3 Things Your Organization Can Do To Thrive During The Great Migration

For months leaders everywhere have been talking about the Great Resignation. The Achievers Workforce Institute (AWI) indicates that 52% of the American workforce is looking for a new job. That is an alarming statistic. The good news is that organizations with great cultures are not seeing a Great Resignation – they see a Great Migration. Let’s reframe this discussion and identify surefire ways for you to successfully become a net attractor of talent.

The Great Migration

People are not quitting the workforce entirely. They are simply fed up with teams and organizations that have poor cultures. They are tired of working for leaders who don’t really seem to care about them. In a world of hybrid working it is much easier to find a better job, better manager and a better workplace environment. People are on the move. 

For organizations with excellent cultures, this is a Great Migration. I have been using that term for months and smiled when I read Josh Bersin’s post last week. The Great Migration represents an unprecedented opportunity to attract talent from organizations with poor cultures. 

If you have a great culture, this is the moment you have been waiting for. If you have a weaker culture you should be very concerned. It’s time to take action and raise your culture game. There is even more urgency if your employment sector has high turnover, labour shortages or people are leaving a profession entirely (e.g. nurses, doctors, teachers).

3 Ways to manage your ‘Migration Risk'

The stronger your culture, the lower your ‘Migration Risk’. We use this term to refer to your risk of being a net contributor of talent to other organizations, instead of being a net attractor of talent to your team. Here are the three immediate actions that will rapidly improve your culture and reduce your Migration Risk:

  1. Get serious about culture data
  2. Involve more employees in culture change planning
  3. Accelerate change by focusing on fewer actions

1. Get serious about culture data

One of the biggest mistakes we see from executives in weaker organizational cultures is delaying workplace culture surveys because they are worried about bad scores. The problem with that approach is that everybody else in the organization is well aware of what aspects of culture are not working. In the digital age your recruitment prospects have immediate access to culture scores by looking at online employee reviews (e.g. Glassdoor).

We believe it is better to know the truth as soon as possible. There are three immediate actions you can take to get serious about data and reduce your Migration Risk:

  • Predict what your employees would say. Take 5 minutes to complete our free High-Performance Index Prediction to identify immediate opportunities to improve your culture. We’ll debrief this with you at no cost.
  • Use a modern culture assessment. Modernize your approach to collecting employee experience data by using a well-balanced culture assessment, such as the High-Performance Index™ (HPI). A comprehensive culture survey is more effective than a traditional engagement survey, which only gives you part of the story.
  • Manage your online presence. Actively manage your online presence by responding to poor reviews on employee feedback websites and taking action on the poor reviews. We help organizations and leaders with great HPI scores publicly display their strong cultures to prospective employees.

2. Involve more employees in culture change planning

A modern culture survey such as HPI will identify critical topics to bring to conversations with employees. These conversations quickly identify opportunities to make an immediate, positive impact on your culture – and reduce your Migration Risk. The key is to involve more employees in those conversations.

We commonly hear that employees have survey fatigue, but we see it differently. People are tired of seeing nothing change after they fill out a survey. While AWI notes 60% of employees have been surveyed, only 16% of leaders consistently acknowledge feedback and take action. A lack of intention to follow-through on culture issues is a surefire way to increase Migration Risk and be a net contributor of talent. 

By involving employees in a continuous, data-driven conversation about what could enhance culture, you will make rapid progress in your culture change journey. After sharing a high-level overview of the organization’s HPI results, we engage employees in a debrief conversation using ThoughtExchange. Together we pack a powerful 1-2-culture-punch:

  • HPI helps us identify the right questions to ask employees. 
  • ThoughtExchange enables conversations where employees quickly identify and prioritize the most impactful actions we can take. 

3. Accelerate change by focusing on fewer actions

Now that your employees have helped prioritize actions, you can begin to strategically mitigate Migration Risk, and become a net attractor of talent. A common mistake that organizations make at this stage is tackling too many culture initiatives at once. Keep it simple with 1-2 priority actions and follow through.

The instant you show people you are serious about improving workplace culture, a movement is underway. A mindset shift occurs the moment employees see that there is action being taken on the priorities they helped identify. Once people see things starting to happen, everybody begins to see how they play a role in improving culture. Our research shows this happens because all elements of a great culture are highly interconnected. As you prioritize a select few, specific actions to improve the way leaders Help People Align, Collaborate or Grow, scores in your HPI will also rise. 

We have watched multiple leaders radically transform their team’s human experience of work in 2 months. We have seen people take their HPI team score from 55 (very low) to 81 (very strong) in a matter of weeks. Entire organizations have transformed their culture in 9 months. In our experience, culture change happens rapidly once people see you are committed to action. And ultimately, the stronger your culture is, the more likely you will thrive during the Great Migration.

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith

Jeff is the Founder & CEO of SupportingLines. He is also a certified Master Corporate Executive Coach, seasoned C-suite business leader and yoga instructor.

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