Your best employee knocks on your door and hands you his letter of resignation. What’s your first move? Conventional wisdom says that bigger paychecks and better benefits are the path to an employee’s heart. But six months later, you might hear another knock – and they’ll come in waving a similar letter.
In 2021 and 2022, workers quit their jobs in droves, sometimes without even having another job in sight. The figure is particularly pernicious among mid-career workers, those aged 30 to 45, where the average quit rate was 20% higher in 2021 than it was in 2020.
But the problem is not limited to this age group or pandemic dissatisfaction. Surveying more than 5,600 respondents from various industries between January 2019 and December 2021, we found that worker dissatisfaction starts as early as age 25 – and it’s been there since before our worlds flipped.
If managers want to prevent employees from leaving, throwing money at the problem is at best a band-aid solution. Our data revealed that only 38.2% of workers aged 25-45 consider compensation the most important factor in their job satisfaction, even though we found it to be the most important managerial response. common to the announcement of the departure of an employee.
More than anything, these employees told us that they seek work that inspires them and creates harmony between who they are and what they do. This makes them more engaged, more productive and more loyal. They want to feel like they are working towards something bigger than themselves – and understand how their daily work achieves this – with autonomy to shape their role in it all.
Leaders who want to rehire these workers might consider giving them more of what they want and need — alignment, inspiration, agency, and insight — not just more money. Here are four ways to do it.
Aim for work-life alignment, not work-life balance.
Employees between the ages of 25 and 45 are on the fastest trajectory of their careers, while experiencing a rapid expansion of personal responsibilities. Achieving fleeting work-life balance is difficult when you’re getting married, having kids, caring for aging parents, attending networking events and professional development conferences. and whether you serve on community, non-profit or school committees.
Rather than seeking work-life balance, these workers seek work-life alignment. It’s not just about the time they spend at work, but also how that job increases or decreases the time they spend away from it.
For example, we found that 65% of our respondents wanted more control over the teams they were assigned to, the projects they worked on, and their ability to influence their hours or income through their hustle. While one would expect workers to gain more control as they move up the ladder, in fact, the reverse was true for women in particular, causing them to leave the workforce in addition. greater number than their male counterparts.
Ask your employees how the work they do every day helps them achieve the career advancement they seek, feed the families they grow, or demonstrate their values every day so you can work together to solve their problems where they don’t. t.
Discover what motivates them and redefine their work together.
In our survey, the biggest deficit we found was in employee relationships with their leaders. Almost all workers said they wanted to work for a leader who inspired them, but only 36% say they actually do. Investing in your relationship with your employees is one way to bridge that gap and unleash their motivation.
To understand what motivates your employees, ask them what brought them to this job, this cause, this team, this organization or this salary – and if it still energizes them. Be open to their answers. What you hear may surprise, excite or confuse you, but it will help you better understand your team. As you learn more, you can assign them to projects that matter to them and redefine their daily, weekly, and quarterly goals accordingly. You will also deepen your understanding of what inspires them so that you can in turn better draw a direct line (for them) to the work of the company and their personal needs in the future.
Involve them in the recruitment process.
For many employees, recruiting is like something that happens for them and their team, no with leaving them to feel less involved, less influential and less important. Recruitment can not only present an opportunity to bring in new talent and prospects, but it can also provide a space to engage your current key personnel to rekindle enthusiasm.
For example, rather than simply posting the old job description for a now vacant position, managers should take a moment to discuss with their employees whether or not that job description is relevant. Ask for their help to improve it.
This process has both external and internal benefits. Job descriptions are not only read by candidates, but often secretly scanned by current employees. A good job description links job responsibilities to your organization’s purpose. Reading it should help your current staff rekindle the joy and enthusiasm that brought them to your organization in the first place, reminding them how their day-to-day work fits into the bigger picture.
Connect their work to the bigger picture.
In our survey, only about half of workers aged 25 to 45 felt they could link their day-to-day tasks to broader strategic imperatives. Almost all of the 5,600 respondents (92.4%) said they worked better when they saw how important the quality of their work was to the whole.
Consider your role in this process. Rather than just conveying broader organizational imperatives, how can you connect the dots to team members who are asking, “How does this affect me?” » Help them see the direct lines between their daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly work and the overall long-term goals of the business.
. . .
Rather than sit idly by while your best employees consider quitting, offer them an alternative – and personally compelling – path. By giving people more agency, re-engaging them, and re-inspiring them, you can create work environments that help them feel like the best versions of themselves. When this happens, they reinvest in their organizations and amplify their own team building behaviors.
Instead of knocking on your door to give notice, they will be there with renewed dedication, increased investment and increased energy.