Why The Great Resignation is a Great Opportunity for Your Company
By Maddie Grant, Co-Founder of PROPEL
Inspiring Women in HR Tech
People are quitting their jobs now more than ever before in the past 20 years. And honestly, can you blame them? With remote work, there are so many more opportunities out there, and that trend is not going to stop anytime soon.
But don’t worry—this doesn’t have to be bad news for employers. People may be quitting, but that means they’re moving on to better opportunities. Your goal should be to become the workplace that people move to after they quit their jobs. And how do you do that? By focusing on your workplace culture—something your competitors can’t easily match.
Culture matters more now than ever. Your top talent may consider moving to another organization, but one of the biggest unknowns for them will be the culture at the new place. On the other hand, your employees already know what it’s like to work at your organization. So, if you spend time making your culture amazing, they’ll be much less likely to leave.
So, how do you make your culture amazing? Start by removing existing areas of “culture friction.” There are specific parts of your culture that unintentionally get in the way of people being successful. These show up in the form of what we call culture patterns, where part of your culture is moving toward the future but another part is holding onto traditional management. There are 2.5 million data points in our WorkXO culture assessment, collected since 2016, which show a surprising consistency of these patterns across all kinds of companies, large and small.
Here’s an example: One common cultural pattern we see is one we call “lagging transparency.” While most cultures value transparency, their approach is usually reactive: if you ask me for some information, I’ll gladly give it to you. But this approach often leads to missed opportunities to take action or make better decisions.
For example, let’s say your marketing and sales people get questions about a product development that’s underway. But they don’t have the information they need to answer the customer’s questions, so they have to tell the customer that they will get back to them later. This can create customer churn and frustrate your sales and marketing teams. But there are solutions out there! You can use technology solutions to create a “transparency architecture” that enables more information to be available to more people all the time. For instance, asynchronous communication tools like Slack allow people to share information continuously. So, when a customer asks the salesperson about a product issue, they can quickly find the information they need on the right Slack channels without having to bother the product team.
That’s what culture change looks like! If you want your organization to be one of the winners in this great resignation, you should intentionally change the cultural patterns that are causing the most friction. How do you know what they are? A good culture assessment will tell you, of course, by describing what your culture actually is today (not an idealized model of an abstractly good culture), but this exploration can start as easily as having some internal discussions about the things that everyone gets frustrated with. Maybe you have too many useless meetings or too much red tape. Maybe you talk about being innovative, but don’t allow any risk-taking or experimentation. Maybe you want to move quickly but have a very slow decision-making process. Look for contradictions like those in your culture, and you’ll find your culture’s patterns.
You can’t make your culture perfect overnight, but you don’t have to. When people see that you’re actively designing the culture to make them more successful, they’ll realize it’s worth sticking around with you.
Maddie Grant is an expert culture designer and digital strategist who focuses on helping organizations prosper during times of change. She has specific expertise in digital transformation and generational differences in the workplace. She has explored the evolution of culture in the digital age through her books, including Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World (2011), When Millennials Take Over: Preparing for the Ridiculously Optimistic Future of Business (2015), and The Non-Obvious Guide to Employee Engagement (2019). Find Maddie at PROPEL (propelnow.co), the culture consulting firm she co-founded with her partner Jamie Notter.