The Great Resignation Becomes The Great Regret

It is no secret that employees have been quitting in droves, leaving the safety of positions where they have built up political capital for new positions that promise greener pastures and can come with 25%, 50%, and higher increases. Employees say they are leaving to work for employers who are more people-centric, where they feel like their work has a purpose and can add meaning to their lives. According to Pew Research Pew Research Center | Pew Research Center in a new study, “low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement, and feeling disrespected at work”, are the top reasons why Americans quit their jobs last year. But are all these workers leaving their jobs for new jobs finding that the new jobs are that much better than their old jobs? That their new employers are that much better than their existing employers? In many cases, the resounding answer is “No”.

That theory has been echoed by another study released this week by the job search site the Muse. Muse Jobs (Hiring) – ItsMyCareer Its study of more than 2,500 workers found that almost three-quarters of them (72%) experienced either “surprise or regret” that the new position or new company they quit their job for turned out to be “very different” from what they were led to believe. Nearly half (48%) of these workers said they would try to get their old job back thanks to a phenomenon that the Muse is calling “shift shock”.

“They’ll join a new company thinking it’s their dream job and then there’s a reality check,” the company’s CEO, Kathryn Minshew told FOX Business. “It’s this really damaging phenomenon where people are brand new in their role, and they suddenly realize it’s not at all as advertised.” They have given up the solid relationships and reputations built over the years at their previous positions, to chase the next best thing.

Much of this confusion is being driven by Gen Z, Generation Z – Wikipedia those generally born after 1995 who make up more than a quarter of the workforce. According to a recent study by career counseling provider Zety, Zety – Professional Resume & Cover Letter Tools For Any Job those workers report that the factors that are most appealing in a new job include, of course, a good benefits package (67%). But just as important to them is a company with “values that match their own” (62%), that has a purpose for being that “goes beyond merely making a profit” (61%), offers “plentiful career development and progression opportunities” (59%) and has a “strong brand reputation” (49%).

Ask any baby boomer who’s been in the workforce for a number of years and they’ll tell you that the grass is often the same color at the new job. But few, if any Gen Zer’s are seeking the advice of boomers.

The good news is that companies have a choice and research firm Gartner Gartner | Delivering Actionable, Objective Insight to Executives and Their Teams urges employers to adopt a more “human-centric” work model that includes better working hours, more productive meetings, and greater flexibility to reduce this turnover. Having clear growth opportunities and career paths are a must for a generation that grew up with instant gratification. Neither the great resignation nor the great regret is in employees’ or employers’ best interests. A strong people-centric philosophy will likely cure both.

The Future of Hybrid Work

I was on a Mediterranean cruise recently where the average age looked to be 75+, the majority of the people were retired and I engaged a few in conversation about the status of work.  The vast majority said that work will be back to the pre-Covid normal within 5 years, meaning that employees will be required to return to the office 5 days/week.  The prediction stunned me as most of the colleagues I speak with, albeit, they are much younger than the cruise crowd, believe that hybrid work is here to stay, myself included.  We believe this is a fundamental shift in the employer/employee relationship that will drive increased flexibility in how and where we work for years to come.

It would seem that we are in good company given that a recent Robert Half survey https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/05/hybrid-working-your-office-future
indicated that  one-third of professionals (34%) currently working from home due to COVID-19 would quit if required to be in the office full-time. Nearly half of respondents (49%) said they prefer a hybrid work arrangement, where they can divide their time between the office and another location. Hybrid Work Is Here To Stay. Now What? (Back to Work, Better) (hbr.org)

According to the 2021 Work Trend Index, The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready? (microsoft.com)over 40 percent of the global workforce considered leaving their employer last year, meaning a thoughtful approach to hybrid work will be critical for attracting and retaining diverse talent. Over 70 percent of workers want flexible remote work options to continue. Employee expectations are changing, and we will need to define productivity much more broadly — inclusive of collaboration, learning, and wellbeing to drive career advancement for every worker, including frontline and knowledge workers, as well as for new graduates and those who are in the workforce today. All this needs to be done with flexibility in when, where, and how people work.”

