Employees want something better, and they are making those wants heard by walking away from their jobs en masse, in the market frenzy being referred to as “The Great Resignation” or “The Great Attrition”. But, while many companies are focused on asking “why”, the real question they should be contemplating is “how do we respond?”
This is because the reasons why people are leaving their jobs are not actually new. People want the same things they’ve always wanted: to be appreciated, to grow professionally, to have a good boss and a good salary, to be happy. What has changed are the circumstances of today’s market. We’ve seen a shift recently from an employer’s market to an employee’s market, as the demand for employees is greater than the supply. Greater competition means employees have the opportunity to choose where they want to work and optimize their terms.
So how should companies address the Great Resignation of 2021-2022?
Having an Espresso Machine Just Isn’t Enough Anymore
Simply put, employers need to do something different in the face of this social shift. In the aftermath of Covid-19, and with a new generation of workers coming online, many employees have changed their expectations. Employers need to counter this with creative, standout ways to retain their people.
Company culture is more essential than ever to surviving this crisis. I recently talked to Forbes about how companies can take calculated risks, such as shorter workweeks or hiring people without experience, as a strategy for engendering loyalty and a sense of belonging.
Edgecrafting and Retaining Employees
At GrowthSpace, we are big believers in applying Seth Godin’s principle of “edgecrafting” as a strategy for finding out-of-the-box solutions to keep employees happy. Edgecrafting is the process of going to the “edge” or extreme in providing a service or product so as to make it remarkable. For example, if you run a restaurant, pick one dimension of your business – food quality, location, wait staff – and make it the best of its class. You can’t do so for every aspect of your product, but really going all-out for one will provide a memorable experience for customers. Want to edgecraft your restaurant? If you follow Godin’s concept, hiring supermodels, weightlifters, or identical twins as waiters will give customers an unforgettable meal every time they show up.
If you’re not sure how to approach it, start small. If you had just one employee with this issue, what would you do to solve it? Then find creative solutions to do so at scale.
You can also take inspiration from others that have applied edgecrafting to retain employees and increase employee satisfaction. Netflix, for example, makes sure that it pays in the top salary range according to skill level (reportedly, up to 50% more than competitors). It even allows employees to go for interviews at competitors, perhaps as a way to learn what salaries are in the market. Or take AirBnB, which builds offices in its headquarters to resemble the most interesting AirBnB homes in its network, complete with a plaque displaying details about the owner. This allows AirBnB employees to identify more with their clients and to work in a truly inspiring and unique atmosphere. And then there’s Forter, a fraud protection firm that is a GrowthSpace customer, that has gone to a 4.5 day workweek and gives employees Sunday off every second week, but with pay.
Edgecraft the Issue That’s Causing Resignations
Edgecrafting can be applied to any aspect of a business, and by targeting the specific reasons that drive turnover, it can be a powerful tool in retaining employees. Therefore, in the pursuit of edgecrafting, the first step a business must take is to identify the main reasons why people are leaving.
Perhaps the greatest reason is that they can. 72% of employees are confident that they can find a new job, and more than half are thinking about leaving within the next year.
It’s interesting to note that Covid-19 has made about half of workers feel that their physical absence (although permitted) has damaged their chance of a promotion. And once they do return to the office, 42% of employees pine for the work-life balance that they had during the pandemic.
But the biggest numbers have to do with development. A whopping 83% of employees believe that employers should support their professional progress, but 44% say that there are no talent acceleration programs available at work. This is a perfect use case for edgecrafting a solution.
Take L&D to the Extreme with GrowthSpace
The real kind of employee development that makes a difference needs to be specific and personalized.
Most employees are merely given online and group courses. But let’s say you had just one employee – how would you develop them? Easy – you would find out their exact needs and hire somebody with the right talent to teach them. So, if you are a startup going for an IPO, but your CFO has no direct experience in the process, you would get a veteran CFO with a background in going public to mentor them.
What GrowthSpace does is mimic individually tailored L&D programs, but at scale. With a combination of technology and unique methodologies, GrowthSpace breaks down what employees want into elements, connects with the most relevant L&D professional, and enables precisely the development needed by any employee, at any level, with any need.
In this way, the platform “edgecrafts” its L&D process. GrowthSpace allows a company to cater to the individual learning needs of employees, a situation that is basically unheard of in most organizations. Through GrowthSpace, employees get unprecedented access to vetted experts who will give them the hard and soft skills that they need to progress, and not waste their time in a one-size-fits-all process. The result is an employee who is better trained, on their way to a more advanced role, sees that they are important, and is less likely to take part in the Great Resignation. We have heard from a lot of our customers that giving their employees this opportunity has played an integral part in their retention strategy.
We speak to HR leaders every day who are losing sleep over The Great Resignation. But by identifying the issues and edgecrafting effective solutions, companies can turn The Great Resignation into The Great Re-engagement, creating value for all of their people, no matter where they stand on the organizational chart.