I first heard the term The Great Reshuffle while scrolling through Tiktok, like the cool elderly millennial that I am. Headlining this new chapter in the American history book is the fact that two-fifths of the workforce are considering leaving their employer in the next year.
The Great Reshuffle is such an obvious next step post-Great Resignation as people seek jobs they believe better fit their values, lifestyle choices and needs. Those needs will always look slightly different for everyone, but ccording to the World Economic Forum flexibility and hybrid work opportunities have become a deciding factor for many. As a result, chief talent officers, operations leaders and internal communications directors are hastily rolling out new benefits programs, rebuilding workspace layouts and more - all in an effort to retain talent during this massive reshuffle. So, as your company approaches retention programs of your own, here are four steps to guide you through today’s workforce evolution.
- Listen and Then, Take Action: A common mistake every leader makes in the face of work environment and office policy decisions is making assumptions. They read a recent study that states employees want X, Y, or Z. But what most of those large, national surveys don’t include is information specific to your industry or your current employee demographics. For example, those leaving the marketing sector are most often citing a lack of prospect for progress and growth, according to MarketingDive, which is quite a different reason than those in the service industry are citing. The most accurate, easiest way to gather information is to ask your own employee base…and ask often. Feedback can be received both anecdotally and through anonymous surveys. In fact, soliciting input is a great way for leadership to build trust with teams.
- Truly Flexible Work Environment: This seems a bit like a no-brainer, but oftentimes where corporations go wrong when transitioning to remote or hybrid work is imposing strict rules and processes that create an artificial or forced flexible environment. We’ve all seen the many internet videos where employees find ways to “show” they are online all day (If you haven’t, click here for a laugh - I know, HR managers, I know.) Anecdotally, I have a friend who is an attorney working in the insurance industry - despite passing the Bar Exam and practicing law for 10 years, she is required to abide by this “login” rule as well. These types of policies deteriorate trust, expedite burnout and leave many feeling anything but flexible.
‘Thank You’ Goes a Long Way: 82% of employees are happier when they are recognized at work. However, leaders often struggle with employee recognition unless there is a formalized set of reminders or a program to follow. And this challenge is magnified with remote and hybrid work environments when spontaneous morning donut boxes, wall-sized leaderboards, and impromtu parties aren’t possible. Fortunately, technology is coming to the rescue with companies like Coolleaf and Workhuman that create unique and customized employee experiences for the remote and hybrid work environments. And while cool swag, bonus programs and gift cards are amazing forms of recognition, don’t overlook how far a handwritten note of thanks will go, too.
Know What Makes Them Tick: Whether it’s helping a new company earn third-party credibility or helping to promote a life-saving new technology, one of the top motivators both Millennials and Gen Z want from a job is to feel like they are truly making a difference.
Consulting agencies are pouring resources into studying what makes younger employees tick. The oldest Gen Z-ers are entering the workforce now, and any company would be silly to not strive to understand the most diverse, digital-first generation. A recent study from Deloitte leaned heavily on the need for a Renaissance figure for the future of work, defining that as “a person with many talents, interests, and areas of knowledge. It will require a fusion of four key work skills: Digital tools and technology skills, comfort with analytics and data, business management skills, and design and creative skills.” How are you investing in career coaching, mapping and professional development at your marketing agency in order to ensure you are fueling your employees’ passions and skillsets?
At first glance, it may seem overwhelming to implement change in these four areas no matter how largel your company is. But rest assured that small, incremental changes (i.e. writing that thank you note or sending out that survey) in each of these areas that are executed from the top of any organization will provide the kickstart you need to turn your retention programs around relatively quickly.