Why almost half your staff are thinking of leaving. And how to stop them.

Posted: 22 November 2021

By Alex Williamson

According to a recent World Economic Forum survey has found that 41% of employees plan to leave their current job this year. In part this is due to disruption caused by the pandemic, causing many to re-evaluate their purpose and how they live their lives, both at work and at home. I can relate on a very personal level, as it was a period of reflection during lockdown that gave me the impetus to start Impactful!

Even prior to the pandemic a Gallup poll found that up to 87% of employees are disengaged at work. With employees increasingly working from home over the last year, this often latent disengagement has flourished into an active questioning of not only individual values and purpose. But also the the role that an employer should play in creating an engaging, purpose-led working environment. Clearly, most employees did not like what they saw when they dug a bit deeper! And it’s a problem – disengaged employees cost businesses up to $600 billion a year in lost productivity.

It’s a high stakes game with big rewards if you get it right

 On the flip side, there is a huge upside for companies that get it right. The Gallup research also shows that turnover is reduced by 57% at purpose-driven companies. And companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable.

HR teams are aware of this incredible risk-reward dynamic. And in many cases are doing great work in building a values-based workplace, fostering happy, engaged, and productive employees. What does a purpose-driven workplace look like and how does one go about building it? Here’s a quick three-step checklist to consider:

1.Your company no doubt has a mission, vision, values, and purpose, but is it real and relatable. And do your staff see and believe in it? Have you asked them?

2. What do your staff care about? Their values and purpose may not align exactly to company purpose. That’s OK and there are ways to empower that dynamic.

3. What are you doing in a practical sense to connect and engage with your employees on a day-to-day basis, to help them genuinely live company and personal values?

To put this into context, the aforementioned World Economic Forum survey found that companies that focus on employee connection, progress, and development have the highest probability of success. These are the things that individuals value and trust.

(Source: Lippincott, based on survey of 398 brands with more than $1 billion in annual revenue. More)

Unfortunately, 72% of employees said that they felt that their employer was failing to deliver on all three (big on promises, light on delivery!). However, for those that did, 90% of their employees stated that they intended to remain in their role for the foreseeable future. That’s quite a telling statistic.

Building genuine alignment between company and staff purpose

Each company is unique, as is each individual employee. The ideal solution will be unique in each case. But building your strategy around these core foundations is a great starting point. There are many ways to genuinely promote company purpose, engage with your employees on their own values, and facilitate the practical execution of both on a day-to-day basis.

In the coming months, we will be publishing the results of our own survey of employees and their views on this topic. Already it is clear that connection should start with meaningful internal dialogue from management right down through all employees.

Make your employees feel valued. Ask them how they perceive company purpose. And ask them about what they care about. Progress and development require providing the right internal structure, tools, and coaching.

But it’s not just a paint-by-numbers, internal corporate play. Companies need to offer a genuine, human outlet for employees to express themselves, to feel valued and aligned with their employers, and more importantly, their own values. That could be through team building, corporate philanthropy, group fundraisers and donation drives. As well as pro bono, or volunteering days (this is where Impactful can help, drop me a message to find out more).

So, this, in short is why almost half your staff are thinking of leaving and how to stop them. And these examples give employees an opportunity to live their values in a tangible way, and via their employer.

In turn, employers get happy, engaged, committed, and productive employees that are a credit to themselves and the business, and furthermore can feed into wider company CSR and ESG efforts and reporting, which is becoming increasingly important from investor and board level, right down to customer level.


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