As the Great Resignation continues at a record-breaking pace, I see people all around me jumping ship for better opportunities, higher pay, more benefits or improved work/life balance. I’m well aware that ample job openings are out there—perhaps offering something marginally more desirable—yet I stay. The Great Resignation may be making headlines but the story that isn’t being told as frequently is the “why” behind those of us who have remained. I suppose you could call us the “Lesser Retained.” For businesses, it’s critical to understand what motivates employees to stay just as much as a recruitment strategy and to incorporate it into internal communications. But first I’ll share the reasons why I felt compelled to remain in my role.
An Employee’s Search for Meaning
In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankel said, “The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her own life.” In his book, he documents his experience surviving a Nazi concentration camp and it was identifying a purpose in life that enabled him to persevere. This resonated with me in the sense that I personally thrive when I feel the investments I make in life, whether it be relationships, work, or hobbies, have meaning.
As vice president of client service for a marketing and PR firm, every day I see constructive ways I’m helping people and businesses. An education empowerment campaign executed for a rural school district enabled their students to succeed by increasing the graduation rate and college-going rates. During panel discussions related to the campaign, I heard directly from parents who spoke to its value in their children’s lives. I was part of marketing an event promoting Holocaust education that raised awareness for diversity, human rights and injustice. During COVID, I played a role in helping businesses and organizations in the tourism industry develop safer travel campaigns enabling them to endure a difficult period. These are a few examples, but with every client I work with, I feel I can make a difference. I may not be curing cancer, but sometimes I think of myself as a doctor in the sense that I use marketing and PR tactics to cure businesses from a myriad of “illnesses” including everything from negative public perception, to lack of awareness, to brand confusion and so much more.
The Value of Empowerment
A study of more than 7,000 employees found that when employees felt disempowered their engagement was in the 24th percentile vs. highly empowered employees being in the 79th percentile. My employer, Fletcher Marketing PR, empowers me to achieve meaning in my work by encouraging me to bring ideas to the table and flex my creative muscles. I’m able to think through issues and utilize my skills to problem solve. Our team is collaborative, and although I don’t work within a bubble, I do feel I have a level of independence in my work and the ability to make decisions. For the employees I manage, I seek to do the same since I understand how truly motivating it can be.
Appreciation Goes a Long Way
Our team recently conducted DISC assessments which are employee personality profiles. Mine emphasized that for my personality, feeling appreciated is critical to my contentment in the workplace—and I do feel very much appreciated. For example, when I was named a Knoxville 40 Under 40 young professional, our CEO and my coworkers attended the gala and even had the story from the business journal framed for me. Salary, benefits and work/life balance still must be addressed, but without appreciation, many employees, like myself, can feel unmotivated and unhappy. In fact, according to Gallup data a lack of recognition is the #1 reason why most people leave their job. In marketing, we emphasize external communications with an organization’s stakeholders, but internal communication among a team is just as important—especially when conveying appreciation.
Loyalty Is Given When Received
Many employers expect loyalty without demonstrating, communicating, or reciprocating any loyalty to their employees. New research shows that nearly half of employees feel disconnected from their company so it’s no wonder loyalty has gone out the window. While at Fletcher, I’ve valued how the company has supported me when life has thrown a curve. During difficult times like a family member passing away, a sickness and a pregnancy, our CEO provided flexibility with working from home and PTO. And during COVID, she also worked hard to ensure all employees were retained with zero layoffs. It’s more than actions, however. Loyalty is also communicated. Our leadership and team are transparent, respectful and considerate which creates a sense of trust. In fact, these are part of our company values which are not just a sign on the wall but incorporated into meetings, retreats and daily communication. During a time when so many people are quitting their workplaces, I stay because my company has been loyal to me and therefore, I feel inclined to be loyal in return.
The Key Takeaway
Hiring and inspiring employees need to have equal weight within an organization. A recruitment strategy is beneficial, but alone it isn’t enough to survive the Great Resignation. When focusing on retention, employers must remember that much of what retains an employee is intrinsic. When developing an internal communications strategy, it’s helpful to incorporate the following:
- Provide a sense of purpose in both the organization’s products and services and in the employee’s own job function
- Commit to communicating empowerment and freedom to make decisions
- Incorporate appreciation into daily communication and actions
- Focus on a company culture and values that promote loyalty
Do you have an internal communications strategy? If not, you’re not alone. HR Trend Institute found 60% of businesses lack one. Which may be why over 70% of employees report feeling disengaged. As the end of the year approaches and businesses look toward a new year, now is an ideal time to begin the planning process and tie in the “why” behind the motivation for employees to stay. After all, when employees gain a voice inside a company, their enthusiasm is infectious and their positive perspective on where they work has implications outside the company in terms of driving interest and thus recruitment.
We can help. Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss an internal communications plan for your company. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at https://www.fletchermarketingpr.com.