Source: Forbes.com/Chris Yonker
Most of us are beginning to look at our 2022 strategic plans and hoping that this coming year will bring us all more stability than the past year has. One thing is for sure: The future of the workforce is changing. More than ever before, people are looking for work-life balance, freedom and experiences, and this quest often leads to a job search.
In Gallup’s recent article “The ‘Great Resignation’ Is Really the ‘Great Discontent’,” researchers revealed that 48% of America’s working population is actively job searching or watching for opportunities. The recent shift in priorities has created a new generational gap in which leaders need to adjust accordingly to keep their employees engaged.
There are steps your organization can take now to ensure that you’ll be able to retain key talent in 2022. The key is to develop strategies for keeping your people happy and fulfilled while also recognizing the different value preferences between generations.
In general, the Harvard Business Review reports that Boomers tend to value loyalty and money over career specifics or advancement. Gen X values ownership and autonomy. Millennials value innovation, collaboration, freedom, experiences and creativity. Gen Z values progressive equality, conscious consumerism, activism and pragmaticism.
Moving forward leaders need to address and consider these different values and how they will provide the avenues and pathways for their employees to have the quality of life they want so they can be fulfilled both professionally and personally. Every employee wants to know: “Do my leaders really care about me? Can I trust this organization to get me where I want to go in my life, and do they have my best interest at heart?”
Here are some questions you and your leaders can ask yourselves to evaluate where you are currently at with your employee engagement:
• How are we helping our employees create a better quality of life inside and outside of the office?
• What are we doing to actively create a work environment that puts people over profit?
• Do we know what each of our employees truly values?
• Is our organization equitable for everyone — including our customers and partners?
• How are we having a conscious, positive impact on our employees, customers and our greater community?
• Do we have a process for ensuring that individual strengths are being utilized and developed?
• How would we rate the level of trust in our leaders?
• Have we created a culture of open communication, vulnerability and healthy conflict?
• What is the approach to wellness in our organization?
Honest answers and solutions to these questions often require mindset shifts within your leadership team, who all have their own model of the world, what they believe success means, how it is achieved and what creates true happiness and fulfillment. This is where it often helps to bring someone in to help you identify where your own stories, and those of your team, could be sabotaging your best attempts at creating a trusting and engaging company culture.
I would suggest creating a specific plan for each one of the following tenants related to employee engagement.
• Employee well-being
• Values alignment between employees and the organization
• Clearly defined and aligned vision for company and employees
• Community impact
• Healthy team environment and overall organizational health
• Strengths development
• Identifiable personal impact for each employee
• Faith in the leadership team
Of course, there is no one-size-fits all strategy. You will have your own list of priorities based on where you currently stand in these areas, but these tenants should be on your radar in the next few years if you want to stand out from the competition and retain your top talent.
In closing, it starts with you. Leaders must all be consistently mindful of how they are presenting themselves and whether or not they are leading and living in congruence with what they say they value. The first step is to simply demonstrate vulnerability and an unwavering trust for your employees through your actions and the tools and resources you give them to achieve the life they desire.