by Amrit & Loralyn
Around 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September 2021 alone. All in all, in 2021, over 38 million people left their jobs in the US. A staggering 18% healthcare workers have quit their jobs since the pandemic began; this is a highly developed talent that isn’t straightforward to replace. And it’s wreaking havoc on the quality of patient care.
There are numerous ways to stop your staff from quitting. For starters, treating employees like humans and putting people ahead of the process is one way. It’s cost-effective, too, which makes it all the more startling why more companies aren’t doing this. Flexibility, which includes the option to work from home (WFH), is another good practice to adopt – in fact, most employees now demand it for increased productivity. Salaries, benefits, and other perks like reduced Friday hours also weigh in to stem the exit tide. Offering mental health support to help employees manage their anxiety and stress is not only essential in today’s shifting world, but also the right thing to do.
One more way that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves is professional development. And no, that doesn’t mean that you have to hire executive coaches at $500/h. There are other options!
Although the Great Resignation formally began in response to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s been brewing for many years. Progressive organizations recognized the value of their people before it became a business imperative to do so. However, thus far, the emphasis has been on retaining and developing high-potential talent: management teams don’t appear to have given much thought to the idea of developing everyone. Perhaps they’ve made the judgement that “everyone else” can be replaced or isn’t worth it.
Leaving a job is not as difficult as it was just a few years ago. There is less job insecurity despite many businesses closing. There are fewer psychological hurdles. Better options are available in other organizations. Employees are giving preference to personal development and meaningful growth rather than simply clinging to whatever jobs they have. “WFH” has enabled employees to switch jobs without even the need to step out. In other ways, WFH has enabled people to adjust their lifestyles by moving out of expensive cities and into the ‘burbs or to rural areas.
In some industries, it’s easy to switch jobs. In others, not so much. For example, teachers are leaving their jobs. However, they’re not because there are better opportunities for them in other schools, they’re quitting because they are completely exhausted, so burnt out that they can’t envision themselves ever working again. The same is the case for healthcare and front-line workers. Between the emotional exhaustion, compassion fatigue, and general lack of gratitude or appreciation for their efforts, they’ve had it.
Comparatively, like in the IT sector, options abound. As in, there are nearly 1.5 million software engineering jobs open today. Know how to code? You’re hired!
Many organizations are being forced to curtail their operations because a large chunk of the employees have left. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, but it’s worth musing if they could have done something to stop or at least slow down the exodus. Maybe, maybe not.
Develop your employees while they still work for you
People want to grow. They want to learn. Maybe your employee just didn’t tell you that they were interested in personal development or growing their talents further. Did you ask? The flipside of that question is even worse: did your employee tell you they wanted more responsibility and employee training to support it, but you didn’t enable it?
Not every employee articulates their need for professional growth despite craving for it. Whether they vocally express that desire to you or not is mute; know that 87% of millennials believe that learning and development at the workplace is important. Nearly 59% of employees surveyed claim that whatever skills they have, they are self-taught and not learned on the job!
This lack of learning opportunities and the limited number of avenues for professional development leave people disconnected. The feeling is exacerbated with the rise of remote work: remote shouldn’t equal disconnected. Employees don’t develop a bond with the organization. Since learning and growth are not happening at the workplace, they don’t feel grounded, or valued, and they begin to question what their employer is doing to support them. Employees long to belong. They want to feel rooted.
When management makes no effort to make employees feel wanted or valued, often realized through leadership development opportunities, talent nurturing, and personal growth, they don’t even think twice before looking for greener pastures. According to LinkedIn, 94% of employees would stay with the company if the company invested in their learning.
The exam question being pondered by all of us at STEERus is as follows. Many large organizations embrace professional development – for their executive team, that is. Some of the more enlightened companies offer that perk to their high-performing middle managers. Our question is, how do all the employees who don’t get any professional development feel about it? Do they have FOMO? Do they even know what it’s like to have a coach and how transformative that experience can be?
Cross-train, upskill, and reap the rewards
Show your employees that you’re treating them well and providing career opportunities. Give them avenues for personal and professional development. Staying in a dead-end job happens quite often – the better the benefits are, the less likely that people are willing to even try to break out of their gilded cage. For the most part, people want to develop their skills. They recognize that building both durable skills and perishable skills moves them forward emotionally, intelligently, and often financially, too. Upskilling enables upward mobility.
When you provide learning and growth opportunities within your organization, the skill level of your employees elevates. They perform better. And they typically share what they know, even if you don’t have a formal train-the-trainers or mentoring program, people learn from others. This is good for business at all levels of your organization. Higher morale leads to higher productivity. And a positive corporate culture is correlated with organizational success.
“The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them.” ~Zig Ziglar
Perks for only the chosen few
In this era of heightened awareness around the need for diversity, EQUITY, and inclusion, offering select staff “special VIP perks” and not others sets a tone of inequity. As social entrepreneurs here at STEERus, everything that we do is to enable greater access to career advancement opportunities – for everyone – particularly the underserved and overlooked. That’s why these communities, students, and educators, “fly free” in our talent development Academy.
Everyone can improve, even the elite few. There’s no question about that. However, people do question if it’s worth it to train those that are on the other end of the bell curve. Sadly, cost is the driving factor typically determining who gets access to what training. We’re working to take the limitations of cost out of the equation.
In fact, if you pick and choose according to who is better and who is not, it creates resentment among those who are not chosen. Are you checking the DE&I box or putting effort into fostering equity? The former can give rise to alienation, disenchantment, disengagement, and ultimately, a psychological and intellectual disconnect that soils morale.
The environment of learning and skill development must be inclusive and adapt to different styles and interests. The one-size fits all era of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) is waning. Courses that used to cost $75 and up just a few years ago are now widely available for as little as $10 – or less. Personalized learning is the future of upskilling and that’s where we play.
Positive corporate culture begins by inculcating soft skills. Okay, call them power skills, human skills, success skills, emotional ingredients, or whatever you want to call them – just make sure that you train your people on them. Especially Gen Z who didn’t learn them in school. Skills like critical thinking, time management, leadership development, communication, and emotional intelligence (EQ) are essential. They’re the new business imperative. Let STEERus assess your soft skills gaps then design a custom curriculum just for you as an individual or as an organization. Hop on, hop off, learn as you grow, layer in gamification and coaching to enrich your personalized learning experience.
In the words of Sir Richard Branson: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so that they don’t want to.”
After the Great Resignation, organizations need the Great Reboot. Do something for ALL your employees – not just a select few. Upskill them – all of them. And watch the magic happen…
Visit our website to learn more: https://steerus.io
Amrit & Loralyn