4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September, marking an ever-increasing trend in the U.S. now known as the Great Resignation. Though the hardest hit are low-wage sectors, many career professionals, management, and specialists are joining the fold.
Which begs the question, what can companies do to retain and attract top talent? Ten leaders share what has been working for them.
1. Passion is Key
“The Great Resignation has definitely caused some hiccups for all of us, and in my line of work, it has been especially tricky,” says Fumi Ogunsemore, CEO and Founder of Valley of Joy Homecare. Valley of Joy Homecare helps people receive high-quality health care and helps nurses find their dream jobs.
“I think the biggest way we can attract and retain talent during this time is to be an example of the talent we are seeking. What is your passion? Where does your drive come from? Be that inspiring leader with real follow through on your dreams that energizes others to be proud of the team they are a part of.
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“When I started Valley Of Joy Homecare, it came from my heart. My passion for my work grows every single day, and I make sure that is known to my counterparts to keep them consistently encouraged.”
2. Mindset is Contagious: Keep Your Team Together with Gratitude
“Practicing gratitude can instill a mindset shift in our employees,” says Jessi Park, President of Inspired Insurance Solutions.
“I think that the best way to retain talent during this time of resignation is to outwardly practice gratitude. Tell your employees or contractors you are grateful for them; listen to them; and where you are able, give them what they need. Maybe it’s more flexibility in work hours or a hybrid work from home program. Maybe it’s simply knowing that you notice and appreciate them that will rekindle their loyalty to stay.
“Be as personal as you can with this – a speech to your whole company about how you appreciate them all is nice, but it won’t be as effective as personalized smiles, compliments, and problem-solving. Some people just want a listening ear or advice, while others really need that public recognition. Learning peoples’ business love language is important to retaining them long-term.”
“I had gotten let go from my corporate job and out of desperation, I ended up at a commission-only position. I had always looked down on commission-only because I felt I deserved a base salary and benefits. But changing my mindset to appreciate my situation and reframe it as uncapped earning potential with no glass ceiling not only made my life better but opened up my possibilities of what I am capable of.”
3. Be a Beacon of Good Values
“Get back to your roots and follow your mission,” says Sim Shain, CEO of Paraflights and Organflights.com. ParaFlight Aviation and OrganFlights.com help organ transplant centers reduce the time it takes to get a jet or helicopter to pick up organs in order to save lives.
“The sturdy foundation you built your business on should be the guiding force you turn to in times of need, especially during something as dire as this era of the Big Quit. Reminding your team that you are not just in business for profits and holding yourself accountable to your company values is a great way to retain talent.
“It also can be the beacon that attracts great talent to your company. Prospective employees are being pickier during this time with their job hunting, and you need to stand out. One of the best ways to do this is to have a strong backbone of values that instills trust and loyalty in your interviewees before they even see an offer letter.”
4. Be Your Own Community
“Entrepreneurs and leaders are unique people. They see real possibilities where most people would not dream. But what they are not alone in is needing a sense of belonging,” says Wale Olawoyin, Cofounder of Options Snipers.
“We all need a community to thrive, now more than ever. To foster a great community, you need to start with what matters most: the people. Bringing together individuals with a common purpose creates group consistency and accountability. It also attracts new talent to the group, because great minds like to be with ones of their own. These attributes build on one another, ensuring success for all those involved.
“Our Options Snipers community builds on the idea that because not every day is going to be a great day, there will be positive learning opportunities. We all learn and improve together. That is what makes us strong.”
5. Trust in Technology to Support Your Team
“With work from home practices becoming the norm, many business owners and CEOs are concerned about productivity levels. The fact of the matter is that we need to trust in technology to bridge the gap between our expectations and the new reality we are facing,” says Joe Brown, Founder and CEO of DearDoc.
The DearDoc platform helps doctors and medical practices convert website visitors into patients, for the benefit of all. Doctors can work to their full potential, and patients can receive the care they need.
6. Health is Wealth: Be an Advocate for Wellness
“Take care of yourself, and make sure your team is taking care of themselves as well,” says Xenios Charalambous, Founder of Xenios Fitness.
Xenios Fitness is a program that is tailored to clients’ needs. Clients with busy schedules can keep their most important assets — their bodies and minds — in tip-top shape.
