Great Leaders Must Embrace The Great Realignment
If there is a 'Great Resignation', it's a symptom of a search that's less focused on wealth and a lot more on health and happiness. Are you ready to realign to deliver the engagement your team is searching for?
Rebecca Grainger, CEO & Founder
By now we've all heard about 'The Great Resignation', with business pages in particular showing great concern over what it means for so many people to be leaving, or considering leaving, their current jobs in search of new horizons.
But in most respects the discussion seems focused more on what people are searching for than on why so many workplaces seem incapable of responding to the changing desires and needs of so many members of their teams. Is it a refusal to change? Or a lack of awareness on what significant social change really means? Just as people have changed so much through the pandemic so too must business change.
This is about a lot more than remote and hybrid work. There are many more feelings and desires at play when it comes to the search for better wellbeing. Critically, it is not a 'movement'. It may be a shared experience that the pandemic has brought many to consider what they want from the future, but it is a personal and unique set of decisions each person is making. If there is a shared factor, it is that career development is becoming a personal development plan, one that aims to measure growth and progress inclusive of mental and physical health alongside personal fulfilment.
All of this can be embraced by organisations, and indeed should be. Workplaces have asked people to bring more of themselves to work, and to open themselves up more than ever before during the past two years. Now it's time for workplaces to ensure they are fulfilling their obligation to staff to help them to flourish and thrive at work.
As Dr Kirstin Ferguson has argued so elegantly, this is all best seen as The Great Realignment, and workplaces should be focused not on resignation rates but on the root cause in any given business that makes someone believe they need to go elsewhere to find what they're looking for.
"Not all traditional leaders will make it through the Great Realignment," says Ferguson in the Australian Financial Review. "And those who insist on leading as they have always done will end up having an epiphany of their own through their Great (forced) Resignations." 
As Ferguson suggests, leadership of the past is not the same style of leadership to take us into the future. You must be prepared to lead with people at the centre of decision-making.
"Having the technical capability or intellectual ability to do a job is one thing but having the values-led purpose and emotional capacity to lead someone else is quite another."
Engagement is everything
We've long been aware that retaining our best staff is one of the most important aspects of business success, and keeping them is fundamentally a question of engagement. Gallup research from July 2021  finds it takes more than a 20% pay rise to lure engaged employees away from a company, but almost nothing extra to draw the interest of disengaged talent.
This Gallup research speaks to the 'Great Discontent', seeing that the vast majority (74%) of those actively seeking new jobs feel "actively disengaged" with their current workplace. For those traditional leaders where money talks loudest, the report also notes that disengaged employees can be equivalent to lost productivity equal to 18% of their annual salary.
So, based on the data, organisations don't retain staff simply by offering more money, but instead through communication, humility and building a renewed sense of purpose.
Safety and support
Human Resources departments can play a key role in creating greater opportunities for team engagement by creating new channels for communication, new opportunities for the pursuit of wellbeing at work, and more clarity around how staff will be supported in future when their lives arrive at important milestones.
These policy updates matter, but leadership matters most of all by setting a tone that makes the every day experience have a better sense of where the company is heading and each employee's value within that corporate journey. And, in creating opportunities to genuinely engage with staff individually alongside small and broad team interactions.
During the pandemic, it was understandable that many workplaces were not ready to respond to the social impacts while in the midst of the difficulties of just keeping a business operational. But, “The Great Realignment” is about doing just that – shifting our organisational approach so that all our talent feels supported and valued in whatever life throws at us next. Whether as individuals, as teams, or as a society.
triiyo takes a holistic approach to employee wellbeing, using an online portal to grant access to wellbeing programs and employee engagement tools. triiyo’s tools and curated content help to increase engagement and retention when employees are moving through key work-life transitions, including parental leave, mental health, retirement planning and many other return-to-work scenarios. We work with organisations who want to set their people up for success so they thrive through every stage of the employee work-life cycle.