It’s hard to believe we’re wrapping up our third quarter of 2021. While 2020 dragged on for many of us, 2021 flies by – at an exponential rate. Just like many organizations predicted, digital transformation continues to accelerate – and the divide between companies who choose to embrace that acceleration and those that are dragging their feet continues to grow.
At the beginning of this year, I wrote a piece entitled “The Enlightened CEO.” In it, I discussed McKinsey’s evaluation of growth forces CEOs to evaluate their businesses in terms of 5 never-before seen KPIs. As a reminder, they are:
Return on digital investment.
Percentage of annual technology budget spent on bold digital initiatives.
Time to market for digital apps.
Percentage of leaders’ incentives linked to digital.
Total top technical talent attracted, promoted and retained.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about number 5, our talent. How do we attract the best – and keep them in the wake of what analysts and experts call “The Great Resignation?”
According to Gallup, 3.6 million Americans resigned in May 2021 alone. Businesses report a record-high number of unfilled positions. Workers from the front-line to the c-suite are actively or passively job hunting in droves – whether they are working remotely or in the office.
On one hand, this means that top talent is available for hire. And in a work-from-anywhere world, employers don’t need to worry about hiring only in their backyard. At the same time, retaining top talent remains a key priority. How do we do this? What drives workers to new opportunities – and do they find what they’re looking for when they get there?
I think overcoming the Great Resignation goes beyond simply empowering and engaging employees. Leaders must enchant their employees. We must understand that they are looking for more than a paycheck and benefit package. They spend a lot of time on their work – and they want to know it’s worth their while.
Empower First Line Managers to engage employees.
Leaders know that attracting and retaining top talent is critical to the success of any business. Attrition is costly in terms of both time and money. Engaging those employees can’t fall on the C-suite alone. There are too few people at that level to engage each individual working in the organization. But, first-line managers engage with their teams daily. Delegating activities for employee engagement to first-line managers and giving them the tools to do so, whether it’s technology or continuing education budgets, can go a long way to retaining high performers.
Empowering first-line managers in this way makes it possible to gain an even deeper sense of what employees want from their careers – and sets managers up to mentor employees toward success. Managers can more easily direct tasks based on employee interest, rather than talent alone.
Enable your organization to focus on soft skills.
The pandemic showed us just how much even the most introverted among us crave connection. Leaders must enable those within their organizations to focus on communication and connectedness by allowing them to experiment with technology in new ways. We can also turn to old-fashioned voice-to-voice communication sometimes to give folks a break from the camera and feeling like they always need to be “on.”
Activities like virtual conferences, happy hours and town halls all help to make employees feel connected to the organization. And connectedness drives employee engagement.
Curb the context switching.
By implementing enterprise service management platforms, organizations can develop workflows to eliminate the context switching that keeps workers tied to their desks throughout the day. Employees can focus on one thing at a time and may be encouraged to step away for some self-care more often. Platforms like ServiceNow can report the results of these efforts back to the c-suite so leaders can easily figure out what’s working, and where they may need to change things to keep employees engaged.
These are just a few of the things we’re trying at Crossfuze to drive employee engagement and curb attrition. I’m curious to learn what solutions you’ve found. Are you feeling the effects of the Great Resignation? Are you using your technology stack differently in order to engage employees? What’s working? What’s surprising you? As always feel free to comment below with your thoughts.
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