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Align and retain: How communication can inspire even your biggest flight risk to stay

Align and retain: How communication can inspire even your biggest flight risk to stay

Jonathan Davies


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5 mins read

Wed, Jun 22, '22  

Disengagement at work has impacted many industries, and we don’t seem to know how to deal with it. Last year saw a dip in employee engagement from 22% in 2019 to 20% in 2020. This decrease is easily accountable when we consider the year we just had, but the low figures themselves are worrying: 80% of disengaged employees! That means 80% of employees are not in the right working conditions to give their best each day. 

This disengagement along with a newly restored sense of stability has led to a siege on the job market. Curiously though, according to the Connect 2021 survey, management is the biggest flight risk with 43% actively looking to leave their company. To give a point of comparison, only 14% of employees said the same. 

So, the question is: how can we inspire management to stay and not file their resignation?

The paradigm shift in the world of work

We first need to look at the wider context and consider how the snow globe of work has been shaken recently. The future of work is here and there’s no going back. Many businesses had already started digitizing their core business functions pre-pandemic, but this last year hit industries with such vigour that accelerated change. Agile working is now in vogue, and businesses are finding that reverting to traditional working habits will not only be costly but will also tarnish their competitive edge

This is great for the many advocates of flexible working conditions, and those grimacing at the thought of being back full time in an office space. Who can blame them? The prospect of breaking up the week with a day or two wearing pajama bottoms sat at a kitchen table certainly has an appeal, right? The Royal Society for Public Health has also stepped up to temper the argument with a survey that reported: 45% of people feel that working from home is good for their health. 

We are coming out of this pandemic with favored working conditions, more flexibility, and improved wellbeing. It’s looking good for employers too: lower overheads, access to broader talent pools, and the global market. So, why are so many people walking out of their companies en masse? And why is it that management in particular heading for the door? 

Costs and figures: the business impact of the resignation tide

We are talking about millions of workers resigning from work in a single year. Whether that’s due to a backlog of 18 months’ worth of leavers or not, we still need to question why so many people are unhappy in the first place. Especially given that these figures just don’t tally up with the direction businesses are going towards more flexibility and agile working – which we want, right!

To talk costs, Gallup estimates that a company will have to cough up between $25,000 - $100,000 to replace an employee. Whereas it only costs around $9,000 to reinspire existing talent. And as we now know it is management most active on LinkedIn and other job boards, which means onboarding costs will be at the top-end of this estimate. 

The impact of cascading communications

The Connect 2021 survey brought to light the main scruple point both employees and management have with their company: a breakdown in communications. According to the survey, both groups are dissatisfied with the lack of alignment between their Top-Level Leaders and Internal Communications. And both groups agree that digital communication tools help to get everyone on the same page. Realigning the internal communications within an organization could potentially be enough to damper the resignation tide. 

As we fully embrace the paradigm shift in the world of work, we need to keep hold of our sense of community at work. And some employers are working hard to do this. According to the World Economic Forum, a third of the employers currently digitizing their core working practices are looking to bolster their sense of community using digital tools. On the flip-side of things though, this leaves a staggering 56% of employers who haven’t even started to think about the impact digitization will have on their Internal Communication.

How Internal Comms can reinspire management

Managers have been bludgeoned repeatedly throughout this paradigm shift. Without proper internal communication systems in place, they’ve had to serve as the crucial go-between wedged between employees and Top-Level Leaders. Traditional communication methods are rapidly becoming outdated and inefficient as a workspace becomes less defined by the four walls of a building and more by a digital space.  

As we are still drifting toward digitization – or Industry 4:0 if we want to sound all cool about it – management will continue to be impacted and dissatisfied if there is still a lack of alignment between Top-Level Leaders and employees. Innovation and changes to working practices, as great as they are, can negatively impact internal communications. One way around this is by implementing a winning intranet software. Another way could be to take a more holistic perspective of an employee experience – or more accurately, a manager experience – and cater to their needs. 

The long and short of it is that times are changing. We are actualizing the future of work and a remote-working reality. Now the challenge is to stay connected and to sustain our sense of community. A culmination of events may have kicked quitting season off. But realigning communications and getting everyone back on board with digital tools can help close it down.