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Let’s Work Toward the Great Retention

Why a return to the workplace doesn’t have to mean a return to the status quo.

Many organizations are worried about retaining employees as they work to influence a return to the office post Labor Day.

It’s a real problem, no doubt about that.

Fueling this concern are myriad consultant surveys inundating our Outlook Inboxes every day, giving shape and form to this post-pandemic dilemma, which folks are calling The Great Resignation.

About a third of the workforce never wants to return to an office setting, according to a survey of 30,000 Americans by The Working From Home Research Project. And around 41% of employees are considering leaving their current job, according to another recent report by Microsoft.

The “head-scratcher” moment came in reading a report from Monster.com, which reported 95% of workers are considering changing jobs. Something about that number seems … inflated.

So let’s step back for a moment, try to see past the hype and embrace the silver lining.

This inflection point can be an opportunity for organizations to embrace innovation and flexibility. It’s a chance to show that your corporate culture isn’t dependent on requiring people to spend 40 hours in a cubicle.

If the pandemic had any workplace silver lining, it’s this: Organizations proved they can be just as productive with a distributed workforce as they can when all of the conference rooms are booked.

For many employees, the newfound flexibility showed that working and spending time with family, friends and being more engaged in their community aren’t mutually exclusive. You truly can balance both while working from home.

So let’s embrace those lessons.

Fact: employees most often report they are leaving their manager, not their company. Therefore it’s on all of us as people leaders and HR professionals to change the conversation and tweak the dynamic by being more engaged with the workforce we have (and not at the expense of the talent we are told we need to find).

The exit interview is an HR mainstay, we all do them. But how many of us conduct stay interviews? How many of us are as focused on retention as attraction right now?

After all, the more talent we keep, the less talent we need to find.

 

Ron Arigo is senior vice president and head of human resources at AAA Northeast.

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