I could not find supporting data anywhere suggesting that my new cruise friends were correct in their contention that employees would be “required” to return to work in an office 5 days a week.  That got me to thinking about the rate of change and how much some of them have experienced in the last 75-85 years. According to Futurism A Look at How Much Humanity Has Advanced Over the Last 100 Years (futurism.com)

World Literacy Rates

  • 1917: The world literacy rate was only 23%.
  • Today: Depending on estimates, the world literacy rate today is 86.1%.

Travel Time

  • 1917: It took 5 days to get from London to New York; 3.5 months to travel from London to Australia.
  • Today: A nonstop flight gets you from London to New York in a little over 8 hours, and you can fly from London to Australia in about a day, with just one stop.

 

Coca-Cola

  • 1917: On July 1, 1916, Coca-Cola introduced its current formula to the market.
  • Today: Today, Coca-Cola has a market cap of about $178 billion with 2015 net operating revenues over $44 billion. Each day, over 1.9 billion servings of Coca-Cola drinks are enjoyed in more than 200 countries.

Billionaires

  • 1917: John D. Rockefeller became the world’s first billionaire on September 29.
  • Today: There are approximately 1,810 billionaires, and their aggregate net worth is $6.5 trillion. For context, Rockefeller’s net worth in today’s dollars would have been about $340 billion. Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, is worth $84 billion today.

Traffic (Horses to Cars)

  • 1917: In 1912, traffic counts in New York showed more cars than horses for the first time.
  • Today: There were approximately 253 million cars and trucks on U.S. roads in 2015.

Innovation

  • 1917: The major tech invention in 1917? The toggle light switch.
  • Today: The major tech invention of today? CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology, which enables us to reprogram life as we know it. And we are making strides in AI, robotics, sensors, networks, synthetic biology, materials science, space exploration and more every day.

Speed Limits

  • 1917: The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
  • Today: The maximum speed limit in (or around) most cities is about 70 mph.

So, perhaps rather than a prediction they were making a plea, for the rate of change to slow down, for things to revert back to “the way they used to be”, however unlikely that may be.

Augmented Reality for Management Development Training

In this day of consumerization of personalization, employees are not looking for a one size fits all approach any longer, but for learning and development opportunities that are specific to their needs.  Augmented reality is a unique way to supplement your existing e-learning content and to engage your employees in the Learning and Development journey.  Using Augmented Reality For Hands-On Training (forbes.com)

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated information. AR can be defined as a system that incorporates three basic features: a combination of real and virtual worlds, real-time interaction, and accurate 3D registration of virtual and real objects.

For organizations looking to implement the next level of training, Augmented Reality or AR-based training is quickly cementing itself as the technology of choice. How Augmented Reality Is Changing the Training Industry (trainingmag.com) Augmented Reality training in a corporate setting is the ideology of bringing training to life by animating daily objects and scenarios that an employee interacts and engages with. 

Experts agree that for a behavior change to take place, learners must remain engaged throughout training. This is an ongoing challenge in L&D. Whether it be in a classroom or an eLearning course, with all of today’s distractions it is often difficult to grab and hold the attention of learners. E-mails are pinging, phones are ringing, text messages are coming in, all of which seem to demand immediate attention.

Another challenge can be providing learners with experiential learning opportunities, where they are actually able to interact or practice with whatever they are learning. When learning is engaging and experiential like this, the knowledge retention of learners increases dramatically. In addition, when learners are placed in an environment where they are “pulling” content through their own discovery versus being “pushed” content, that feeling of control can also result in much higher knowledge retention. Higher retention is critical to achieving behavior changes.

Printed learning materials can be brought to life by taking something static and creating animation and interactivity that engages the learner and demonstrates perspectives that simply can’t be shown with something static. Group activities can be transformed into interactive experiences that get the learners up and moving and working together as they scan various items to solve clues and obtain new knowledge along the way.

For example, a training app for a forklift may ask the user to sit down and aim their device camera downwards, and their screen will light up with virtual pedals next to their feet and driving controls above their knees.  This allows the user to practice in a safe environment, without any of the real-world risks.  Augmented Reality Training: Benefits, Types, Use Cases | Program-Ace Multiple people could be trained simultaneously without having to give up forklifts for production.

