Power to the People | How to retain your employees in the era of the Great Resignation

How to retain your employees in the era of the Great Resignation

The Great Res­ig­na­tion is upon us, and it’s unlike­ly that any organ­i­sa­tion will come out the oth­er end com­plete­ly unscathed.

As peo­ple every­where begin to gain more con­fi­dence in a sta­bi­liz­ing job mar­ket, res­ig­na­tion notices are begin­ning to flood employer’s inbox­es. Our recent research indi­cat­ed that as many as 50% of peo­ple are cur­rent­ly con­sid­er­ing look­ing for a new job, and with job vacan­cies reach­ing a 20-year high, this is now start­ing to trans­late into move­ment in the mar­ket. So if you’re find­ing that ris­ing attri­tion is creep­ing up your pri­or­i­ty list, you’re not alone!

Whilst there are a num­ber of mar­ket forces dri­ving this, chief amongst this has been the fun­da­men­tal shift in employ­ee expe­ri­ence that many of us have been through, and the many and var­ied approach­es to hybrid work­ing now being unveiled. We know from our own research that employ­ees vary great­ly in terms of what they believe the best remote/office work­ing bal­ance is, and strik­ing this bal­ance in pol­i­cy terms is real­ly difficult.

The solu­tion to this (and we believe the secret tool in the reten­tion race) is empow­er­ment. Cre­at­ing an organ­i­sa­tion­al cul­ture where indi­vid­u­als are empow­ered to deliv­er out­comes by doing tasks wher­ev­er and when­ev­er will deliv­er the best out­come. We believe that employ­ers who can achieve this stand to be well posi­tioned to prof­it from improved pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and retention.

To many of us, this might seem dif­fi­cult, but actu­al­ly the steps to achiev­ing it are rel­a­tive­ly well known – and it all starts with mod­ern per­for­mance management.

Every­body wants to feel like they’re being heard, respect­ed and val­ued by their organ­i­sa­tion. But some­times people’s voic­es get lost in a team sit­u­a­tion, their hard work goes unno­ticed by a busy man­ag­er and they can begin to feel unmo­ti­vat­ed and dis­en­gaged with their job. A 2019 arti­cle by ‘The Resource’ stat­ed ‘…a recent poll of work­ers through­out the U.S. and Cana­da indi­cat­ed that over 60% of the respon­dents agreed that their biggest prob­lem at work was lead­ers mak­ing deci­sions with­out seek­ing input.’

This sit­u­a­tion may have been ampli­fied when more and more peo­ple began work­ing from home, mak­ing them less vis­i­ble to man­agers, sim­ply anoth­er face in a box dur­ing team video calls, or the occa­sion­al email here and there.

For those organ­i­sa­tions still using the once a year annu­al appraisal method to track per­for­mance, these issues are like­ly to go unno­ticed, get worse and ulti­mate­ly result in employ­ees leaving.

So how do you tack­le these prob­lems using good per­for­mance management?

Reg­u­lar check-ins

By ensur­ing all man­agers speak to each mem­ber of their team on a reg­u­lar basis, for exam­ple once a month, issues can be spot­ted, con­cerns nul­li­fied, and peo­ple feel heard. With­out time set aside specif­i­cal­ly for employ­ees to have mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions with their man­agers, many will keep their prob­lems to them­selves, rather than ask­ing for time to address the issue.

By open­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion and solv­ing prob­lems at ear­ly stages, staff who may have left due to ongo­ing prob­lems not being resolved, now have a reg­u­lar oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak out and be heard by their manager.

Short term goal setting

Set­ting objec­tives once a year and then expect­ing staff to stay engaged and enthu­si­as­tic about them is a lit­tle unre­al­is­tic. Most of the time staff will for­get what their objec­tives were, get dis­tract­ed by oth­er projects, or some­times their objec­tives will become irrel­e­vant over the course of a year due to shift­ing com­pa­ny priorities.

By set­ting staff short­er term goals that can be met in months or weeks, they have some­thing clear to work towards, progress can be tracked bet­ter, and goals can be changed to bet­ter fit the pri­or­i­ties of their team / organ­i­sa­tion at that time.

Open com­mu­ni­ca­tion between staff

Encour­ag­ing feed­back between col­leagues can be great for engage­ment. Receiv­ing pos­i­tive feed­back for a job well done from a co-work­er makes peo­ple feel appre­ci­at­ed. And allow­ing con­struc­tive feed­back to be giv­en in real time (rather than months after the fact) means that employ­ees can improve on work and devel­op with­in their role.

This is best done on a per­for­mance man­age­ment plat­form which allows staff to quick­ly give, receive and request feed­back from oth­er mem­bers of their organisation.

Tools to track staff wellbeing

We all know the impor­tance of men­tal well­be­ing, a per­son who is unhap­py, stressed, unmo­ti­vat­ed etc. is more like­ly to be look­ing to leave than a hap­py work­er. As well as hav­ing reg­u­lar check-ins with man­agers, one way of mon­i­tor­ing staff well­be­ing is to imple­ment a ‘mood track­er’. These are mul­ti­ple choice sur­vey plat­forms that staff can answer anony­mous­ly once every month or so.

These can include ques­tions such as, ‘How engaged do you feel with your work at the moment’ or, ‘Does your work give you a sense of purpose?’

Whilst this will not give you an indi­ca­tion of in individual’s well­be­ing, it can give HR staff an over­all view of moti­va­tion and morale in the com­pa­ny as a whole. If this starts to look bad, it may be time to take action to boost these things.


We’re not say­ing good per­for­mance man­age­ment is a mir­a­cle fix for the Great Res­ig­na­tion, but by encour­ag­ing reg­u­lar mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions, improv­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion between co-work­ers, increas­ing engage­ment and putting more focus on staff well­be­ing, we believe you will be in the best posi­tion pos­si­ble to retain your people.

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