The Great Resignation or the Great Attraction: What will it be for you?

The ‘Great Resignation’ has sparked a lot of debate over the last year. However, we are firm believers that by investing time and effort in building a great culture, organisations will only ever lose people whose values do not align with those of the company, professionals whose personal or professional motivations shift, or those who are presented with another opportunity they simply cannot refuse.

Talent movement is normal

Employee turnover is common, and your organisation’s goal should be to become an employer of choice, so that if workers decide to leave, you will have a huge pool of candidates to choose from.

Offering hefty pay increases to attract new employees is undoubtedly a short-term strategy used by many businesses. And, as our recently released Lubricants Talent Report shows, monetary compensation is still crucial for the majority of specialists in the lubricants business. However, better strategies for the majority of professionals moving roles include offering fulfilling jobs, clear career paths and a better work-life balance.

Therefore, by investing in cultural transformation rather than inflated compensation, organisations can establish a constant stream of talent who want to be content in their work.

Importance of culture

Culture has always been and will continue to be the most important factor in determining organisational success. The first objective should be to define the environment in which people may bring their best selves to work.

When companies do this, they notice increases in productivity, customer happiness, profitability, and decreases in absenteeism levels. Despite this, many companies still consider culture to be a human resources issue rather than an organisational one.

Senior managers often view culture as something that needs to change rather than something that needs to evolve over time, and as a result, it is relegated to the ‘too difficult’ category by those who, paradoxically, nevertheless demand consistent outcomes.

Workplace transformation

Given the changing nature of work over the past 18 months, some organisations are struggling to get started with cultural evolution.

If the intentions of the professionals who responded to our Lubricants Talent survey last month are to be believed, 31 per cent of them plan to leave their current workplace in the coming months, and the other 47 per cent are open to exploring new job opportunities.

The length of the pandemic has led to many people feeling uncertain about their futures. For some, their concern is about career progression, while others have questioned their career choice. Many professionals have just realised that they are not being given the conditions in which they can be their best selves and conduct meaningful work.

People have had time to reflect, and they now feel empowered to take charge of their life and create a condition in which they are happy, productive, and able to properly manage their personal and professional commitments

The Great Attraction, where to start?

If organisations make a concerted effort to create a better workplace, the ‘Great Resignation’ could become the ‘Great Attraction’. By seizing this unique moment, companies could gain an edge in the race to attract, develop, and retain the talent they need to create a thriving post-pandemic organisation.

Organisations should start with purpose and ask themselves, “What good are we aiming to do in the world?” to establish an appealing cultural proposition. They can use this information to create a compelling and intriguing short-term vision.

Once the vision has been created, the strategy demonstrating how it will be achieved can be written and at that point, organisations have the blueprint around which employees can come together and define how they would like to work together.

The key considerations include:

  • Reconnecting with employees

What are their personalities? What have they learned about themselves over the past 18 months? How do they like to be motivated? What opportunities do they have for improvement?

  • Defining how they will work together

What tools will they use? How will they set expectations and establish trust? How will they address some of the low-value activities that erode productive working time, such as excessive emails and back-to-back meetings

  • Creating an environment of safety

What does it mean to belong to the team? How will they ensure there is continual learning? What words, phrases and actions will they avoid so that people feel included regardless of where they are working?

Strong culture as a talent magnet

These are the pillars of a strong culture, and once established, they give employees the conditions that allow them to be happy, productive and fulfilled. These are the stories they will tell others, and the company can use social and conventional media to publicise them in order to establish a pipeline of (future) employees.

Organisations would do well to take this approach and, rather than focusing on who will leave, create a culture that encourages people to think about who might join!