Augmented reality is a promising technology with a strong future in eLearning and especially for corporate training.

Perks in a Work from Home World

While working from home, in and of itself, used to be considered a perk, it is quickly becoming the norm, whether 100% remote or the more popular hybrid model where employees work two or three days from home and the remainder in the office.  However, this change has made other “in-office” perks more elusive.  5 HR trends you should be paying attention to in 2022: HowNow (gethownow.com)Benefits like free lunches, after-work happy hours, and casual Fridays are difficult to consider when working in an all or partial work from home environment.  So, what perks do employees want most in this new world?  

Global benefits and rewards platforms are popping up all over that allow companies to care for, connect with and celebrate their employees no matter where they are or what they want.  These platforms focus not only on physical wellbeing but also on social/emotional and financial wellbeing.  As the lines between work and home continue to blur, employees have growing expectations that employers will view them as holistic human beings where work is a part of their identity, but certainly not their whole identity.  A study by Perkbox Global Employee Benefits and Rewards Platform | Perkbox suggests that over half of the employees surveyed said Employee discounts are the most coveted.  This was followed by a three-way tie for greater recognition for your work, unlimited amount of vacation time, and at-home entertainment.  There is also growing demand for mental health or wellness days and extended free mental health counseling services. 

Employee Discounts

There is a myriad of market leaders who provide Employee discounts.  Some of the larger include names like Corporate Offers, www.corporateoffers.com Next Jump www.nextjump.com, and Anyperk www.anyperk.com.  Most of these services have both a free, limited option service and a paid service.  Normally these will differ in the way an employer can customize the specific offerings to their employee base.  If you choose to go this route, do your due diligence.  A common complaint is that these services may not offer better discounts than employees can get on their own

Recognition

Study after study has proven that there is a very weak correlation between remuneration and an employee’s job satisfaction.    A study from the Saratoga Institute looked at more than 19,000 exit interviews. When they asked the managers or supervisors why their employees had quit, nearly 90% of the supervisors cited reasons related to remuneration. In nine out of ten instances, they believed their employees quit to pursue a job with a larger salary. On the other hand, 88% of employees said clearly that their reasons for leaving had nothing to do with their salary. The data on this issue is pretty cut and dried. In most instances, people choose to leave their current position because of poor leadership from the person they report directly to.  What employees really want, once they feel they are compensated fairly, is to be appreciated personally and professionally by the company and their manager.  They want to be connected to a larger purpose, but they also want their work and contributions to be acknowledged and appreciated, no matter how small.  

Certainly, ensure each of your team members is fairly compensated for the work they are doing, but remember to take the time to truly appreciate what they are contributing and help them to see how it is connected to the larger company goals and purpose.  Take time to call out the traits that are unique and let them know you appreciate them!

Internal Mobility

Internal mobility The Complete Guide to Internal Mobility — Paddle (paddlehr.com)refers to the movement of existing employees across different departments or roles within the organization.  These may be “permanent” roles such as an employee who moves laterally from an Accounting position into a Finance position or an employee who is promoted from Accounting Supervisor to Accounting Manager.  

An internal mobility program can ensure employee retention, leadership development and produces well-rounded employees who truly understand the various aspects of the business. It also reduces cost, time, and effort in hiring outside talent.

The successful cross-functional movement of employees starts with a well-thought-out program and a receptive work culture. In order to grow, leadership and HR must develop a culture where employees have an opportunity to learn new skills.

https://harver.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Attractive-Employers-According-to-Millenials.png

In PwC’s most recent Millennials at Work survey, they found that the #1 most attractive employer attribute was the possibility of career progression.

Talent Profiles

Internal mobility is only truly possible if you know what each employee is capable of and the skills that they already possess. Auditing each team member, preferably during the hiring stage, and then again annually, will enable you to track the skills each employee has, what skills are needed and what gaps remain.  Managers should use Talent Profiles to assess career opportunities for each person on their team.

Career Paths

Develop learner pathways that employees can reference and develop self-directed training programs that will assist employees in transitioning into new roles or to learning new skills

Succession Planning

Succession plans are necessary so you have a clear idea of what will happen if an employee leaves their position. Who in the organization could be tapped for a promotion?

