Right now, even the greatest minds in HR can’t predict with full accuracy what team members will need from employers in a matter of months. Welcome to the COVID reality. But what we do know, however, is employee voices should be the compass for building an effective people operations plan – both in the short term and for the long haul.
Employers who choose not to be guided by the needs of their team members are at risk of being left in the dust when the anticipated (and to a certain extent, already present) great resignation takes place. And according to Qualtrics, personal wellbeing and a sense of belonging are at the forefront of employee needs. This is just one of many mention-worthy tidbits from a recent webinar hosted by the employee experience software company.
Qualtrics kicked off the discussion by sharing grim findings from their June 2021 Labor Shortage survey: Nearly half of the employees surveyed indicated they were likely to leave their job in the next year. Yep, you read that right – nearly half plan to leave. It’s the responsibility of company leaders to put a plan in place for retaining great employees. Armed with insight from the webinar’s HR practitioner panelists (who hail from Lumin and The Hershey Company), we’re sharing practical advice and best practices every growth-minded company should know in order to lower the churn rate within their own organization:
1. Implement continuous listening.
In order to build an effective, timely HR strategy, implement “continuous listening” practices. This means having consistent touchpoints with your team members, encouraging feedback and letting them know you’ve actually heard what they have to say. Ensure you create an opportunity for every voice to be heard – and often. Leaders may not be able to accommodate every request, but showing employees they are heard (and have inspired actionable steps) takes loyalty and a sense of purpose to the next levels.
2. Be as transparent with your team as possible.
This even means admitting when you don’t have all the answers. In other words, don’t wait until you have every answer to get your employees in the loop. And if you operate like many companies right now – making game-time decisions on HR policies in reaction to the ever-changing work environment – be sure to share the update in a way that communicates you have their best interests at heart: Let them know you are dedicated to a “continuous improvement” mindset and that plans will change depending on employee and business needs at the time.
3. Accept that the future of work is flexible.
Today, a fully remote or remote hybrid workforce is the norm. As one practitioner on the webinar put it, flexible work has shifted from a perk to an expectation. But with this comes a new challenge: preserving the connection that seems to come much easier in person. Make an effort to fill the gaps for remote workers. Consider everything the office provided (in regards to team member engagement, access to technology, etc.). How can you implement those items virtually?
Another piece of the flexibility puzzle is defining what “flexible” and “remote” actually mean within your organization. What number of days a week, or weeks a year, is working from home or a hybrid model permissible? When thinking through the specifics, be sure to take a human-centric approach. Define what flexible work means for each individual team member. A one-size-fits-all strategy will likely fall short.
4. Prepare and lean on your leaders.
“Ultimately leaders carry a very heavy portion of the employee experience.” Now here’s a quote from the Qualtrics webinar we couldn’t agree with more! When supervisors are well equipped, they are able to build up team members. This is a value you should not dismiss. Internal data at Lumin found that leaders should spend between two and four hours a month on one-on-one time with a direct report, and much of that time should be spent maintaining a personal connection. Considering the mental toll so many of us are dealing with at the moment, plus a transition to a lack of in-person socializing, this dedicated time with a leader has never been more important.
Don’t assume your leaders know exactly what to say or do during one-on-ones. Management should be given discussion topics they can bring to their meetings so they are able to gather feedback and insight from the people they are responsible for building up.
Is there a time in history when people management has been more in the spotlight? We don’t think so. And unless you are a big fan of extra pressure, attention, and responsibility, it’s a nerve-wracking time to lead humans (no matter the size of your company or the industry you work in). Most signs do point to a great resignation taking place.
If you’re not sure your organization is equipped to keep hold of your employees, the Montani team is here to assist. Reach out today and discover how we can help you implement employee touchpoints, increase transparency, handle the transition to a remote workforce, and prepare management to be the leaders your employees need.