How Can You Stop the Great Resignation in Your Business?
The first thing you need to do is to ask questions of your employees and listen to the answers. We really need to listen and understand before we act. Although workplace culture is the responsibility of everyone in the business, and we all have an impact on our culture, it’s the leadership behaviours that will set the tone for the organisation. So it’s got to be led through leadership.
You need to be able to understand the following things about your employees:
- What workplace conditions make the most difference to you?
- How do you want to work in the future?
- What are the things that are going to help us to retain you?
Many books have been written on the topic of how to build workplace culture and retain employees. But I want to focus on two key things you can do right now to prepare your business for the great resignation.
Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Survey
1. What is employee engagement and satisfaction?
Job satisfaction is about being fulfilled in your work. Employee engagement describes the psychological state of being engaged, which is more related to motivation. Employee engagement and job satisfaction are different but they are related, because you’re going to have higher job satisfaction if you’re engaged. Every organisation wants engaged employees, because it means that your people are:
- invested in your organisation’s purpose
- getting things done
- going above and beyond to achieve goals
- willing to do more, put forward ideas and collaborate
- taking less time off work
- attracting and retaining customers
- increasing your profits.
So the first thing to do in preparing for the Great Resignation, between now and the end of the year, is to get an engagement satisfaction survey happening in your business and use it to activate a retention plan.
2. How do you conduct an engagement satisfaction survey?
You can use an external organisation, such as Amplify HR, to run a survey, or you can create your own. Either way, ensure the questions make sense for your organisation, and that your employees feel safe in answering them.
One of the reasons our clients use us to do their surveys is to ensure the data is secured on our servers. We are able to assure respondents that they will be anonymous and only the de-identified results are collated and provided to their managers.
We recommend conducting yearly surveys. If you haven’t done one within the last two years, now is the time. It will give you a baseline and a way to measure your culture over time. It’s also the perfect time to ask your people how they want to work in the future – whether that’s in the office, remotely or a hybrid.
You could do a big survey once per year, and then smaller pulse checks through the year. These are no more than 10 questions put to a small group of employees across the year. They allow you to zone in on key areas and check the pulse of what’s happening in your organisation.
4. Using the results
Many organisations run employee satisfaction and engagement surveys, but unfortunately they often don’t do much with the information. They just keep the score and perhaps reference it in reports.
But if you’re only measuring engagement you’re not doing anything to increase it, which means it’s unlikely to improve over time. In fact, you’re probably going to decrease engagement because your employees will become demotivated and disenfranchised about engagement surveys. They won’t see any changes happening and they won’t bother doing the survey next time.
It’s important to examine the data critically. This is often really, really difficult, especially on your first survey of your own business. It can feel very personal to get negative feedback about the workplace. But it’s important to look at the good results too. If you are getting high scores in certain areas, you can leverage them in your business.
So for example, if you get great scores around development opportunities, this should become part of your employer brand. And that’s what you sell out to the market when you’re looking for candidates. But if you get a low score on development, this should become an area to improve. And then you should track your progress as you would for other core business goals.
5. Focus groups
Another great tip, depending on the size of your business and your results, is to arrange focus groups of employees to discuss the results to get more understanding about the context, before you put an action plan together. This is a critical step, and it’s also often the most fun part of the survey process, because consulting with your staff on a plan can create terrific buy-in.
One of the great benefits of working in smaller businesses is having direct access to the founder and to the senior team. A roundtable discussion can achieve the same sort of thing in large or small organisations. It involves sitting down with a random group of staff, that you normally wouldn’t interact with, and listening directly to what’s going on for them in the business.
You invite a random group of six to eight employees to a meeting with the founder or with a senior manager, just someone that’s not their direct manager, and they’re invited to have an open and confidential discussion. We recommend trying this when you’ve got about 40 employees, because that’s when you start to have a separation between the higher levels of the organisation and the rest of the staff.
Ask questions like:
- Why did you join our business?
- What keeps you here?
- Why do you think people leave?
- How would you describe the culture?
- Do you think we’re focusing on the right things?
- How am I doing, what can I do differently?
This might feel awkward at first, but as you get into a regular process of conducting roundtables a couple of times per year, you might find that employees and leaders start to look forward to them.