“Listen to your team, and be generous with sick days. Never shame an employee for needing to be out sick. One of the biggest turn-offs for prospective talent is the rigidity of companies that expect them to be their 100% best 24/7.
“If a person can’t rest when their body breaks down, they won’t be able to bounce back and perform at top standards as easily. Be an advocate for health, mentally and physically, and you will not only retain talent but attract new talent as well.”
7. Add Interest to Your Company without Sacrificing Basic Benefits
“Be interesting. Be innovative. Be cutting-edge. Many employees are searching for consistency and job security, and that is super important. But a lot of the younger generation are searching for that little extra spark. They want to work somewhere that not only offers them security and benefits but that pride that comes with being able to say they work somewhere cool,” says Justin Caswell, Inventor and CEO of RevoFi.
RevoFi bases its structure on blockchain technology, which combines internet access with the financial incentives of cryptocurrency. “Our technology makes it possible to literally spread the wealth,” Caswell continues.
“Now, I am not saying you should let basic good business practices fall by the wayside, but adding a couple of perks like cool projects or monthly masterclasses wouldn’t be a bad idea.”
8. When You Understand Your Value, Hiring Opportunities will Chase You
“If you’ve successfully started or run a business, you must know on some level that you are valuable. Your mentorship might be what an employee needs,” says Jeremiah Flowers, Founder of The Enterpriser.
The Enterpriser helps aspiring business owners build their businesses from the ground up, with growth and scalability in mind.
“Don’t undervalue your employees. Overpay them well. Continue to verbally speak affirmations in regards to their contribution of time to your company. Reward them for their accomplishments. And share your wisdom in an unpretentious way.
“Being part of a team is stressful right now for many employees, with so much uncertainty and responsibilities falling on the shoulders of those who did not leave their jobs. But without a network of mentorship and support, it can be even harder.
“I want to provide the same support that got me where I am today, coupled with the practical tools needed to succeed. Now more than ever, we need to be there for our teammates and each other.”
9. Fix What’s Going on Behind the Scenes to Solidify Your Team
“The biggest issue for most business leaders right now isn’t being unsuccessful in traditional terms of money and titles. The real pitfall is not living with a purpose that your employees can believe in and follow,” says Nicole Phillip, CEO and Founder of Behind the Brand.
Behind the Brand is a program that allows entrepreneurs to identify the gaps in what they want their business to look like and what they actually do.
“Put faith in yourself. Focus on a holistic existence balancing physical, mental, and emotional health for you and your team. Explore the opportunities presented to you, and share them with others. Give back to your company in a way that allows you to feel gratitude for what you have and can do. All are keys to attracting and retaining talent during the Great Resignation.
“I recognize that there is so much more ‘Behind the Brand’ than the goods and services a company provides. Entrepreneurial success is nothing without the strength of a solid team, especially these days. Finding out how to feel fulfilled and how to inspire your team to feel that fulfillment is worth its weight in gold, and it will shine through to your prospective talent.”
10. Leverage Partnerships with Trusted Names
“Find partners to work with who will help you bring in talent. At the heart of our partnerships is a desire to communicate with an authentic voice. What better way to do that than to build connections that endorse our values and mission?,” says James Broyhill, CEO and Founder of JB by James Broyhill.
“Find ways to increase trust in your team by having publicly adored and trusted figures partner with your company that your current and future employees admire. This will bump your authority level and prestige, giving a crucial flicker of satisfaction to your employees.
“Being the 4th generation of the Broyhill family, leveraging the strength of our household name to help the Main Street small businesses both locally and nationally was always a goal of mine. Launching JB by James Broyhill allows me to work with brands of all shapes and sizes in a variety of ways. The prestige of a historic name endorsing your product has long been a pipe dream for most small businesses, and that is exactly why I love what I do.”
As we enter the New Year 2022, it’s clear that the pandemic and its after-effects are not showing any signs of stopping. Though we cannot stop the tide of the Great Resignation, we can find ways of providing what our best employees are looking for.
Among these are being part of a company that is passionate about what it does, promotes positive values, creates community, is innovative, advocates for wellness, takes advantage of the latest technology, promptly addresses problems, partners with top names and brands, and is grateful for the dedication of heart and soul that their employees bring each and every day.