The Great Resignation: Energizing teams through a renewed WHY and HOW
In Part 5 of our blog series on the Great Resignation, Energy for Growth Co-Founder Fiona Stevenson explores how to energize your employees through co-creating an inspiring purpose and vision for the future, and a shared agreement with respect to how (not where!) we work.
The Great Resignation – the ongoing trend of employees leaving their jobs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – continues to be a very hot topic and key cause for concern among leaders. In a recent PWC Survey, 65% of employees said they are looking for a new job and 88% of executives said their company is experiencing higher turnover than normal. So what should leaders be doing to energize their workplaces and retain top talent in this volatile time?
Start by acknowledging the significant shifts that have taken place over the past 18 months.
Despite long stretches of the pandemic having felt like “Groundhog Day”, it’s important to also acknowledge the quite dramatic ways in which the world, and thus the context in which our organizations exist and operate, has changed.
And just as the world has changed, so have our employees. They (and for that matter, we!) are simply not the same people they (or we) were before the pandemic. There’s been a huge mindset shift and a collective re-evaluation of personal values and priorities across the workforce:
- Employees are increasingly looking to work for organizations and leaders that are committed to making a positive difference in the lives of others.
- Employees expect leaders to take a people-first, empathetic and compassionate approach to the way in which they run organizations and manage others.
- Employees are no longer willing to accept the old model of employers setting standard and rigid rules of employment, but rather expect employers to consider and accommodate for their individual circumstances.
The time is now to build an aspiring vision of the future!
So, the world has changed, and our people have changed – yet the vast majority of organizations are still operating under directives and rules established long before the pandemic. The vision, mission, and values of the organization have in many cases not evolved, the Employee Handbook has not been updated, and the future is fuzzy (at best).
And, of course, there are good reasons why this critical work has fallen to the wayside for too long. Many teams have been operating in survival mode through much of this crisis – which has naturally made us more short-term focused. Further, for a long time, the uncertainty of the future made any sort of long-term planning exercise seem a bit futile.
If this phenomenon applies to your organization or your team – this absolutely leaves you vulnerable. If your employees don’t feel connected to and energized by an inspiring purpose – they are far more likely to be pulled somewhere that offers that meaningful connection to their work that they are now seeking more than ever.
But more than being a tool to retain and attract talent, there is a compelling business reason to commit to this work. We have just gone through a massive period of disruption – and with disruption comes opportunity – a chance to build back better and stronger than before.
Give your employees a seat at the table.
Once you’ve established the need to revisit your organization’s mission, vision and values – as well as the principles of how your team will work together – the logical next question is who should be involved in this work? And it may come as a relief to many leaders that this work does not and should not fall solely on your shoulders.
There are a number of reasons why engaging your team in the co-creation of an inspiring purpose and approach to work – is hugely beneficial.
- This is highly energizing work! After 18 months of seeing their colleagues mostly as thumbnails in agenda-packed Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings, do not underestimate the energy that the exercise of building an exciting vision for the future together will bring to your employees and your collective team. And, even if you’re still working remotely, that is no reason to put this work off. The virtual collaboration tools available today not only make a workshop approach eminently doable with a dispersed team – but also present a brilliant opportunity for fostering collaboration and connection between team members who now spend much of their working day in solitude.
- Your people will do a far better job than you or your leadership team could ever do on their own. Articulating a clear, actionable purpose that motivates transformative work is an incredibly challenging exercise. The value of the diverse perspectives, experiences, and expertise that your team members bring to this exercise cannot be understated. Similarly, an aligned set of principles about how you will work together in the ‘new normal’ must consider individual needs, circumstances and preferences – which only your people can adequately and fully represent.
- Co-creating will create natural alignment. We are naturally more bought into things when we have skin in the game and played a part in building them – vs. being handed a finished product.
Pursuing an authentic and meaningful purpose brings energy to a team.
More than ever, our employees want to engage in meaningful work – and to do so in a way that both considers and suits their individual circumstances. Going through the exercise of co-creating what this looks like – is a way to boost the energy of your team not just in the short term – but long into the future.
What are your top tips from your own experiences of engaging your employees in the development of an inspiring purpose and vision for the future? Leave us a comment below to share your stories or thoughts.
There’s never been a more important time to energize your team around a shared and exciting vision of the future. If you would like to discuss how to approach this important work or explore other ways to energize your team, we invite you to book a complimentary call with us.