As Harvard Business Review Succession Planning: What the Research Says (hbr.org) bleakly highlights, all CEOs will inevitably leave office, yet research shows most organizations are ill-prepared to replace them. However, a CIPHR study found that although 92% of companies admitted it was a risk to not have a succession plan in place, only 25% felt they had the right candidates to fill vacant positions. To fill the void, you can look within your current talent pool, or hire externally.

According to PaddleHR, The Complete Guide to Internal Mobility — Paddle (paddlehr.com) 66% of job seekers look at the current company before looking elsewhere for a job.  Now is the time to stem the tide of the Great Resignation The Great Resignation: Why people are quitting their jobs (cnbc.com)and ensure you are offering your employees a reason to stay!

Unlock Your Potential

We have all heard the staggering statistics around the rise in mental health issues over the last 18 months as the world and the people who populate it struggle through COVID. The coronavirus (COVID‐19) pandemic’s impact on mental health (nih.gov). The pandemic is not just a medical phenomenon; it affects individuals and society and causes disruption, anxiety, depression, stress, stigma, and xenophobia. Quarantine and self‐isolation can most likely cause a negative impact on one’s mental health. A review published in The Lancet said that separation from loved ones, loss of freedom, boredom, and uncertainty can cause a deterioration in an individual’s mental health status. Patients with mental health disorders in the COVID-19 epidemic (nih.gov).  Whether your workplace is your kitchen table or your high-rise office, the fact of the matter is that most of us spend the majority of our waking hours “at work”.  Employers, therefore, have an obligation and a societal duty to offer solutions to this ever-growing mental health crisis.

Never has the focus on employee well-being been so critically important and been quite as honestly the difference between life and death. The Impact Of Covid-19 On Suicide Rates (psycom.net). A new report by The Well Being Trust released last month found that 75,000 additional people could die from what they called “deaths of despair,” (which include suicide and substance abuse) because of Covid-19. Suicide is likely to become a more pressing concern as the pandemic spreads and has longer-term effects on the general population, the economy, and vulnerable groups,”  according to David Gunnell, professor of epidemiology at the University of Bristol.

Employers have a responsibility to create robust employee well-being programs and to ensure that they offer something for everyone.

Physical well-being

Employees are being told to isolate and many gyms have been shut down for months, leading to a lack of physical exercise and all the added health benefits it brings. The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise – HelpGuide.org  That shouldn’t stop you from offering exercise opportunities through programs like Vitality Online Fitness Training | My Vitality Coach.  You can run group engagement activities with prizes galore!

Emotional Wellness

Outside of the standard EAP’s which have experienced a jump in employees utilizing their resources, there are also programs like TalkSpace Talkspace – #1 Rated Online Therapy, 1 Million+ Users that offer one-on-one counseling, couples therapy, and Psychiatry, all 100% virtually with licensed practitioners.

Financial Wellness

Large numbers of employees in the hospitality business sector were impacted by COIVD when restaurants, hotels, and the travel industry literally ground to a halt.  While stimulus checks and increases in unemployment staved off starvation, the stress associated with not being able to pay your rent or mortgage and not knowing when you will be employed again is huge.  Offer employees the opportunity to engage with a financial coach to understand how to best manage through this difficult time.

Social well-being

We are social creatures by nature and the stress caused by not being able to hug, interact, and see our loved ones and co-workers is tremendous. Consider forming online interest groups that are designed to foster not only an inclusive workplace but to organize learning opportunities and discussions to encourage and elevate open and honest conversations around the topics that matter most.  Sometimes just knowing you are not alone, is all that is needed to help you realize that this will eventually pass.

Employers have a unique opportunity to engage with their workforces during this pandemic, to do the right thing, and to come out as a stronger team on the other side!

Is Patience a Virtue?

We live in a world where the pace is constantly increasing.  An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense ‘intuitive linear’ view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century—it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate), according to Wikipedia. Accelerating change – Wikipedia

90% of the world’s data was generated in the last 2 years How Fast Is Technology Growing Statistics [Updated 2021] (leftronic.com).  The adoption of mobile devices has led to the mass adoption of mobile banking technologies.  5G network technology is expected to be 100 times faster than the 4G standard, delivering 10 gigabits per second. The technological progress of mobile broadband networks will enhance IoT, bringing faster wireless internet to cars, refrigerators, and other innovations.

