Organizations of all types are concerned about finding and retaining employees as we emerge from the worst of the pandemic. Leaders are scrambling to find the right balance between incentives and culture-building initiatives to keep employees and attract new ones to fill openings.
Amidst the complex set of factors driving the so-called “Great Resignation”, the remote vs. in-office debate, and widespread rethinking about work-life balance, one simple truth hasn’t changed: Employees want more than a bigger paycheck from their workplaces.
The desire for more has been amplified by the pandemic, among both essential employees and those experiencing the joys and challenges of working remotely for the first time in their careers. But what is the more that people want?
According to the most recent Gallup Survey, working for an organization where individual “well-being” is appreciated and promoted has become the dominant criteria driving employee decisions to stay, join, and be willing to give more to their organization. While creating a culture of well-being requires a multifaceted approach, a key component of well-being is finding greater purpose and meaning in your work. As best-selling author Daniel Goleman (backed by research from the Center for Healthy Minds) notes, “People are wired to be motivated by what’s meaningful to them. Not only does purpose bolster well-being, but it can also motivate us to embrace and catalyze change.”
Many organizations have responded to the demand for a more well-being friendly culture by investing more in DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives. And, there’s been a run on training programs and tools for navigating the remote workplace. Yet, in the rush to respond to a suddenly more competitive job market, senior leaders may be overlooking a critical component for creating a well-being workplace that gives employees an avenue for finding greater meaning and purpose: The opportunity to share their ideas about change and improvement!
The pandemic and lockdown imposed big constraints on workplace-based continuous improvement programs and teams in general, particularly project-focused teams. Video conferencing and collaboration platforms have mitigated some of the challenges. Yet recent polling reports employees feel less heard than ever before. Ironically, this is occurring just when employee engagement in performance and workplace improvement is more needed than ever to respond effectively to change.
The problem according to our polling is not that senior leaders don’t see the need. Leaders tell us their biggest hesitations about engaging more employees in change and improvement is the same as it was before the pandemic: It’s hard to do, it’s not reliable, it can be burdensome on employees, and the ROI isn’t enough to sustain funding.
But it doesn’t need to be that way. By incorporating best practices for engaging employee know-how with the support of a digital platform for effectively converting ideas into action, organizations can accelerate results and create a workplace that fosters employee well-being in remote, hybrid, and in-person settings alike.
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