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A Musical Response to the Great Resignation: Love the One(s) You’re With

love ballonsMy daughter recently reminded me of that old song, Love the One You’re With. If you’re not familiar, it’s got a great beat and a timely message to today’s leaders – one that should immediately be incorporated into their playlists – and playbooks. Organizations, leaders, managers, and the media have (understandably) been obsessed with the loss of talent associated with the ‘great resignation’; but there’s even greater risk in not being equally obsessed with attending to the talent that has chosen (at least for now) to remain.

Decades ago, psychologists and human resources professionals recognized the emotional and physical toll on employees following rounds of layoffs. The fear, guilt and depression expressed by those who remained were termed ‘survivor syndrome’ and efforts were made to address the issue. It’s time we invest similar effort in today’s ‘survivors’ – those who have not joined the great migration and instead show up (virtually or in-person) day-in and day-out to take care of business. Because let’s face it…

Too many employees today feel overlooked,

overworked, overwhelmed, and completely over it!

Months of continued uncertainty, supply chain issues, escalating customer expectations, and picking up the slack in an under-resourced workplace have left many of those who remain weary, fragile, and a flight risk. All of which means that the time is right to heed Stephen Still’s profound advice and ‘love the one(s) you’re with’. Here are three ways to show your love to those who are loyally laboring during these challenging times.

Train those who remain.

One of the most tangible ways you can show your ‘love’ is to offer employees the learning and development they crave. A recent Gallup poll finds that 87% of millennials believe that professional growth and career development are very important.  And millennials are not alone.

Training is one of today’s most highly desirable employment benefits. It’s also an expectation of workers who understand that automation, machine learning, AI, and other advancements are quickly changing the way work gets done. Their ongoing relevance and survival (as well as the organizations) depend upon skilling up. And businesses that show the love in this way may also be rewarded with the retention they need. According to the LinkedIn Learning Report, 94% of employees report they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development.

Remove the strain for those who remain.

Filling the headcount voids in many organizations while continuing to grapple with pandemic-related challenges has stretched people to (and beyond) their limits. The tolerance that employees have had in the past for internal hurdles and obstacles is growing increasingly thin. As a result, right now it’s critical to make it easy to do the work that’s necessary. That means:

  • Addressing cumbersome or outdated procedures and systems
  • Cutting the red tape and streamlining processes
  • Facilitating the greatest reasonable level of flexibility related to where, when and how people work
  • Discovering the daily annoyances that distract employees and taking immediate action to eliminate them

Your efforts to make it easier for employees to succeed sends a clear signal of value and respect that resonates deeply with others, delivering both human and business outcomes.

Sustain (and be humane to) those who remain.

Finally, leaders can show their ‘love’ by investing in a relationship with each remaining employee and staying abreast of their ever-changing needs and priorities. Understanding someone’s broader life, what’s most important to them, and the pressures they face outside of the workplace all provide a context for offering the support required to help others sustain their engagement, satisfaction, and energy for their work.

So, carve out time for conversation. Learn about their priorities and goals. Explore what they need more or less of at work – and take steps to make it happen if you can. Recognize their talents, efforts, and accomplishments. Offer whatever grace is possible. Create the kinder, gentler, more humane workplace experience that so many employees want – and need – right where they are… so there’s no need to look elsewhere.

Leaders who respond to the great resignation with even greater attention to the needs of those who remain won’t just ‘love the one(s) they’re with’; they’ll also love the relationships, retention, and results that follow.

Julie’s new book, Promotions Are So Yesterday: Redefine Career Development. Help Employees Thrive, will be released in March 2022. Learn more at juliewinklegiulioni.com and listen to the book’s Spotify playlist here.

This post was originally published on SmartBrief.

Photo by Christopher Beloch on Unsplash.