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Viewpoint: How to Combat the Resignation Tsunami

Viewpoint: How to Combat the Resignation Tsunami

​For many, the return-to-work movement feels like a disconnect. It suggests that we’ve all slacked off the past 18 months and now it’s time to get back to work. In reality, the workforce has added 48 minutes to the workday and increased the number of meetings by 24 percent during the pandemic, according to researchers at the Harvard Business School. In addition, 70 percent of employees claim to now work on weekends.As employers push to get everyone back together in a physical office, employees are becoming increasingly anxious. Most wonder, what does a “new normal” actually look like? For companies attempting to put the toothpaste back in the tube, they’re in for a rude awakening as employees are making their feelings known by jumping ship to companies that embrace workplace flexibility. Unfortunately, the gap between what employers want and what their employees seek has widened significantly since COVID-19 first emerged. A Microsoft survey of 30,000 global employees found that 41 percent are planning to quit or change jobs in the next six months. The data found rampant levels of burnout, with 54 percent of workers claiming they feel “overworked” and 39 percent saying they are “exhausted.” Despite these findings, the same survey found that 61 percent of leaders claim their people are “thriving.”Not surprisingly, employee retention has fallen significantly as the “resignation tsunami” flows through employers large and small. Nearly 30 percent of U.S. workers are actively job hunting, according to SHRM research, which also found that four out of five business leaders report it is taking two to three times longer to fill a position than in past years. So how can leaders ensure attrition doesn’t become the most serious consequence to their business after nearly two years of leading through the pandemic? Exercise Empathetic Curiosity In The Surprising Power of Simply Asking Coworkers How They’re Doing, author Karyn Twaronite, global diversity and inclusiveness officer at EY, the multinational professional services and accounting network headquartered in London, suggested that “when people feel like they belong at work, they are more productive, motivated, engaged and 3.5 times more likely to contribute to their fullest potential.”In her research, Twaronite found that 39 percent of respondents feel the greatest sense of belonging when their colleagues check in with them, both personally and professionally. On the flipside, she found out which tactics didn’t yield the same results. For example, face time with senior leadership that wasn’t personal, being invited to big or external events or presentations by senior leaders, and being copied on e-mails from company leaders didn’t make anyone feel any more connected.To practice active listening—a tenet of empathetic leadership—senior managers need to dig deeper. A survey of 2,000 people in the U.K. found that the average person says, “I’m fine” an average of 14 times per week, but only meant it 19 percent of the time. And right now, people aren’t fine. Recent research examined well-being and burnout during the pandemic across 46 different countries. The survey showed 85 percent of …

Passed Over for Promotion—Now What?

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Passed Over for Promotion—Now What?

​Promotions can be tricky to manage. They are exhilarating for the person who moves up, but potentially devastating for the person who is passed over. How can you best handle the fallout? What should you avoid doing?Imagine these scenarios:Scenario #1. Jane and Jim apply for a promotion in their department. Jane gets it. Scenario #2. Jane and Jim apply for a promotion in their department. The position is given to an external candidate. Scenario #3 (contributed by Pamela McGee, SHRM-CP, VP of Human Resources, The Father’s Table). Jane and Jim apply for a promotion in their department. The position is given to a new hire who started at the company within last six months.While these are all common occurrences, they are also breeding grounds for resentment, disengagement and turnover. In my career, I have witnessed these scenarios many times. Typically, little more is said to the person passed over for the promotion other than “You didn’t get it.” The event only gets attention when the person subsequently performs poorly and faces disciplinary action, or during that person’s exit interview.Missing out on a promotion doesn’t have to mean the employee will strike out or quit. Employers can and should manage this situation in a more effective way. Elsewhere I’ve written about the law of employee speculation: When employees don’t know the facts, they will speculate about what the truth may be. And that speculation is invariably worse than reality.Tell Employees Why They Were Passed OverEmployees passed over for promotion need to know: a) why, b) that they’re still valued, and c) what they can do to improve their chances for future promotion.”Whenever possible,” said Colleen J. McManus, SHRM-SCP, senior HR executive with the state of Arizona, “I encourage hiring authorities to be specific about the qualifications, experience, and/or certification(s) of the selected candidate when promotions or new hires are announced. Often, this information helps less-qualified internal applicants understand why the selection decision was made.” McGee of the Father’s Table, a dessert manufacturer in Sanford, Fla., said leaders should ensure their direct reports have been following an individual development plan or having ongoing performance management discussions “with appropriate guidance of their strengths and weaknesses. These types of interactions will provide them with an understanding why they were not prepared for this promotion; thus, they should not be surprised about the new hire with less than six months [experience] being promoted ahead of them.”When applicants are fairly evenly matched in terms of qualifications but one outperforms the other in the interview, the hiring decision-maker could address the selected candidate’s strength in the interview process. McManus provided an example: “The announcement of Jane’s hire could include something like ‘Jane brought work samples to the interview that clearly demonstrated the scope of the larger-scale projects on which she has worked.’ If Jim and other internal applicants didn’t think to bring work samples or discuss larger-scale projects during their interviews, they might better understand how Jane emerged the stronger candidate.”To manage expectations and avoid disengagement around …

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