Workers in technology companies and other high-growth industries, routinely work 60+ hour weeks just trying to keep up.   In the last 40 years, Americans, just on average, have been working longer hours for more weeks a year. The average worker in 1980 put in 38.1 hours for 43 weeks a year. Today, the average employee works 46.8 weeks a year for a total of 38.7 hours a week.  Small increase but hey add up!

So, does patience Four Reasons to Cultivate Patience (berkeley.edu)have a place any longer in our amped-up society?  It does when it comes to human interaction.  You can be impatient with the process, focus on meeting deadlines and project plans and strive to deliver ahead of schedule.  However, there is an inverse relationship between being able to achieve the above and the amount of patience you show to the individuals on your team.  Give your employees time to finish their thoughts before jumping in.  Make sure you listen more than you speak.  It can be tempting to jump in right away with your own ideas but resist that urge and just listen and ask probing, not leading, questions. For many people, silence is uncomfortable. A break in a conversation for too long can feel awkward. Rather than succumbing to it. Use it to your advantage. Next time you feel like jumping right in to say something, pause and count to 10 in your head. You’re likely to find the other person in the conversation will step in to fill the silence. If you’re a manager, this is a powerful tool. It gives your people an opportunity to fully share what’s on their minds. How Managers can be more Effective Listeners to Better Lead their Teams (getlighthouse.com)

Different people process information at different speeds.  Giving your team members the freedom and opportunity to process all of the information and then revert back with questions will likely yield superior results in the end.  They will usually be more receptive to whatever change you are bringing forth as they will have had the time to adjust.  Not everyone can move at the same pace and human nature is to resist something until you have had time to think it through.

Start with the strongly held belief that everyone comes to work wanting to do their best.  Giving your employees the space they need and being patient with those who move at a different pace is the key to successful leadership!

Our Attitude is our Altitude

I have to admit that this Is not my witty saying.  It is a reference from a beautifully written piece by Korn Ferry Korn Ferry | Organizational Consulting CEO, and published author, Gary Burnison. Gary Burnison (kornferry.com) He explained it this way:

When one person says thank you, it can set off a positive chain reaction. The reason lies in emotional intelligence (EI). Daniel Goleman, who has done extensive research and writing on EI and who works closely with our firm, has explained that when we develop and express our EI, we transmit more positive feelings such as gratitude than negative ones. It’s like a spark that ignites as others respond. Moods shift and positivity elevates everyone. Then our attitudes truly become our altitude.

As I read it, it reminded me of one of our own Guiding Principles at Tricon Residential. Tricon Residential – Rental Living Reimagined To elevate each other so together we leave an enduring legacy.  Similar to the ripples in the pond, each of our actions every day has a consequence.  Some purposefully intended and some not. But each of has choice to positively impact those around us or to think only of ourselves.  We have such a broader impact when we choose the former. By choosing to spread positivity, there is a ripple effect that spreads out likes rays from the sun, finally reaching earth some 90+ million miles away.  Gestures do not have to be large to make an impact.  Simply remembering to be grateful and to share thankfulness and appreciation is enough.

Appreciation is a cornerstone of the culture at Southwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines | Book Flights, Make Reservations & Plan a Trip named by Forbes as America’s #13 Best Employer of 2018. One way the company appreciates employees is by paying attention to special events in their personal lives—from kids’ graduations to marriages to family illnesses—and recognizing those with small gestures like flowers and cards. “We’re all encountering different obstacles in our life, we’re all celebrating different things in our life,” says Cheryl Hughey, managing director of culture at Southwest.

Studies show that grateful employees How to Exude Gratitude at the Office and Bring Value (dawnstebbing.com)are more concerned about social responsibility, for example. Grateful employees—as well as employees who receive more gratitude—also perform more “organizational citizenship” behaviors: kind acts that aren’t part of their job description, like welcoming new employees and filling in for coworkers.

In fact, gratitude and kindness seem to form a positive loop in the workplace. Just as gratitude leads to altruistic behavior, research suggests that the opportunity to help others and serve a cause is one of the major sources of gratitude at the office.

