40 million employees left their jobs after the pandemic, according to the New York Times. Where are they now?
Well, according to the same article, the majority of people traded low-paying jobs that made them miserable for better-paying jobs that fulfilled them. The pandemic did not cause the great resignation, but laid bare the issues that have been troubling employees for years, though because of inertia and status quo, had little effect on the overall job market.
Attracting and retaining top talent has always been top of mind for company executives, but even, two years post-pandemic, the war for talent is fiercer than ever, supply is short, and millennials are at the center of the fight.
Millennials are often blamed for lack of loyalty, for needing immediate gratification and impatience in climbing the company ladder. But again, these are stereotypes and symptoms.
Millennials were brought up on the pablum of educational rubrics and justification with evidence. It’s not that Millennials are disloyal, it’s just that they need a rubric of what’s expected of them, how they’ll be measured, and what the pathways are for advancement. They need clarity. And jobs that lack clarity will cause Millennials to seek jobs that have clarity.
When we are brought into a company to help stymie turnover that is often tied to organizational confusion and dysfunction, one of the first things we administer is a survey called the 7 Question Engagement and Culture Survey. We find that organizations struggling with employee loyalty and retention score low in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th questions: questions around accountability, measurement, being heard, and being developed. Unhappy, disengaged employees don’t know what they are really accountable for, to whom they’re accountable, how their job performance is measured, how their questions and concerns are addressed, and how they can participate in their own development.
Now you may be thinking that your employees know these four things — they know when their job review is, whom they report to, and what their job is, but you’d be surprised.
You may be thinking that your employees know when their job review is, whom they report to, and what their job is, but you’d be surprised.
Employees that say ‘Yes” to each of the 7 questions tend to remain in their jobs. Employees that say “No”, or give low marks to one or more of the questions, tend to look for other jobs. And, despite popular belief, remuneration only plays a small part.
The Result is Retention
In 2010, when we first started instituting the 7 Question 7 Promise Framework, a new client’s daughter had just changed marketing jobs in Manhattan. He had no idea why, so I suggested he ask her the 7 Questions. He did, and within 45 minutes, she sent back a four-page email answering why she was leaving one firm and joining another using the 7 questions as an outline.
Recently, I asked my own daughter why she left one law firm for another, and she responded, “Balance, Dad, balance and development. There seems to be a glass ceiling here, and there’s no way I can move up, and I’m not being paid what I’m worth. And this other firm has given me a path to the future.”
Your employees are leaving because of lack of clarity around one or more of the above 7 Questions, they are staying when there is clarity in all 7.
Keeping 7 Promises
There is nothing worse than a survey without an action plan behind it. In this approach, after we administer the survey, we then flip the script and turn the 7 Questions into 7 Promises where we make the promise that we are going to create one single organization where we will surround ourselves with people who can say “Yes, I belong, I believe, I understand and embrace my accountabilities, my measures, how I am heard and developed and how I maintain balance.”
The results from this simple survey reveal and outline the hard work most organizations have yet to do and the promises create the “why” that helps employees buy-in and see we are doing this for them and not to them.
As a result of this focused work, employee turnover decreases dramatically and measurable employee engagement goes up and stays up.
The thing is, employees will continue to leave jobs that lack clarity in whom they report to, how they’re measured, how they can be promoted, and how they can maintain work-life balance, in favor of jobs that do. Organizations that ignore their employees’ need for clarity will continue suffering from the Great Resignation, long after the Great Resignation has ended. Take the 7-question survey yourself, use the free 7 Question survey tool to administer the survey and track your organization’s results. https://sevenpromises.org
Written by Walt Brown.
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