So many people are quitting their jobs that the phenomenon has been dubbed the Great Resignation. The situation is so severe, that some employers have seen up to 30 percent attrition in top categories. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Frank Breitling and Julia Dhar of Boston Consulting, drawing on extensive surveys and interviews, suggest six strategies employers can implement to boost retention during this tumultuous time:
Is your organization being impacted by the Great Resignation, and what is being done to address this? To join the conversation, click "comments" just below the photo at the beginning of this article. We really look forward to your feedback!
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that during the months of April, May, and June 2021, 11.5 million workers quit their jobs. The Great Resignation is real. And it’s ongoing. According to Gallup research, 48 percent of employees are actively looking to make a change. How should employers react to those two small but impactful words: “I quit”?
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Debbie Cohen and Kate Roeske-Zummer, co-founders of HumanityWorks, point out that the employees who stay will be watching how you deal with those who go. What outcome do you want to create out of this disruption?
“In far too many companies when an employee gives notice the reaction is akin to an emotional breakup — you’ve been left and you feel rejected. This triggers some not great behavior like a tendency to make the person leaving ‘wrong’ and doubt the person’s trustworthiness or integrity — even though that was not the case before they gave notice. There is a penchant to dismiss their presence and devalue their contribution.”
Instead, the authors suggest approaching these transitions by showing gratitude. The era of lifelong employment is over and, with rare exceptions, employees are with your organization as a stop on their career journey. They’ve contributed and, hopefully, learned new things. They’re not the same person they were when they were hired (and the same goes for you and for the organization). “What would it be like to pause when a resignation occurs and give voice to these things from both sides of the relationship?” they ask. What would be created if you acknowledge how both sides have grown and evolved?
Besides, the talent pool is tight, and careers are long. End this phase of your time together with appreciation, and who knows what the future will bring—perhaps even re-recruitment down the road.
How has your organization been responding when employees announce they are leaving, and could there be an improvement? To join the conversation, click "comments" just below the picture for this article. We want to hear from you!
Let's face it: The last year has been disruptive for many, and universal stressors may have taken tolls on your relationships. We cannot always change circumstances, but we can change our responses. Instead of navigating through important moments of communication on automatic pilot, reacting from emotion rather than intention, we can transform our relationships by being proactive with positive communication. As we approach 2022, consider making a resolution to practice 12 months of healthy communication.
As communication researchers and partners in work and marriage for decades, we’ve experienced both the joy and challenge of personal and business communication and have found some simple steps to resolve conflict and build trust in relationships:
Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy, communicative 2022!
Do you have a New Year’s resolution that involves communication? To join the conversation, click "comments" located just below the photo for this article. We'd love to hear your feedback!
Ranjay Gulati is a Harvard Business School professor, a consultant, and a parent of two children. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, he contends that the challenges parents face at work and home are not that different, and that “both contexts leave leaders struggling between their desire to control others and their need to let go.” Strong leadership is about threading that needle.
Research psychologist Diana Baumrind observed that parents often behave in ways that are either authoritarian (exerting too much control), permissive (giving children too much autonomy), or negligent. An option better suited to parenting (and to managing, says Gulati) is the authoritative approach, which strikes a middle ground between control and autonomy.
To become a more authoritative leader, Gulati suggests taking two basic steps. First, communicate a clear, durable framework of guidelines consisting of both positive ("thou shalt") and negative ("thou shalt not") statements. Second, reinforce the framework and hold people accountable.
As Gulati’s research with innovative organizations has shown, allowing employees to exercise autonomy within clear guardrails can yield favorable results. Citing companies with such approaches, such as Netflix and Alaska Airlines, the author notes that, “maintaining the tension between control and autonomy isn't easy, and you might find yourself veering too far at times in one direction or the other. But with a solid, well-articulated framework in place, you'll be able to correct for excesses and stay more or less in the middle zone over time. At home and at work, a blend of control and autonomy is usually the winning formula.”
What lessons from your parenting life do you think are applicable to the workplace? To join the conversation, click "comments" just above the photo. We'd really like to hear from you!
Research on resilience —our ability to bounce back from adversity — has shown that giving support to others has a significant impact on our well-being. Our bodies and minds benefit in a variety of ways when we help others, sometimes even generating a “helper’s high”.
In fact, the act of giving advice has been shown to be even more beneficial than receiving it. In a series of studies of 2,274 people, researchers found that after middle-school students gave younger students help with studying, they ended up spending more time on their own homework. Overweight people who counseled others on weight loss were more motivated to lose weight themselves.
In a New York Times article, Wharton organizational psychologist Adam Grant explained that we often are better at giving advice to people other than ourselves. “One of the best things you can do is call someone else facing a similar problem and talk them through it,” he said. Grant, who co-founded an online networking platform call Givitas, which connects people asking for or offering support and advice, added, “When you talk other people through their problems, you come up with wiser perspectives and solutions for yourself.”
When was the last time you gave advice, and how did it make you feel? Did it benefit you, or the receiver, or both? To join the conversation, click "comments" just above this article, under the photo. We'd love to hear your thoughts!
Conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion are actually just conversations about people. And storytelling, one of the most universal human experiences, gives us a chance to look through new lenses and gain new perspectives from co-workers who may have had different life experiences. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, inclusion consultants Selena Rezvani and Stacey A. Gordon offer steps to implement a story-based approach to DEI.
In this approach, employees are encouraged to tell and own their stories, and consider how they impact their experiences at work. For those who are unsure how to unearth their own diversity stories, the authors offer some possible prompts:
As the authors say: “In our attempts to create more awake and aware environments, we’re forgetting that numbers typically don’t inspire us to change our behavior — people and stories do.”