So, remember to say thank you often, go out of your way to show appreciation, and check in on each other regularly!

HR Systems

Sherrie Suski, HR Systems

The choices in HR systems today are mind boggling.  Everyone wants to get on the band wagon and sell you something that will supposedly make your life easier, is user friendly, (read good UX), allows you to crunch large volumes of data in minutes.  HR systems can be as basic as an HRIS or as complicated as a performance management system with 360 review capability and goal planning and accomplishments.

Let’s talk first about functionality and next week about what you want to look for.

HRIS

An HRIS is a Human Resources Information System.  

This is your basic system that tracks all the pertinent information about your employees.  

HRIS solutions typically track:

  • Training of employees
  • Open enrollment and management of benefits
  • Compensation management
  • Human resources reporting
  • Self-service for applicants, employees, and managers
  • Personal information, Pay information, title, job grade etc..

Performance Management Systems

You may also have a separate Performance System.  A Performance Management System normally includes performance appraisal data and productivity information data. Documentation of employee performance and of how the performance was measured and reported is critical to your employees understanding this type of system.  Many of these systems come with the capability to offer:

  • Performance appraisals
  • 360 reviews where an employee is reviewed by the manager, their peers and their subordinates
  • goal planning, setting and accomplishments
  • Succession and development plans

Applicant Tracking Systems

Applicant Tracking Systems are systems that allow you to create a user/applicant experience.

The application process becomes paperless with an applicant tracking system, so it is simple to store, recall, or purge applications from the system with just a few clicks. This helps to ensure that no critical information is lost and all necessary information is readily available for open positions now or in the future.

Compensation systems

Ideally your compensation system should track all aspects of your employee’s compensation including:

  • Base salary
  • Bonuses
  • Incentive comp
  • Long term incentive comp
  • Equity/stock/RSU’s etc..

It is helpful if your Performance Appraisal system feeds directly into your compensation system, meaning less manual input or expensive integration for you.

Be very careful in selecting your systems.  Spend at least 3x the time you allotted to understanding and testing the system before you commit.  On a personal note, we have had a very bad experience with Cornestone.  While their systems have a lot of capability, you would literally need to be a system admin in order to build out the back end which they require you to do.  They are the farthest thing from user friendly with very poor UX design.

TAH Human Resources 101: Establishing Your Core Competencies

sherrie suski business meeting

In our last article we discussed determining what the real purpose of your organization is, often referred to as your Mission Statement.  We emphasized how important it is for you and your employees to understand why your organization exists, what it does, who it does it for and how it does it.  This is the first stepping stone to building employee engagement and a productive workforce!

Once you have clearly defined and communicated your mission, your next stepping stone is figuring out a way to drive employee behavior in support of your mission.  One of the ways you can successfully do this is to create core competencies as a part of your overall Performance Management system.  Core competencies are particular behaviors that you want to encourage and measure in each individual in your organization.  You will want to think about 4-5 core competencies that are shared by all your employees.  These should be directly driven from your mission statement and the work you will do to support your mission statement.  

It is important to have shared core competencies to ensure that each of the employees are moving in the same direction and the same behavioral attributes are being rewarded across the organization.  Examples of these core competencies might be “Results Management” or “Critical Thinking”.  Competencies that are important for everyone in your organization to excel in.   You might also think about whether core competencies by function are important.  An example of a core competency by function might include “Attention to Detail” for your Accounting team, while an example of a core competency for your marketing team might be “Creativity and Innovation”.  If you are going to create these by function, try to limit it to another 4-5 so that you end up with no more than 10 total.

Another decision point is whether you want to level these core competencies to account for the differences in expectations between, for instance, an AP Clerk and a Dir., of Accounting.  In general, I feel it is important to use leveling as our expectations of one position are different than of the other.

There are many excellent Performance Management systems that exist on the market today.  Many will give you a list of core competencies to choose from, as well as letting you create more custom varieties for your own individual organizational needs.

Think about engaging your workforce to help choose the core competencies, especially those by function.  This will encourage both buy-in to your Performance Management process, as well as drive employee engagement.

Next time we’ll talk about developing goals which you will incorporate into your Performance Management system.