By Philippa White, Founder and CEO of The International Exchange (TIE)
There are a few ways to view the “Great Resignation”. Some see it as the Great Renegotiation. Others the Great Reengagement.
I think it’s the Great Re-evaluation and a necessary correction of the labour market.
The time at home, the flexible working, and the time with family woke people up from the monotony of the day-to-day grind. They had space and time to think about what is important to them.
And what they are happy, and not happy, to put up with.
I would say that the dehumanization of work, and the workplace, is probably a major factor creating unhappy and disengaged employees.
The relentless commute to work, feeling like a cog in a machine, the daily stress, anxiety, and not feeling valued, or able to reach your full potential.
Essentially, leadership seeing employees as consumers of jobs, rather than citizens of companies. Being more interested in the clients of the company, rather than first and foremost being worried about their employees’ well-being.
So, what is the answer? How do we course correct?
It’s all about personal connections. And being human centred.
When your people come first. When you connect with them. Understand them. Know what they are looking for. Help them grow. And reach them on a human level. It is game changing.
This Forbes article claims that “When it comes to the workplace and employee retention, employee job satisfaction increases 34% and burnout rates decrease by 22% when leaders exhibit and demonstrate compassion”.
It’s about companies starting to think and approach their business as if it was a living and breathing organism. It’s not about being a siloed money-making machine operated by robots, but instead thinking about how we are all connected and part of a greater whole.
By serving employees, you create happier people working with you. People that are more content with where they are. They are rewarded on what they value most in life, which then makes them better at what they do, and in turn, serves the brands and clients they work with.
What we are talking about here is a company that is driven by people’s needs. Driven by their values and belief systems. It’s the concept of life work balance – how to create the right conditions at companies that are built around someone’s life.
But I do think this is only part of the picture.
The next step is growth and fulfilment. And nothing makes you feel more alive than growth.
The thing is, it’s too easy to drop into a formula and a rhythm at work where you feel like you are going around the block a bit. We can all feel constrained. And it’s hard to know how to contribute outside of the constraints of our jobs. We know we can be and do more – but how? We all know our places in the system.
But growth and personal development don’t happen inside of our comfort zones, our area of expertise or our professional bubbles.
Instead, they happen in immersive experiences that push our boundaries and question our status quo, outside of the corporate world and the daily circumstances we are used to.
The challenge, though, is most professionals find themselves operating in a very specific field where they often don’t get the opportunity to step out of their silos and others’ expectations.
However, it is so important to find ways to step out of the circuit, out of the hierarchy, and comfort zone, in order to unlock that growth and discover one’s purpose.
It’s about taking them from can, to do. Creating the space for them to find their unique power to make meaningful change. Impact that is true to them. By disrupting comfort zones they can discover more about themselves and what their unique power is.
It’s very easy to become good at running trains along railway tracks. In many respects, that is what many jobs are. You run the train along the track because you know that track is going to the destination that it always has. But sometimes (especially in times of extreme change) we need and want to learn to lay railway – and that is hard. But that’s what needs to happen – people are looking for ways to test themselves.
They know how to run a train along a track. But can they put railway down?
I’ve spoken to many people over the course of the last couple of years spanning countries, continents, ages, and job titles. And there is a common theme.
People are looking for an opportunity to BE and DO more.
They want to stress-test their abilities and truly see what they are capable of.
Looking for ways to bring energy and passion to an area not touched on in the corporate world.
Step out of the regular 9-5 day to day.
Step out of comfort zones, out of silos, broaden horizons, and ignite that fire in their bellies again.
This growth is a vital part of employee happiness, and if their employee’s care about them, and provide opportunities to learn and grow, believe it or not, these things matter more than any signing bonus or compensation package.