How might storytelling based on DEI benefit your organization? Do you have a story you would care to share? To join the conversation, click "comments" above this article, just under the photo.
All day, every day, we are faced with decisions, from what to wear to whether to pursue a new job. Even deliberating in the toothpaste aisle at the drugstore can feel overwhelming. The pandemic added even more choices to our daily routine, as we pondered safety concerns and time allocation when work and school came into our homes. Faced with too many options, we can become anxious or even paralyzed. This is “decision fatigue” -- a state of mental overload that can impede our ability to make additional choices.
When decision fatigue kicks in, you may feel you just don’t have the bandwidth to deal with more decisions. This can lead to depleted self-control, causing you to avoid making certain choices entirely, to go with the default option, or to make choices that don’t align with your values.
In a series of experiments, researchers asked people to choose from an array of consumer goods or college course options or to simply think about the same options without making choices. The choice-makers experienced reduced self-control, less physical stamina, greater procrastination and lower performance on tasks; the choice-contemplators didn’t experience these depletions.
We can't entirely eliminate decision fatigue, but experts say the following can help cope with an over-abundance of choices:
How do you cope with the feeling of having too many choices? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Saying “thank you” is the ultimate win/win. Research shows that expressing gratitude increases feelings of personal well being. Our official day of giving thanks isn't the only day we can say "thank you". Perhaps all of us can take a moment to consider how we might make gratitude an ongoing part of our lives.
If you are looking for someone to practice your “thank you” on, start close to home. John Gottman, Executive Director of the Relationship Research Institute of Seattle says: “Masters of relationships have a habit of scanning the world for things they can thank their partner for. People whose relationships go down the tubes scan the world for their partner’s mistakes.”
What happened when you upped the level of thanks you expressed to people around you? To join the conversation, click "comments" above the photo.
Many working parents feel they're “running on empty.” Soldiering through the pandemic, juggling work-at-home and school-at-home, and now often returning to work in person has moms and dads juggling commitments and scrambling to stay on top of obligations.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Daisy Dowling CEO of Workparent coaching, offers these tips to help counter that ground-down feeling:
What has been your greatest pandemic parenting challenge and how are you dealing with it? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Empathy has always been a critical skill for leaders, but it is taking on a new level of meaning and priority as new research demonstrates its importance for everything from innovation to retention. Writing in Forbes, Tracy Brower PhD, author of The Secrets to Happiness at Work, says that empathy is the most important leadership competency to develop and demonstrate.
Leaders will be most successful not just when they consider others, but when they inquire directly about employee challenges, and then listen to and paraphrase what they hear. The results? According to a new study by Catalyst these can include:
A few years ago, Justin Bariso, author of EQ Applied, learned a valuable life lesson from comedian Craig Ferguson, who said he’d learned it after three marriages.
Writing in Inc., Bariso recounted the three questions Ferguson said you should ask yourself before speaking:
This doesn’t mean you should never speak your mind, but to be mindful when you do. Another good question to ask yourself is, “Will I regret not saying this?”
Do you have a stopgap technique you use to keep yourself from blurting? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Social skills correlate with career success, and lacking them can hold you back. The good news, according to Fast Company columnist Judith Humphrey, founder of the Humphrey Group leadership communication firm, is that you certainly can improve your interpersonal skill set, once you know what to focus on.
Here are her five concrete indicators that someone is socially adept:
How do you ascertain whether or not a colleague is socially skilled? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Hybrid work is here to stay, and leaders will face challenges as they manage a workforce that is part in-person and part remote. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, management consultants Kalle Heikkinen, William Kerr, Mika Malin, and Panu Routila, offer advice based on interviews with 38 executives in Nordic countries. (Nordic leadership teams are used to operating in complex settings with employees spanning multiple nationalities, languages, and locations.)
What do you view as the biggest obstacle to seamless hybrid working, and what will you do to address it? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Anxious about returning to the office? Join the club. After over a year of remote work, many of us are feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of returning to live work and seeing co-workers on-site rather than on-screen.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Alice Boyes, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of The Anxiety Toolkit, says the idea of getting back to the office might feel surprisingly difficult. Transitions often tend to spike our anxiety; we typically feel anxious about resuming anything we’ve avoided, even if that “avoidance” was externally imposed. Additionally, in the post-pandemic world, personal relationships and boundaries may have shifted. For example, you may be concerned about who is or isn’t vaccinated and who does or doesn’t observe health and safety protocols.
Boyes suggests that we all “be intentional about retaining the best parts of WFH (work from home) and office-life.” Working from home was a vast experiment, and it probably taught you a lot about what helps or harms your productivity. It likely also taught you a great deal about how you communicate most effectively. Holding on to any beneficial habits might prove to be a challenge when your environment changes—but being conscious of them is a first step. Beyond that, she adds, “You’ll need to establish these habits almost from day one, as if they were completely new habits. This is because habits need consistent cues, and the cues you had at home will likely no longer be present, at least not in the same way.”
What concerns do you have about returning to the office, and how are you preparing for this transition? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
A recent Workhuman survey of more than 3,000 U.S. workers reveals a workforce in trouble. The data show 48 percent of employees agree they've experienced burnout, 61 percent feel elevated stress levels, and 32 percent agree that they have felt lonely at work.
Writing in Inc., Marcel Schwartes, founder and Chief Human Officer of Leadership From the Core, says that to ease the toll of the crisis, leaders will need a more human-centered approach to management. In order to increase a sense of psychological safety and encourage cooperation and collaboration:
What are you doing to lessen employee stress in your workplace? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.