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How can employers avoid The Great Regret?

Employers must consider how to accommodate for employees and ensure they are happy in their roles

DDS, Glow London

Empower Ranger

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Employees are voting with their feet. If they’re unhappy at work, it won’t be long before they’ve cleared out their desks and set out for pastures new.

Maybe it was a colleague that rubbed them up the wrong way. Perhaps it was a reassessment of their role, or industry entirely! Whatever the case may be, the grass can often look greener.

But many of the employees that upped sticks during The Great Resignation were unprepared for - and a little disappointed with - what they found on the other side. Joblist’s Q2 2022 report found that 26% of job seekers that quit their previous role now regret the decision. And a Harris Poll survey for USA Today uncovered that one in five employees that left their job during The Great Resignation felt regret.

The Great Resignation has fed into a new phenomenon that is being termed The Great Regret. And whilst some suggest that it serves these employees right for setting sail in the first place, this argument glosses over the real problem. Staff were being subjected to unhappy, unsatisfactory working conditions - and nothing was done about it.

Upping salaries and dishing out new perks, however, is easy. But throwing money at the problem won’t solve anything

DDS, Empower Ranger at Glow London

Rather than point the finger of blame, businesses need to make sure they’re watering their own grass - or risk seeing employees leave en masse. But how can companies effectively avoid The Great Regret?

Same Sh*t, Different Place

Staff that jumped ship during The Great Resignation, more often than not, found themselves doing the same job - just for a different employer.

Their satisfaction levels didn’t change - and neither did their overall wellbeing. The only difference was that their wage might have been bumped slightly.

Upping salaries and dishing out new perks, however, is easy. But throwing money at the problem won’t solve anything. Flexible working models and table football might look great on job descriptions - but they don’t make up for deep-rooted issues.

All these short-term solutions do is make it harder for employees to leave. Unfortunately, they do nothing to boost productivity or motivation. It simply means companies are left with an abundance of hostages, feeling trapped and frustrated.

But if buying employees’ affection is off the table, what should companies do?

Culture vs. Climate

Building a culture that genuinely incentivises staff to stay should be prioritised. Factor in a strong company climate - and you have a recipe for success.

But understanding the difference between culture and climate is critical. Company culture is all about stated intentions, desires and wishes. Businesses love to talk about the type of organisation they are and the type of vibe they try to create for employees and customers alike.

Climate is a lot more tangible. It is employees’ actual lived experiences of the culture. It can be seen in the way decisions are made and the way conflict is resolved- and it is dictated by the top.

Looking at internal communications is a surefire way to measure company climate. Observing how employees interact with one another - and how they’re spoken about when they’re not in the room - gives a good indication of the situation.

Climate and culture should overlap. But companies trying to stay strong during The Great Resignation - and avoid falling foul of The Great Regret - should be more interested in building a climate that offers employees greater purpose and meaning. They want a sense of belonging - and leaders are key to shaping this.

Chewing The Fat

Speaking to employees is the best way to gauge their feelings about the company. Unfortunately, these conversations don’t take place nearly regularly enough.

Exit Interviews are all well and good. But they don’t really resolve anything. You are essentially closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Stay Interviews, on the other hand, can be a catalyst for meaningful change.

Holding these types of proactive conversations with employees across the organisation offers an opportunity to learn about what keeps them engaged and interested in your business. There are plenty of questions that you can ask during a stay interview - here are just a few:

-       “What’s your ‘why’ for working here?”

-       “What do you enjoy most about working here?”

-       “What events or situations would cause you to think about leaving?”

This information - coupled with the results of exit interviews and any other employee listening channels you use - provides a platform to develop a greater understanding of your workforce. You will easily be able to see where you need to invest time and resources to avoid staff from heading to the door.

Money Doesn’t Make The World Go Round

Stacks of gold bars don’t change the status quo. Companies that try and use their bank accounts to placate employees may well stem the tide of attrition - but it will be temporary. If higher-than-market-rate salaries aren’t accompanied by a climate worth having, then your people will head for the door in the long term.

Making your grass look greener means looking inwards and focussing on your existing employees’ experiences. Engage with staff across all organisational levels - encourage them to feedback on practices before they hand in their letter of resignation. Otherwise, it won’t be long before the tumbleweeds start rolling through your deserted office.

Guest Author

DDS, Glow London

Empower Ranger

About

As Glow’s resident expert in human potential and workplace culture, DDS’ purpose is to build brand cultures in which people can be themselves so that they are freed-up to do the best work of their lives in pursuit of the company’s mission. They passionately believe that the most transformational brands are serious about creating cultures that intentionally align employee experience with brand. DDS is also the founder of Soul Trained, an executive coaching and leadership growth consultancy that helps leaders get up out of the weeds of their comfort zones and into places they didn’t know they needed to go.When DDS isn’t busy being Glow’s Empower Ranger, they can be found watching repeats of The Voice, X-Factor, and Glee on YouTube on the couch, with Harper and Hemmingway their two gorgeous cats.

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