Yes, you read it correctly. Your employees are in control now! What are you going to do about it? Many employees have recently gone back into the office and others are just now returning and they don’t like it. Imagine that! This will likely continue another wave of resignations as employees seek a more flexible work schedule. To add to the challenge of employee retention, the number of positions that are hybrid or fully remote number in the tens of thousands.

The question now is what are you doing to retain your employees, especially your top employees? The number of employers who are operating with a business-as-usual mindset far outnumber those who are playing offense here vs. defense. Instead of waiting for the next person to leave, do something about it!

Of course, the next question that comes up is what can I do about it? Well, there are a lot of things that can be done. You need to come up with a recruitment strategy for your current employees, yes, this is not a typo here. You need to look for ways to retain and engage you existing workforce.

Here is a list of things you need to do for your existing workforce to reduce the chance of them leaving your company:

First: All Managers need to be talking to their employees casually on a daily and weekly basis and formally on a monthly basis. You need to understand where they are – not physically, but emotionally. A formal conversation with an employee is NOT a five page performance review! It is simple and it follows this script, 1) how are you doing, 2) how is your job going?, and 3) what can I do to help you do your job better or be more successful. Wow, that was difficult – wasn’t it? Many employees may have been hired right before or during Covid. They need to be onboarded into the workforce like a new employee as they most likely missed out on this very important process.

Second: Remind your employees about your company’s mission/purpose and core values often. If you don’t have these, create them. The number of companies we start working with that don’t have these, or don’t talk about them often is significant. When we start an engagement with a client, we start here to help them work through the process to create a compelling mission or purpose and small set of core values. Building on your mission/purpose statement and core values and discussing them regularly in meetings and conversations is what helps employees know and stay focused on why they came to work for you in the first place. I still remember the core values of my first employer who I started working for 32 years ago! Why do I remember them? Because the CEO of this global leader in the telecommunications industry would always start any presentation or employee communications with the core values and end them the same way. This simple repetition and consistency helps create stability among your employees. Don’t overcomplicate things in your business – sometimes the basics are best!

Third: Make sure you are paying your employees competitively – especially your top employees. The top 10-15% of your employee population drives your company’s success. The is a known fact and has been for years. If you don’t know who your top employees are – figure that out now. The best run companies know who they are and do what it takes to retain them. Remember, 60%+ of your employees are not your top employees, your top performers are a small percentage of your employee population.

Fourth: Focus on work life alignment. I heard this term at a conference I attended recently, and it makes so much sense. The term work life balance is becoming antiquated. What is work life alignment you say? Every employee has a different definition of what this is. Remember the first step we discussed, talk to your employees? Ask your employees what they define as work life alignment? There isn’t one right answer. The mother of 3 kids aged 5 and under will have a very different definition of alignment from a 23-year-old who graduated from college a year ago and wants to move up quickly which will also differ from the 62-year-old who wants to retire in 2 years. The way work gets done is very different now than it was even 2-5 years ago. Those employers who adjust in their thinking and best take care of their employee’s needs will thrive, those who don’t may survive, but not be near as successful as they could be.

Focus on engaging and retaining your employees, not waiting for the next person to resign. It’s time to let go of old thinking and move forward.