Perhaps the most talked-about topic in late 2022 is the Great Resignation of the last few years. The idea is that large numbers of employees are leaving organizations for other opportunities, to become self-employed, or for sabbaticals. The phenomenon has also prompted a relative, quiet quitting, where dissatisfied employees “quit in place” by reducing their work levels and output to the bare minimum. This begs a question: are these really new and recent trends?
I argue they are not. For about twenty years I have worked in, managed, and advised organizations. Finding and retaining adequate staff has been a challenge throughout that period for businesses across a variety of industries. Good people have always left organizations. Dissatisfied employees have always stopped giving their best. Organizations have always struggled to align limited resources with generous compensation and incentives.
What seems to have changed is our 24/7 world’s emphasis on this trend.
Regardless of whether this is a new or well-established issue, there is no magic solution. Trust me, for my clients, I wish there were! However, there are a few things that the best businesses do to make their organizations stronger, more attractive, and better at keeping top talent. I find that they:
- Clearly articulate their Mission, purpose, or reason for doing what they do
- Describe a realistic yet aspirational vision of wild business success in detail
- Live and breathe a simple set of shared Values
- Relentlessly focus on three-to-five achievable, strategic goals
- Identify the desired outcomes associated with achieving their goals
- Act on a proactively defined set of next actions to move desired outcomes to completion
- Communicate above and beyond minimum expectations to both internal and external customers
- Avoid distractions from shiny new opportunities at the expense of their real Mission, Vision, and Goals
- Double down on quality service and strengthen internal and external relationships
There are other things individual organizations do well and consistently, but these are true across all of them. These are not difficult or magic. They are simple tasks that require the leader to spend a few hours with proactive, back-of-the-envelope planning and communication.
To neglect these is to accelerate the process of people resigning or quiet quitting. To do these is to increase, not guarantee, the chances of attracting and retaining the best…in any period of history!
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