27 September 2023

Preparing for post-pandemic resignations

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Roberta Matuson* outlines the steps she has taken to help those employers unable to understand why so many of their best people are leaving or intending to leave.

Have you ever told a white lie when asked by your organisation why you were departing? If so, you’re not alone.

The desire to leave on a good note while speaking the truth often puts people in a no-win situation.

Advice from career experts, including me, is to say as little as possible on your way out.

After all, you may need a reference, or you may decide you’d like to work for this organisation again.

Why burn bridges and go down in the flames when you can simply say: “I’m leaving for a better opportunity?”

Yet, organisations heavily rely on exit interviews, even though the information they’re gathering is misleading.

This helps to explain why little is done with the data collected and employees continue to bolt.

The cost of employee turnover can be crippling, especially now, when a recent survey found that one in four workers were planning to look for opportunities with a new employer once the threat of the pandemic has subsided.

The number was even higher (34 per cent) among millennials.

How much longer can you afford to continue to operate as if nothing has changed? It’s time to put an end to exit interviews.

There’s a much better way to get to the truth, in terms of why people are leaving your organisation, that will allow you to stop costly employee turnover from spreading.

I call this approach Matuson’s Employee Stickiness Project (Matuson’s ESP).

Step One

We meet to pinpoint precisely where talent is seeping out of the organisation.

I then speak with the senior leaders overseeing these Departments to get a sense of their beliefs about why people are leaving.

Step Two

I interview former employees who’ve recently left to learn why they sought a better opportunity in the first place, as this is what matters most.

You’d be amazed how many people agree to speak with me, as well as their willingness to be completely transparent.

I suspect this is because I’m an impartial third party, and when they speak, I listen deeply and encourage them to share their truth.

Step Three

I analyse the data and report my findings back to the client.

Included in the report are recommendations on what can be done to prevent others from departing and a special section titled In Their Words, where I share verbatim (anonymously) what people have said.

This last section is what usually springs my clients into action.

I’ve had clients say things like: “You could feel the pain these employees were experiencing when reading the comments.”

Or: “I had no idea things were so bad. We have to fix this.”

This sixth sense approach to talent retention is not for everyone. Matuson’s ESP is for the following:

Chief executives, business owners, and executives who are tired of watching great people exit the organisation.

People who recognise the high cost of employee turnover and the stress that follows when the remaining employees are left to pick up the slack.

Leaders who acknowledge that their current approach to talent retention isn’t yielding the results they had hoped for.

Those who are ready to hear the truth and take the necessary steps to ensure employees stick around.

Now’s the time to take action — that is if you want to ensure the only people exiting your organisation are those whom you’re inviting to leave.

*Roberta Matuson is president of Matuson Consulting which helps Fortune 500 companies and high growth businesses create exceptional workplaces leading to extraordinary results. She can be contacted at [email protected].

This article first appeared at matusonconsulting.com.

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