The Focus on Employee Engagement arises as a response to the new work realities of a global crisis, namely The Great Resignation. This continues to spread worldwide and companies find it very difficult to retain and attract new talent. Employee expectations have changed and in response companies need to review their processes and adopt new employee engagement practices.
Employee engagement in response to The Great Resignation
More than ever, talent is leaving companies and there is great difficulty in attracting new talent. Two key factors may be at play: The Great Resignation has arrived at companies or talent is leaving to foreign companies that offer better opportunities and salaries.
The answer to these difficulties in retaining and attracting talent lies in promoting employee engagement practices in companies and communicating to the market that companies carry out these employee engagement practices.
A study carried out by Microsoft reveals that more than 40% of the world's workforce considered quitting at the beginning of 2021. In Europe, 58% of European employees plan to leave their companies this year. Let’s take the United Kingdom as an example, where, between July and September 2021 alone, more than 400,000 employees left companies.
The Great Resignation is seen by leaders as the new trend that will inevitably spread globally. This impacts most companies, regardless of the company´s size and sector of activity or employee´s job or company position.
Initially spotted in the US, The Great Resignation has now reached Europe and european leaders are looking to react quickly to this wave. The question thus arises: What practices should companies adopt to counter The Great Resignation and retain talent?
How did The Great Resignation come about?
The universal adoption of new work regimes, in particular the remote and hybrid regime by companies created a new reality for employees who needed to readjust and adapt to new rhythms, schedules and professional and personal demands.
This duality between flexibility and demands resulting from the remote regime brought with it new expectations, which led to a reconfiguration of their professional and personal values. Factors such as limited interaction with managers and the work team, the growing search by employees for their purpose, the importance given to health and well-being and, in addition, the perception of freedom to work anywhere, are examples of indicators that helped these employees reassess their priorities.
Employees began to idealize their role in companies in a new perspective, and therefore, do not hesitate to leave their companies when these new values are not met.
This reality is highlighted by Staya Nadella , CEO of Microsoft, when stating that at employee expectations are changing and, therefore, it is necessary to define productivity more broadly – including other factors such as collaboration, learning and well-being – in order to boost the career development from employees. Microsoft's CEO also warns of the need to manage these changes flexibly about when, where and how people work.
Employee engagement as reply to The Great Resignation
Leaders wonder about the best strategy to respond to The Great Resignation so that talent wants to stay with their companies. The answer is in employee engagement!
In response to The Great Resignation we recommend these employee engagement practices:
- Recognize and value talent;
- Share feedback often;
- Create development opportunity;
- Promote a positive supportive culture;
- Evaluate employee engagement.
1. Recognize and value talent
It is essential for managers to recognize and value talent in order to promote their engagement. Around 66% of employees consider leaving their company if they do not feel valued, and this value increases to 76% in the younger generations (Millennials).
Companies must adopt practices that recognize the success of their talents, encouraging them to carry out their tasks and achievements, in order to promote a feeling of appreciation and recognition. However, the great challenge for companies is centered on the selection of the right practices for each employee. To this end, we suggest some practices:
- Assignment of tasks with greater responsibility and autonomy. These aspects are highly valued by employees of the baby boomer generation .
- The attribution of monetary rewards to employees. Take, for example, Airbnb company whose mission is to help customers experience the benefits of travel. This company has adopted a reward strategy by attributing 2000$ coupons to employees on the Airbnb website, which also encourages them to experience the benefits of travel.
- Attribution of figurative prizes, such as medals, trophies or employee´ distinction as “Employee of the Week”. The company Legal Monkeys adopted a creative strategy to promote the appreciation of its employees throughout the work week, using a glass frame. Employees are invited to write appreciation comments about their colleagues on the frame that will later be delivered personally to the recipient, who must keep the frame on his desk until he elects another colleague to receive it.
- Sharing the employee's achievements with the team.
- Employee recognition on the company's social media profile.
2. Share feedback often
Feedback continues to be identified as an essential factor in promoting talent engagement, especially in today's telecommuting context. About 68% of employees who consistently receive feedback feel fulfilled at their companies.
In this way, companies should not limit feedback to annual moments of satisfaction surveys, but rather integrate themselves into a culture of constant and continuous feedback. About 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week.
Feedback can be shared through different direct and indirect organizational channels that allow employees to understand the areas they must develop. Employees of the younger generations (Generation Y and Z) tend to seek formal and informal direct feedback from their superiors, for example in Zoom or Teams meetings, while Generation X tends to value sharing feedback in an indirect channel through their work email .
Feedback should be a moment of sharing and development between employees and managers, demonstrating to them that managers value and meet their needs.
3. Create training and development opportunities
Talents are increasingly looking for opportunities to develop their careers in their companies. The study developed by Glint identified learning and development (L&D) opportunities as the first factor in ensuring a positive work environment. In addition, a study carried out by LinkedIn revealed that 94% of employees said they would stay longer at the company if it invested more in training.
The creation of development opportunities for Talents, through reskilling or upskilling plans allows you to create a rich and tailored experience of growth for them. In particular, employees of the younger generations (generation Y and Z) increasingly value the evolution of their career through training and development opportunities, considering that everything can be learned, with technology being their right arm.
Thus, companies must create development programs for employees, which may involve practices such as:
- Preparation of a formal development plan. The company Mastercard has created a “role rotation” program in which employees have the opportunity to participate from the moment they join the company. This program makes it possible for employees to have contact with other tasks within Mastercard, contributing to the development of its employees.
- Creating a mentoring program for talent
- Publicity of events and conferences for employees to attend.
4. Promote a positive supportive culture
The adoption of remote regime by companies physically removed employees from the office, which makes it difficult to share and experience the organization's culture. TELUS International reports that 51% of employees who work remotely feel less connected to their company's culture.
Thus, companies must create an organizational culture of proximity and support with their employees, so that they continue to feel close to their company's culture and become more involved. With greater attention to the remote regime, companies must frequently monitor their employees directly or indirectly. We suggest some practices:
- Share the company's achievements, through the Email tool.
- Facilitation of the creation of other internal communication channels. Microsoft is an example of creating a sense of community through the use of internal communication tools that connect all the company departments. The company created the “CEO connection ” page, which allows employees to network with their colleagues and leaders. This initiative not only promotes communication between employees but also top-down communication .
- Organization of company events with the participation of employees.
- Request for feedback on the company's culture to employees.
5. Evaluate employee engagement
The employee engagement evaluation allows companies to identify the profile of engaged employees, as well as identify employee engagement factors that the company needs to develop. It is not enough to carry out an annual employee engagement survey . This assessment must be carried out on a regular basis and adapted to the specific needs and structure of the company. We suggest some employee engagement evaluation tools:
- Regular employee participation in small surveys such as “pulse surveys”. Microsoft frequently uses this methodology to evaluate the employee engagement enabling the quick identification of employees engagement levels.
- Conducting individual interviews with employees.
- Conducting internal studies on employee engagement.
- Analyze turnover or absenteeism rates.
In the last year we have witnessed the continuous expansion of the phenomenon The Great Resignation.
The best instrument to effectively respond to this phenomenon is companies' focus on employee engagement. When talent perceives that they are valued and recognized by the company and that their values are aligned with the company's culture and purpose, the employee creates an emotional commitment bond, and consequently, wants to remain in the company.
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Inês Ramos | Bright Concept's Intern
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