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Leadership
January 19, 2022

The Critical Mistakes Employers Are Making in the Race to Attract & Retain Talent

Post By:
Kim Beckett
Founder and CEO
Beckett Consulting
Guest Contributor:

Employees are leaving their jobs in droves. 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. And many of these resignations start with a story like this.

Recently, my friend accepted a senior level leadership position. Throughout the interview process, the senior leadership team was attentive and responsive. On her first official day as an employee, she flew to the corporate office to attend an on-site meeting. When she arrived, no one was expecting her. An employee showed her to an empty office and said, “I guess you can sit here.” The desk was dirty and the carpet was stained. Lunch time came and went without anyone checking to see if she needed anything. Without a key card, she couldn’t access the restroom without having to ask someone to let her back in the office. 

Later that afternoon, she attended a staff meeting. One of the managers looked over at her and said, “Who are you and why are you here?” Needless to say, she started to second guess her decision to join the organization. She thought, “will I receive the same level of support from leadership to achieve the aggressive goals they set for me?”

My friend’s experience speaks volumes to the workplace culture of her new company. Workplace culture can be defined as “what it feels like to work here.” It is a collection of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that make up the atmosphere in a work environment.

The Great Resignation has spurred the Race for Talent, a race to attract and retain top professionals and workers in the most competitive of job markets. But many organizations are doing so without much pause to consider why these resignations are happening in the first place. 

To keep their people, leaders need to carefully examine their workplace culture. 

How would your employees rate your workplace culture on a scale of 1-5? Is it thriving or is it in need of a tune-up?

If your workplace culture could use a tune-up, start with these key areas:

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Communication

  • Stop communicating and start connecting. Place value on honest and frequent conversations. Focus on openness and transparency. 
  • Engage your remote workforce in creative ways such as virtual water cooler talks and happy hours. Make a conscious effort to pick up the phone for frequent, live conversations even if they are only five minutes. 

Measurement

  • Show them how their work contributes to the success of the organization. People want to know how they make a difference. 
  • Specify their responsibilities, what their decision rights are, and how their performance is being measured. 
  • Provide details on what success looks like for their role.

Recognition and Celebration 

  • People want to be recognized in different ways. Some people enjoy the formal presentation of awards and trophies. Others may not appreciate that, instead preferring to be recognized by their peers. 
  • Everyone has a language of appreciation. Take time to learn each person’s appreciation language so you can recognize and celebrate them in ways that are the most meaningful to them. To learn more about the appreciation languages, read The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White. 
  • Celebrate new hires by being ready for their arrival and ensuring they have a positive experience starting on day one. Ask newer employees for feedback on their on-boarding experience to find out what’s working and what’s not. Then, adapt.

Growth and Development

  • According to Gallup, the number one reason people change jobs is for career growth opportunities.
  • These days, employees are less motivated by bonus payouts or standard salary increases. They crave growth and development. In a June 2021 survey with Amazon, Gallup found that 57% of U.S. workers want to update their skills and 48% would consider switching jobs to do it. 
  • In fact, workers aged 18 to 24 consider upskilling a more important benefit than retirement, sick leave, parental leave, life insurance and vacation. Even among workers aged 55 and older, more than half (53%) say upskilling is "very" or "extremely" important.
  • Invest in your people. Give them the tools they need to succeed.
  • Great managers have a massive impact on your workplace culture and the organization’s overall success. Invest in your managers, too.

Final Thoughts

A company’s biggest asset is its people. Getting the most out of this asset makes a huge

difference in attracting and retaining talent. According to CultureIQ, “companies with strong cultures saw a 4x increase in revenue growth.” Fine-tune these four areas of your workplace culture and you’ll have the best chance of keeping your employees and attracting top talent in 2022.