It’s hard to open a business periodical these days without seeing some reference to the “Great Resignation” or the “Big Quit.” Whatever you call it, Americans are leaving their jobs at record-setting levels. In August alone, an all-time high of 4.3 million people—three percent of the workforce—called it quits.
But that’s not what this post is about. There has been more than enough hand-wringing about service industry labor shortages and white-collar burnout. It’s time to look at the situation differently. What I see is not threat, but opportunity—opportunity for companies to identify, grow, and keep their top talent. Opportunity for a “Great Talent Retention,” if you will.
Many companies have responded to their labor shortage by raising salaries. That’s a good start, and long overdue in some industries. But throwing money at the problem is not enough to make people feel truly valued.
People are an organization’s most important asset—but most companies don’t do a good job of showing it. Even little perks can help. Flexible work schedules, an occasional extra day off, and the ability to choose in-person or remote work can all help employees feel trusted and valued.
But perhaps the most important thing a company can do to keep their people is to invest in them. Engage with them about their job aspirations and the skills they need to develop to meet them. Invite them to participate in shaping their own career path and offer them training to help them get there. Job performance and job satisfaction have become two sides of the same coin, requiring both employers and employees to collaborate in creating a win-win working environment.
If you’re an employer, your first priority will be your business goals and ensuring you have the talent required to accomplish them. How do you know if your employees have the right competencies to help drive success in a fast-changing business environment? How do you know if they can develop the new competencies you will need for the future?
Employees want to be growing and developing in their jobs, gaining the skills and experience they need to move forward in their careers. If they feel stuck, or if their skills don’t match the changing requirements of their job, they’ll look elsewhere for a better fit—becoming part of the Great Resignation.
To meet your business goals while retaining and developing your talent, begin with a gap analysis. Assess the current competencies of your employees and how well their skills align with their assignments. Then work with each employee to create a personal training and development plan that meets both your company’s strategic requirements and your employees’ career aspirations.
There is an emerging array of technology tools to help you do just that. I’ve worked for more than 25 years to help companies maximize their workforce potential by engaging with employees—and I’ve never been more excited than I am right now. The field of employee enablement has evolved dramatically over the past few years, and I’m passionate about a new integrated technology platform that can help lift worker competency to the next level. I am now working with two groundbreaking companies—Global Indirect Markets and Strategy to Revenue—using this platform to help clients pinpoint skills gaps and deliver targeted training to help each employee work at the top of their range.
Consider the possibilities: What if you could retain your top talent? What if you could anticipate and grow the talent you’ll need for tomorrow? What if you could create a roadmap to become one of the top companies in your sector for employee retention and satisfaction? What if you could involve employees in creating their own career paths while contributing to your company’s success? In upcoming blogs I will discuss how employers can harness and develop their talent in a way that not only supports an individual’s growth potential and ambitions, but also meets the strategic objectives of their organizations and customers.
With this sort of employee-centric approach, you would no longer be part of the “great resignation.” You would create your own “great talent retention.”