Counteracting the Great Resignation: 5 resources you can lean into

The global crisis of 2020-21 has not only forced businesses to radically rethink the ways in which they operate, it has also drastically changed the perspective of the workforce. Remote working policies have undermined traditional understandings of work/life balance, with the intense challenges of the period counterbalanced by new and unique opportunities.

In his interview with the Harvard Gazette, economist Lawrence Katz outlined one of the key factors that are driving the Great Resignation: 

Upper­-middle-class and well-off people are doing quite well with the stock market boom and have saved a lot. But even people in the bottom two quartiles of the income and wealth distribution are in much better financial situations than in previous economic recoveries, so we’ve seen a slow return from unemployment given the job openings. Having a stronger safety net and having built up some savings means people can put more weight on their caregiving responsibilities or can look for something better. They can invest in training or another program that they might not have been able to do in the past.

Businesses looking to minimize the impact of the Great Resignation need to rethink their approach to their workplace culture in pursuit of that ‘something better’ that many of those disillusioned with their current workplace are seeking. 

Let’s examine some of the best practices and useful resources business leaders, HR professionals and managers can take advantage of, in order to help employees optimize their personal and professional growth.

1. Review questions and resources to encourage your employees to stay

One of the key drivers of the Great Resignation is the lack of ongoing learning opportunities for employees within their company. Without a clear view of how they can progress within their role and, more broadly, as part of the team, employees are likely to feel disenchanted and will consider working elsewhere.

The obvious place to start is asking your employees about their aspirations while providing them with as many opportunities for progression as possible. This process should begin the moment a new employee steps through the door, with HR leaders and their direct reports sitting down to discuss their strengths, weaknesses and goals during onboarding. Such goals can be set down in their Personal Development Plan, so they can be tracked and updated over time and fed back into a succession planning strategy.

Regular one2one check-ins can help managers stay up to date on where employees are in their career path. Training for new skills and other resources which can help employees achieve their career ambitions can be provided as part of an ongoing process of feedback. 

Since career aspiration is a dynamic process and employee goals change over time and through experience, making this a central component of the regular feedback process is essential. Asking the right questions during performance reviews can help managers to better understand how they can support employees, who in turn can bring additional focus to these goals.

Some questions to consider asking during one2one sessions include:

  • Are there any skills that you use outside of work and wish you could also use for your role as well?
  • Which aspect of your job do you look forward to the most on a regular basis?
  • What skills have you got that you believe you could use more effectively?
  • Is there a part of your job you would do differently?
  • Where would you like to progress?

You can find these and many more questions in the StaffCircle ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Performance Reviews.

2. Defining progression paths to better facilitate succession planning

The perception of stagnating career paths is a large driver of dissatisfaction, and when employees feel like they’ve become stuck in a rut they are far more likely to consider moving on. As such, performance management processes should be used to help them spot new opportunities within the company’s structure. They can also bring a spotlight on those with leadership potential, facilitating succession planning so the right people are placed in the best roles.

StaffCircle’s Succession Planning Guide is a great resource to help managers and leaders better analyse their company’s strengths, recognise and develop talent and create new leaders. The ebook features a selection of useful resources, including:

  • Succession planning checklist
  • Guide to structuring succession planning, from identifying competencies and candidates, to measuring progress and evaluating effectiveness.
  • Score card for identifying critical roles. This useful card breaks down a given role into a range of subcategories:
    • Priority
    • Consequence
    • Specialist
    • Internal
    • External
  • Critical business role requirements form, breaking down the tasks, criteria, and skills requirements for a given leadership role.
  • Questionnaire for candidates under consideration to gain additional insights into their overall levels of competencies and how they are perceived by colleagues.
  • Candidate readiness evaluation sheet, breaking down competency, progression to succession and their level of readiness.

Additionally, you can link competencies to performance reviews to get a clear picture of an individual’s overall performance. StaffCircle’s performance management software allows you to do this with Success Circles. These visualised scorecards can be used to track and assess employees on a range of parameters, including cultural alignment, performance, development, and leadership.

3. Implementing tactics to mitigate performance management biases

A common cause of employee dissatisfaction comes when they feel as if they aren’t being treated fairly by their manager. This can happen even when managers are conducting performance assessments free from bias; the perception is real regardless of their intentions.

Introducing layers of transparency can help to reduce this perception of bias, whether real or imagined, giving employees much greater confidence in how their performance is being assessed.

An effective method to mitigate performance management biases is to introduce 360-degree feedback systems as part of the employee appraisals process. By setting up customisable 360 appraisals through performance management software, this holistic approach to gathering feedback can be conducted with minimal drain on time and resources. The obstacles employees face are often overlooked by managers tasked with coordinating large teams, and the insights gained from an employee’s colleagues can be invaluable. 

By tailoring the appraisal templates according to the relationship the recipient has with an employee, managers can ensure the correct questions are asked for maximum impact.

Some additional benefits gained from implementing 360-degree appraisals include:

  • Fostering transparency ca encourage honesty amongst employees
  • Gathering relevant data in order to better track trends, both with individual performance assessments and the overall functioning of teams, departments and the company at large
  • Linking feedback to performance, while strengthening alignment with the organisation’s core mission and values
  • Helping managers to make better decisions about with whom, where and when work gets done

4. Sharing cross-departmental objectives to better understand and assess performance

As work becomes more project-based and performance cycles continue to shrink in size, providing employees with feedback, evaluation, and rewards based on their project-to-project performance is more important than ever before.

Every employee represents a node in a network, connected to many other people, projects, information, and history, so a universal performance management system helps with maintaining the centralization of this information.

HR software like StaffCircle can help you

  • Share new and existing objectives with one or more employees, as well as across entire groups.
  • Establish shared groups, so that status updates, conversations and progress changes are fully synchronized.
  • Set up notifications so that managers are automatically made aware of any new changes.
  • Allow employees to make real-time updates for the most up to date information.
  • Provide the opportunity for employees to upload evidence supporting their performance, or ask for assistance if necessary.

Performance management software further facilitates cross-departmental objectives by connecting employees through social intranets, forums, and MS Teams channels. This comprehensive multi-channel communications platform means that employees can remain in constant touch, regardless of where they are located.

This ensures that performance reviews can be carried out with the confidence that all relevant information for the individual’s performance in relation to their teams and departments is fully understood.

5. Provide resources which encourage employees to be more proactive about their performance management

The Gartner report, 3 Ways to Improve Performance Management Conversations, outlines the significance of team-based feedback and shared responsibility when delivering performance reviews. As we outlined above, there are various performance management tools that you can use to foster team involvement and keep individuals aligned to their co-workers.

The research from Gartner highlights the deficit most organisations face when dealing with team-based feedback:

Gartner research shows that there is a 3.5% increase in the utility of performance management and a 14% increase in employee performance when employees are evaluated by peers with interconnected work and shared goals. Despite the reality, only 17% of respondents to a recent Gartner survey said employees were evaluated by their teams, while 99% said that direct managers evaluate employee performance.

Shared objectives, 360-degree appraisals, real-time view of an individual’s performance and other techniques available through performance management software can all be marshalled to promote team evaluation. This technology allows employees to become more proactive in the day-to-day management of their own performance, the focus for managers will turn from performance management conversations to supporting employee career pathing and development. 

Business leaders and HR professionals can equip managers with the resources to nurture talent, tackle challenging work situations and help employees make decisions about their next projects and skills. At the same time, employees can steer their own course, both within the company and in their overall career, with confidence that their goals are being supported in a transparent way.