How Research Can Help You Weather the Great Resignation

Whether you call it The Great Resignation or The Great Reshuffle, the voluntary departure of 47 million people from their jobs last year has been a big deal for employers of all sizes.

As a business owner and a researcher, I’m highly engaged in this trend on two fronts:
1) How do I find, recruit, and hire the talented people I need to grow my own business?
2) How can I help my clients navigate the challenges of the “tightest labor market on record”?

In looking for answers, this line from a recent piece in Spin Sucks jumped out at me:
When people don’t feel seen, heard, or represented within their organizations today, they won’t hesitate to share their “truth”—whether on Glassdoor or by leaking information to a client, on social media, or to AdAge.

Southpaw Insights is still a tiny company, so I am able to talk to my employees all the time and develop strong bonds and caring relationships. I do my best to encourage both my full-time employees and freelancers to candidly share their opinions about what’s going right, what’s going wrong, and what they need to thrive.

Most savvy business folks know that their loyal, dedicated employees are their greatest asset and best brand ambassadors. But many companies rely on pro forma annual employee surveys to gauge employee morale and identify management or engagement issues that need to be addressed. When employees fill out these surveys and don’t see any change, they lose confidence that their opinions – and their experiences as people – matter. Likely they won’t even bother completing the survey next time around – and, feeling “unseen” and “unheard,” they’ll start to actively look for the exit door.

We’re currently in the midst of a huge qualitative project, talking to 125 employees of a Fortune 100 financial services company about workplace culture. This is a company that “gets it.” Senior leadership recognizes that they need to understand their own employees much better in order to create a culture in which employees feel seen, heard, cared for, and empowered to make a difference. This cultural learning can happen through thoughtful company-wide surveys and through in-depth conversations between employees and managers, mentors, peers – and, yes, sometimes unbiased, outside consultants like Southpaw Insights!

One woman said to us at the end of an hour-long interview, “I didn’t realize how cathartic this would be!” For our client, the key to success will be to take what she and her colleagues are saying and make meaningful, strategic, and transparent changes that help them all feel, “we matter.”

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