Mass exodus is coming. Not the Biblical kind, but probably no less disruptive. As we start coming out of the 1,5 year long pandemic, many employees are contemplating their next move. Some already took action. According to Microsoft’s recent study 40% of the employees are planning to change jobs in 2021. That is a huge number. Imagine having four out of ten key people from your team gone in the next couple of months!! Ouchh! That will hurt.
Furthermore, there is a high possibility that those four will be your key employees.Remember, the people whom you regard as your talent, the ones whom you lean on the most, whom you expect more from, the ones that work harder and smarter, those team members are also the ones who can find a new job easier. That is a fact. They are highly demanded on the job market, they are more connected, resourceful and capable. They were passive on the job market so far. Once they get active, they will be gone fast. So, get ready to lose your best in a very short time.
Before calling HR to increase salary ranges and bonus packages, take a deep breath and focus on understanding this big, mass migration trend at work. The drive to inspire such an “exitus” can be very disturbing but also inspirational, transformational and even beneficial for your company, if managed properly.
WHY WE EXIT
- A lot of us have gone through a very similar range of emotions during the pandemic, starting with anxiety, denial, acceptance and adaptation to the new realities. We have changed. During these turbulent times many people had time to contemplate their daily routines, the purpose of their efforts and the why’s of life. Why is something important to me? As the answers to these Whys of life started to diverge from person to person, the need to find answers out of work became more and more commonplace. Not everyone wants to be destined for a lifelong white collar career. Given so many options and choices in life, feelings of being trapped in just one very common scenario may seem a bit, “confined”. This is one reason behind the need to change.
- There is also the exhilarating realization that work can be done from anywhere; home, cafe’s, outdoors, etc. Why endure the traffic, migraines from poorly designed office spaces, and inefficiency of other people when you can ride solo from wherever you like to be. It is no surprise that the freelance economy grew 22% during the pandemic. 1/3 of Americans are now considered to be in the freelance market contributing to a $1,2 trillion freelance economy. Some of your talent will definitely freelance.
- First time I heard the term Zoom Fatigue, I was too tired to grasp it. After my sixth online call, I could not focus enough to grasp the implications of the word. I just said; “hımm, hımmm. Yeah, makes sense”. It does make a lot of sense, really. Neither human eye, nor the brain is geared towards looking at a screen six, seven hours a day without making a meaningful break. Pandemic made us laptop slaves and screen junkies, the worst of all, casualties of zoom call efficiency. This has to stop. We have to stop this myriad of endless meetings and continuous time on laptop screens. Otherwise, you will lose your talent to either competition or brain fog.
WHAT IT MEANS
So what all this means is that we need to give people PURPOSE, SPACE and a GREAT PLACE TO WORK to minimize the impact of this mass “exitus”. And we need to do it fast. Here are some very simple suggestions that can make a huge difference for your people:
1)Scan for disengagement It may be a great time to survey, listen and keep the pulse of your key employees. Understanding hot spots and ability to act is crucial for retention.
2)Engage More & Better We are all zoom fatigued but a genuine, inspirational 1-1 with a talent never drains their energy. On the contrary, providing an outlet to discuss performance, frustrations, purpose and future can play a significant role in motivating your key people.
3)Delegate More & Challenge It may feel counterintuitive to give more challenging assignments and responsibility to the already tired, soul searching employees but it works. People want to be part of bigger things, solve important problems and have a greater impact on their organizations. Providing avenues to experience such an increase in initiative and responsibility goes a long way to self motivate your talent.
4)Automate Manual Work There are not many excuses left in the era of digital workplace for monotonous, meaningless manual labor. Find areas of improvement, standardize, automate fast. Let your talent wrestle with more complex and high impact issues and problems, letting smart automation handle repetitive tasks.
5)Decrease Call Fatigue Schedule meetings smartly, allow time in between meetings, create no meeting time slots in calendars, etc. Whatever it takes to let your talent take a breath from ongoing meetings.
6)Open those Windows If possible change the layout and place of work from indoors to outdoors. Get rid of cramped, confined office areas. Liberate spaces to meet outdoors as much as you can. Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air, nature and flora on human brain chemistry and well being. Whoever thought that work should be done in small cubicles in windowless places that never see sunlight was wrong. Utterly wrong!
7)Ensure Competitive Packages YES, money and benefits matter. They are hygiene factors but having a good package increases intent to stay. So, yes, check with HR as well.
8)Allow Freelancing Why fight the wave when you can ride it. Rearranging work that can be freelanced out and sourcing your own talent may be a great win -win.
Exitus is real and is upon us. Let’s understand the anxieties of our talent personally and rearrange our spaces and resources to help them readapt. It is worth it.