The final part of our three-part blog series explores the freedom to create and own value in the workplace. It follows part one, the role of novelty and adventure in employee retention and engagement, and part two, desire as a key driver of retention. This series is based on a keynote session delivered by Reo Group Co-Founder and CEO Stella Petrou Concha and provides questions for reflection on the content which can provoke important discussions within your organisation to explore what is driving your people and how best to meet their needs.
Why is attrition so high?
Let’s reflect more deeply on the McKinsey Report on the Great Attrition cited earlier in this blog series and an additional report released by EY called “Work Reimagined” published in April this year.
Both reports showcased why employees are leaving. Let’s get deeper into the psychology of what has emerged from both reports.
Both McKinsey and EY stated that many leaders are struggling to understand why attrition is so high. When they asked the employer why they thought people were leaving their answers focused on the transactional aspects of employee benefits, including:
– work–life balance
– poor physical and emotional health.
These issues did of course matter to employees—just not as much as employers thought they did.
By contrast, employees prioritised relational factors.
– 54% didn’t feel valued by their organisations
– 52% didn’t feel valued by their managers
– 51% didn’t feel a sense of belonging at work
Relational issues are at the root of why people are leaving their roles. Offering retention bonuses and big pay rises, really misses the opportunity to connect more deeply with the real reasons why people are leaving. In fact, it could be that these responses have actually pushed people to leave, with the financial band-aid highlighting the shortcomings in managerial EQ in understanding what their people really want and need.
“By not understanding what their employees are running from, and what they might gravitate to, company leaders are putting their very businesses at risk.” McKinsey
Why are people not feeling valued?
People aren’t feeling valued for two key reasons.
- We have used them as survival tools for the last 24 months. We haven’t asked them what we can do for them to help them grow their career or feel valued. We have been asking them to help us (the employer) pivot, be agile, do more for less, survive. This is akin to making continual withdrawals from the bank without making sufficient deposits. It negatively impacts the balance. We need to make deposits by investing in our people. This investment is the creation of value.
- If you haven’t invested in people in a way where they can work on something that creates value, then they won’t feel valued. Working on something that creates value is generally adventurous, or exciting, or new and so cultivates the desire. If you haven’t given them this pathway, then it’s likely that they don’t feel valued, they haven’t created value and so their desire is stale.
How can we help our people feel valued?
To feel valued, people need to create value themselves. They need to participate in the cultivation of value creation. They need to own the value. Value is not praise and reward, true value is based in your contribution and a sense of pride and accomplishment, a sense of growth and elevation.
There is an opportunity for companies to shift their focus back into people, their career pathways and programs, to help people create and own value.
- Help them own the value – through learning pathways
- Enable them to enjoy the journey – through broader participation in novel experiences
People come to work for you because they feel they can contribute to the business and create value that wasn’t ordinarily there, and because there is opportunity to take something from the business to help them develop and grow.
Fundamentally this is what career decision making boils down to.
Questions for Reflection
- Do you give your people the opportunity to create value?
- Are they allowed to explore opportunities outside of the BAU?
- How are people viewed inside your business?
- Are they seen a tool of trade or are they seen for their potential beyond the job?
- Are your people extracting value from your organisation to help them expand and grow?
If your answer is no to any of these questions, then you need to reconsider your dynamics in how you view your workforce.
Considerations and Conclusions
If you lead a large team or a company, remember this: the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting are real. This unique moment represents a big opportunity.
To seize it, take a step back, listen, learn, and make the changes employees want—starting with a focus on the relational aspects of work that people have missed the most.
By understanding why they are leaving, and by acting thoughtfully, you may be able to activate desire, invest in their pathway to experience novelty and adventure and help them funnel that desire into a project that creates value that they can say they own.
*This is the final instalment of a three-part blog series, adapted from a keynote address on ‘Talent Retention and Engagement for Today’s Economic Climate’, delivered by Reo Group CEO Stella Petrou Concha