How to Keep Your Closest Colleagues and Best Staff From Quitting

image of 2 women working together smiling with one having her elbow on the shoulder of the other womanLosing your closest colleagues? Trying to fill an unrelenting number of unfilled shifts and vacancies? Seeing people leave or not return to your industry?

Worried about the future of your team, organization and even industry in our massive talent shortage?

You may have been following the news where story after story shares the data, trends, and qualitative lived experiences of people telling the story of massive transformational changes in today’s workforce. People are making professional leaps that they might never have even considered had it not been for struggles, ongoing strain, and opportunities to try new things. We are redefining the very definition of “work.” And each one of us might define it differently.

This is a confusing time.

It’s also a time with the greatest opportunities for staff, leaders and workplaces alike. Whatever you wanted to do that you didn’t have the buy-in, comfort level, or even bravery to take on, well, now is a perfect time. Chaos may not be comfortable; however, you can be anxious or excited (your brain actually doesn’t know the difference.)

Redefining Work

If you’re trying to hire people, it’s essential to know that your competition for workers in today’s talent shortage isn’t who you think it is; it’s not the people in the same industry down the street. (At least that’s not the whole story.)

Knowing what we know about our talent shortage, we can be better prepared.

Let’s dive into it some microtrends that are defining work as we speak:image of the words "side hustle" with images around of icons representing different options ie: auction, shopping, etc.

  • Many employees and leaders have side hustles that can replace a second part-time income
  • We have been all customers of the gig economy (taken an Uber lately?)
  • We are prioritizing lifestyle and quality of life
  • We’re addressing the toll on our health (mental and physical health)
  • We have work flexibility expectations
  • We have an expectation of feeling valued at work (recognition!!!!)

For many, these are taking precedence over compensation, job security, and what they thought their legacy would be. For some, it’s short-term changes; for others, there’s no going back.

For some of these no-going-back stories, check out CBC’s article about people opting out of traditional work and making massive changes to their careers.

image of a yellow street sign that says Career ChangeFor example: “Now, Couture works as a yoga instructor and Reiki practitioner. At first, yoga was an easy way to support herself after leaving her career as a PSW — she was already certified to teach — but she’s found it allows her to remain an entrepreneur with control over her schedule. She also drives for Uber as a side gig and says that makes her more money than her full-time job as a PSW did.”

What if her employer knew that she was retraining? Could there have been a way to retain her and utilize her new skills rather than lose her?

Getting Ahead of the Problem (and Playing Catch Up)

It’s time to start asking:

  • What makes you happy at work, and is the most rewarding?
  • What fires you up as a person?
  • What strengths and knowledge do you want to bring to the role/team/organization?
  • What has changed about your values during these challenging times, and how has that impacted how you view your work?
  • Five years from now, what would you say about your role, the team, our organization and even our industry to believe it’s where you want to be as a professional?
  • Are you considering leaving, and if so, what might that look like if there were a way to bring that new knowledge to our team/organization?

In other words, this concept of the Stay Interview should be replacing (or augmenting) the Exit Interview process; when they’re out the door, it’s too late.

If the old adage, “people hate change,” is true, then maybe you’re one juicy conversation closer to keeping someone from having to make the leap because they feel they have no other choice for their lifestyle, well-being, and happiness. Now that is good for everyone.

Here are even more great ideas to help keep your best & brightest:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

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