer of choice?

Discover Employee Concerns and Address Them

It’s not enough to conduct a survey of your employees about their concerns. While 2/3 of organizations use engagement data, just over 20% of employees are actively engaged (Predictive Index). Many companies collect data, but don’t do anything to effectively implement change. It is important to engage with data that shows blind spots and gives you action plans to make an impact. Additionally, it is important to connect the company’s mission, vision, and organization goals to the survey metrics to make sure they align. It is also important to tie your survey to the root problems that can occur. There are four forces of disengagement around their job, their manager, the people on their team, and the goals of the organization. When you segment these areas, actionable plans become clearer to implement.

If you want immediate impact on engagement and spark positive change that increases retention and attraction of talent at all levels, it is important to build trust with employees by creating transparency about what drives engagement in your organization. Then, take action as soon as results of your engagement survey are interpreted. When your employees believe that your commitment to engagement is more than just lip service, their interest in being part of the solutions shift quickly.

Reimagine a New Workplace

Even though people are eager to get “back to normal” when it comes to their lives and workplace post pandemic, the reality is there are also people who are saying they really don’t want to go back to the way things were prior to the pandemic. The long commutes, the endless meetings are something most people don’t miss and want something better out of work. A global study by Steelcase found most people want to work from home…to a degree. But they don’t want to work from home exclusively. 54% of respondents said they expect to work from home one day a week or less; 26% say they expect to work from home 2 to 3 days per week. While the physical environment will be key, it is the culture that will determine the experience and conditions where people can thrive and the business can benefit. Having people in the right roles that better match their behaviors and driving forces is critical to ongoing employee engagement.

What will your organization need to consider while reimagining your workplace? First, look at environmental safety as well as emotional safety and wellbeing your workplace provides. The pandemic has had a profound psychological effect on workers. While leaders should provide for safety in terms of their facilities, social safety is just as important to help people feel trusted.

Second, the mixed results of the Steelcase survey also indicate people want to come back to work because they desire a sense of community. They miss people and need connection. But they also need a work experience where they feel shared purpose in pursuit of common goals. Leaders need to be sure this is provided whether working from home or in the office. When this happens, there is greater productivity, engagement, retention and innovation.

Third, the office will need to offer plenty of support for great performance. Working from home doesn’t work for everyone and people like to seek opportunities where they can do their best work. Leaders need to provide a sense of “why” for their work and a clear sense of how their work matters. Providing feedback and receiving feedback to address the unique needs of each individual helps to create the optimal conditions for performance.

Finally, flexibility. When it comes to making accommodations for special needs and families, the key to getting people back to work is to understand the needs of families with young children or aging parents. Do you offer flexibility in work schedules? Do you grant extended time off? A “one-size-fits-all” strategy will no longer work in today’s job market.

In our next blog, I will discuss measures organizations can take in relation to pay and benefits, onboarding new employees, and training your leaders to attract and keep employees. At the Vantage Group, we help clients understand the benefits of employees and leaders who work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability. We have the tools and resources to develop your organization’s talent into industry leaders who can ignite their leadership teams, grow their businesses and improve their lives.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you with your talent development.

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