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If you've caught the news recently, you likely heard the term "The Great Resignation" of 2021. (For the benefit of those who haven't heard of it, The Great Resignation is a term coined to identify the staggering number of employees worldwide resigning from their jobs in 2021.)
Why are they leaving? It isn't always about money. For some, time spent at home during the pandemic spurred them to rethink their current work situation. Some want to start their own business; others want to be stay-at-home parents. Many cite stress and burnout. Others point to dissatisfaction or fear around the way their current employer responded to the Covid-19 situation. Many feel undervalued and unheard.
Even a minimal number of employee departures can have a devastating impact on how your small business functions. With so many factors fueling this massive resignation movement, it could leave a small business feeling helpless. But it doesn't have to. I believe small businesses are in the best position to weather this storm because larger organizations may be too far out of touch with their employees and what they need.
Ping-pong tables and onsite dry cleaners pale in comparison to small business leadership that genuinely cares about their employees and actively takes steps to improve their lives! So, what steps can you take? In my opinion, here are the top three.
1. Ask how they're doing, and really listen to their answers.
Seriously, leadership and management should ask everyone on their team how they're doing - regularly. The caveat? You must be authentically interested in knowing the answer. There is no point asking if you don't intend to put sincere effort into taking action.
If you've never shown interest before, employees will be suspicious of your motives. So, be prepared to explain the turning of this new leaf, or don't bother asking.
For the genuine among you, ask what the business can do to support them? What are they struggling with at work? Is the workload reasonable? How are they managing at home?
Watch for patterns and trends that can be addressed across the organization while still addressing the needs of the individual.
2. Provide tools and training for them to be productive.
We aren't taught in school how to be organized and productive. Most companies never provide training (or even establish internal guidelines) on managing paper and digital files or email.
It's like there's an expectation this knowledge is innate from the time we leave the womb. That expectation leaves most people lost, frustrated, and unproductive. When they don't feel productive, they're compelled to work additional hours to keep up. Hello, stress and burnout!
Investment to increase your employees' productivity will reap benefits in several ways. Not only will they be more productive at work, but many productivity concepts can also cross over into their personal lives.
When things feel more settled at home, this affords them the ability to focus at work. You'll be setting them and your business up for a double-win.
3. Encourage and honor boundaries.
Stress and burnout generally stem from an inability to navigate work and personal responsibilities effectively. After taking steps one and two, step three should be the easiest step of all.
Mental and emotional health is dependent on the ability to disconnect from work, relax, and pursue personal interests. That is as true for you, as the business owner, as it is for your employees.
When folks are on vacation, don't contact them. Appropriate steps should be taken before their time off to prepare for their absence.
The bane of existence for many? Meetings! Do what you can to keep meetings meaningful and minimal. Some days, there are so many meetings, no actual work gets done, causing spill over into personal time to accomplish it.
Are you and your management team sending emails at all hours of the day and night? This subtly communicates an expectation of continual connectedness. Employees may be fearful for their jobs if they don't respond right away. Set and honor boundaries for yourself, and allow the same for your employees.
Keeping your high-performers through The Great Resignation is possible. I'm not saying it won't take effort, but it is possible.
Support their well-being, help them be productive at work (and at home), and allow them time to enjoy life and what is most important to them in their off-time.
As Sir Richard Branson said, "Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don't want to."
If you’d like help implementing these three steps, contact me through my website at www.newpathpro.com.