News and updates for in-the-know vintage insurance experts and those who value their talents.
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Great Resignation or Great Regret?
How You Can Attract—and Keep—Your Best People.
Every month since June of last year, more than 4 million workers quit their jobs. You read that correctly. Four million a month. The mass exodus became known as the “Great Resignation,” and while people were leaving for a variety of reasons, the primary drivers seemed to be new jobs offering more money and more flexibility.
However, according to a recent Harris Poll survey for USA Today, roughly one in five employees who quit during the past two years now regrets it. And only 26% say they like their new job enough to stay. It seems many job switchers feel the grass is not always greener—for them, the “great resignation” is more like the “great regret.”
The question looms: Why? What happened?
There are several theories to explain why so many people are unhappy with their job changes. The pandemic, of course, affected us all in many ways. Some of those who quit may have simply been burned out and felt in need of a change, but in their haste to leave failed to do proper due diligence on the new opportunities. Or perhaps new employers lured candidates with promises of flexible cultures and remote work, but the realities of their workplaces didn’t match the new employees’ expectations. Or perhaps the employee was wooed by a higher salary and thought the daily tasks or company culture were less important to them, only to discover that those things matter more to them than they realized. You can’t put a price on feeling valued, after all.
Much like the “great resignation,” the “great regret” has highlighted how important it is for employees and employers to be on the same page when it comes to work expectations, culture, flexibility and more. Luckily, there are ways to ensure that, as an employer, you hire only those people who are truly the right fit for your organization.
“Companies can avoid the Great Regret altogether by being proactive and constantly ensuring the culture is optimal,” Bernard Coleman, head of employee engagement at Gusto, writes in “There’s a saying that the best offense is a good defense. And that defense is focusing on the fundamentals of what makes an extraordinary environment and reminds staff why they stay or joined in the first place.”
In other words, focus on your values, and make sure they are aligned with those of your current employees and future hires. When interviewing, make sure you screen for “fit”—don’t let your eagerness (or desperation) to hire blind you. At WAHVE, we go through a comprehensive blind screening process that ensures potential employees fit well within our organizational culture.
Also, keep the lines of communication open. By checking in regularly with your staff, you can identify reasons why they might want to leave and address issues before you lose talented people. This regular communication—and follow up with action—also shows you take their feedback seriously and value their input. When it comes to solutions, though, remember it’s not simply about office perks, but rather about giving your people the right tools they need to do their jobs and listening to their challenges and suggestions. It means making fundamental changes such as implementing flexible schedules and facilitating remote work. And don’t just say you’re doing these things, either: Actually live it. Highlight employees who are engaging in these activities, particularly c-suite executives. Culture comes from the top.
Finally, consider drawing good talent back into the fold if they’re interested in returning. suggests implementing an alumni program. “Communicate the latest news, and share cultural moments and all the great things they're missing. The grass is often not greener, and former talent might just need a nudge to consider coming back.”
By being authentic, communicative, flexible and proactive, we, as business leaders, can ensure that both our organizations and our people are fulfilled and inspired—and avoid the “great regret.”
Sharon Emek, PhD, CIC
CEO and President, Work At Home Vintage Experts
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Employees Are Increasingly Disengaged. But You Can Help.
For the first time in a decade, the percentage of employees who are engaged in their jobs is declining. Steadily.
Last year, according to Gallup, the number of engaged full- and part-time employees dropped from 36% to 34%, and so far in 2022, that trend is continuing: Just 32% of workers are now engaged, while the number of actively disengaged employees rose to 17%, up a percentage point from last year. Gallup defines actively disengaged employees as “disgruntled and disloyal because most of their workplace needs are unmet.” Yikes.
There could be a variety of causes for this drop in employee engagement. Pandemic burnout is real, and many employees are no doubt feeling the strain of being asked to juggle too much with too little help for too long. Many have left in search of greener pastures, angling for higher salaries or more flexibility or other benefits; but a USA Today poll shows that about one in five employees who have quit their jobs in the past two years now regrets it, and only about a quarter are happy enough in their new jobs to stay. The percentage of employees who say they are “extremely satisfied” with their organization as a place to work also plummeted eight percentage points, Gallup found.
Yet all is not lost. Regardless of the specific cause (or causes) of this worker detachment, there are concrete things organizations can do to boost engagement right now. For example:
Get flexible with work arrangements. According to Gallup, employees who work remotely or in a hybrid situation tend to have higher levels of engagement (37% engaged in both groups) than those who work exclusively onsite (29% engaged). Think through these arrangements carefully, though, as you may need different arrangements for younger workers than for older workers. Consider the need for career paths and the work arrangement for learning and advancement. Make changes deliberately to ensure you provide the tools your people need to do their work effectively and to set them up for success.

Live your values. As Gallup put it: “Employees need to see the intended culture and values lived out daily. The most successful organizations put their values at the center of decisions.” What does that look like? It looks like making investments to prioritize employee health, well-being and productivity. That way, “employees can see the organization’s values lived out through decisions, which builds trust in leadership.”

Communicate often—and in many ways. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that nobody knows what the future holds. But the way to get through uncertainty is to communicate regularly and authentically, and to make sure all stakeholders feel involved and heard. Ensure you reach your team members where they are—whether that’s through emails, town halls, podcasts, company app, or all of the above. Empower frontline managers to share information effectively with their reports, too, and help them manage through change by encouraging them and all leaders to keep the lines of communication open.

Have growth-oriented conversations with staff. According to Gallup, there are five keys to success for improving engagement, and one of them is direct, growth-focused conversations with employees. “The only way to meet employees’ needs is through conversations that actively work to address those needs,” the report says.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of tips for improving employee engagement. There are many more ways to ensure your people are involved, motivated, productive and happy at work. What are some of your tried-and-true strategies for boosting engagement across your workforce?
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