By Barb Ward

Consider the following scenarios as you think about your work environment:

Recently, you agreed to take on a new project at the request of your boss and because you love to feel challenged at work. Unfortunately, the project was more complex than anyone realized, and you had to put in many hours outside your normal business day. As a result, you missed out on your son’s basketball game, and your daughter’s induction into the National Honor Society because you knew the importance of the project deadline.

At the monthly team meeting, your supervisor talks about how great it is that the project was completed on time but fails to recognize you and the overtime hours you put in to make this happen. While you don’t consider yourself to be someone that needs “kudos” to motivate you to achieve at your highest level, you are nonetheless disappointed that your efforts were not recognized. How likely is it that you will volunteer for the next big project? How valued and engaged in your organization do you feel?

Now, consider this:

At the monthly team meeting, your supervisor mentions you by name when he talks about the great job you did completing the project expertly and on time. He looks at you and says, “Thank you, we appreciate your hard work and dedication to our mission.” After the meeting, he seeks you out and shakes your hand reiterating how impressed he is by your commitment and for the job well done. Now, how likely is it that you will volunteer for the next big project? How valued and engaged in your organization would you feel?

Appreciation is just one thing you, as a leader, can do to help ensure your employees feel valued and like an important part of the organization. It’s a simple thing, and it can make all the difference in whether your employees are satisfied and committed to their job, or whether they begin seeking other employment opportunities.

This is especially on the top of employers’ minds as “The Great Resignation” forges on. According to a McKinsey survey, 40% of employees stated they are at least somewhat likely to leave their current positions within the next 3-6 months. The same survey found that nearly a quarter of employers believe they are holding onto more low-performing employees than they were just a year ago. Add these statistics to the fact that top talent is becoming harder to hire, and you have a recipe for an organizational crisis.

Organizations that are aware of the current environment and invested in building strong employee engagement have several traits in common. They offer:

  • Meaningful work. Employees are willing to work harder and tough it out through difficult transitions if they feel there is meaning to their work and if they feel their effort is making an impact.
  • Autonomy. Once the parameters of the job are set and onboarding is complete, allowing individuals to determine the best way to approach their job based on their personality and skillsets is important. Giving employees autonomy in how to complete their job requirements demonstrates your confidence in them and empowers them to work independently.
  • Flexibility. Providing an option of flexing hours to fit their life schedules or enabling employees to work off-site without compromising quality or productivity offers greater work-life balance, which many workers now seek in their employment options.
  • Opportunity for growth. While salary and benefits are important for job seekers, many also want an opportunity to grow in their careers. Staying challenged, having the ability to grow their skills, and seeing opportunities for career advancement are all integral aspects of keeping employees excited about their jobs and the organization.
  • A voice. Engaged employees are enthusiastic and passionate about their jobs and their organizations; they feel they can contribute. As part of a two-way commitment to their staff, leaders can benefit, both through potential improved communication and processes and through increased employee engagement, by listening to the valuable insights their employees offer.  
  • Authenticity. A leader is someone people want to follow. Leaders must demonstrate that they care, have empathy, are trustworthy, are loyal to their employees, and exhibit integrity. What’s more: these characteristics must be authentic. If a leader is not consistent in the way s/he handles situations, employees will see through them and will easily become disillusioned.
  • Employee recognition. Recognizing an employee’s contribution helps to build pride in their work and loyalty to the organization. No matter what level, people want to feel their contribution is respected and valued by their superiors and the organization.

In today’s ever-evolving business environment, it is necessary to find new ways to attract and retain top talent. If your organization’s leadership is committed to making shifts in the way things are done, you can stem the tide of this Great Resignation from your company. Engaging help from professionals that specialize in Organizational and Cultural Development can be integral to ensure a successful outcome.

Interested in learning more? Innovative Connections can help. Contact us for a free consult to see if our services can help you reach your goals., 970-279-3330