Updated: Dec 7, 2022
Recently I came across an article on mckinsey.com which shared the results of why people are walking out of their jobs without another job in pocket. This is quite the epidemic, as there are a reported 10.9 million jobs with vacancies. People are leaving in droves, as we know from the "great resignation", but why and what can be done? The article shared the results of a survey of people who just left their jobs, without another lined up. The top 2 reasons they left were unfortunate, but not terribly surprising. The #1 reason given was "uncaring leaders", followed by #2 which was "unsustainable work performance expectations". In other words, people were leaving a toxic culture. They don't even require a future plan, they've just want out, period. Interestingly, almost half of them returned to work, but for different reasons. The #1 reason for taking on a new job was "workplace flexibility", followed by "adequate total compensation package" and "sustainable workplace performance expectations". In other words, people want a life, and to be cared for. They also want to work in a healthy organization. They've come to the place where their desire for organizational health is greater than fear. Recently, I was engaged in values training with an organization. Our first week was on the value of "understanding people". One of the department heads was in the middle of having one of her direct reports resign and accept a position with another company. The department head decided to call a meeting with her and listen to her- really listen. She came to understand the real reason she was leaving and was able to make adjustments that accommodated both her needs and the needs of the organization. The employee called the other company and told them she wasn't coming and stayed on board. Why? Because her supervisor had created understanding and flexibility with her. It's what the mckinsey report calls a "sticky culture". A culture where an employee feels valued, understood, and where their needs are of enough concern that their leader finds a way to make things work. People crave a "sticky culture". In what ways can your culture become more "sticky", to make people not want to leave, to not be able to imagine working somewhere else? The "stickier" your culture, the less likely you are to lose your employees, and to scratch your head over why they left.
Understanding people is a good place to start. Listening is another, and listening with a view to caring about what they care about. That's a good way to get them to stay. A sure-fire way to get them to leave is to not care. Let's create a "sticky culture". Recruiting, onboarding and training cost a company lots of money. Keeping your top performers creates a healthier bottom line and a much healthier culture. One people can't imagine living without.
I'd love to help your organization to be the place where people want to be!