5 Questions to Ask During The Great Resignation

February 1, 2022 David Witt

“People are living in an emotion zone right now,” says Dr. Vicki Halsey, vice president of applied learning at The Ken Blanchard Companies. “I think people want a life that is congruent with their vision of what their life was supposed to be.”

Leaders have a role to play here, says Halsey.

“It's not like they're randomly resigning. Many are leaving situations where they don't feel important, valued, or developed. The pandemic has caused people to question the quality of their lives a lot more than they ever did. Workers are really craving a chance to learn and grow.”

“Leaders help people grow. They help people learn. They help people focus. They lift people's spirits to help them understand they’re part of something really great—and their unique talents are important to the team and to the organization.”

But to do that, a manager has to be proactive, says Halsey.

“It’s easy for managers to become reactive when times are busy. A team member comes to their manager with a problem—and boom, the manager hits them with a fast answer. Wouldn't it be better if managers were proactive and had a development plan for their people? I’m suggesting that managers get out in front of areas like learning, growth, and development. There needs to be a focus on the individual: Who is this person?

“Managers must think in terms of a retention plan based on what fires their people up. Treat each person like an individual. Instead of saying, ‘I’m working with my team,’ remember that your team is made up of ten individuals—and each of those people has a different need for how they want to be energized.”

Halsey shares her thoughts about a potential retention plan with five areas of focus as well as conversation-provoking questions for managers to ask their team members.

“I recently created a simple retention plan template for a client. It has five columns—Energy, Communication, Appreciation, Relationships, and Career. Under each column I listed a question for managers to use as a thought starter. Some are professional in nature and some are personal. I like to think of them as courageous questions for managers to ask their people.

  • Energy: ‘What motivates or energizes you?’ There are so many possibilities here—meaningful work, projects that matter, a chance to influence or express creativity. The key is to ask and listen.
  • Communication: ‘How do you want to be communicated with?’ This includes the medium—Zoom, Teams, phone call, text? It also covers frequency—once a day, more?—as well as team versus one-on-one time. Clear communication is required to understand others’ needs.
  • Appreciation: ‘How can I value and recognize your success?’ Public versus private recognition? Intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards? Pay attention, take time to notice each person, and don’t miss an opportunity to offer a sincere praising and express your appreciation.
  • Relationships: ‘Who can I connect you with?’ An increased sense of isolation and a breakdown of social bonds is a real problem that’s been made much worse by the pandemic. Help people build relationships during this trying time.
  •  Career: ‘What are your growth goals?’ People want and need to make progress—it’s a major driver of retention. Be sure you’re having stay interviews instead of exit interviews. Talk with people about their career goals—both short-term and long-term.

Addressing the Great Resignation: The Manager’s Role

There’s both an organizational component and a managerial component to addressing the Great Resignation, says Halsey.

“The strategy has to be pretty tight, and the organization has to value and celebrate the good things people are doing. Once that's clear, it comes down to managerial support.

“People want work to be fun, but we also like a challenge. We want to work in an environment where it's exciting to meet our goals. I don't mind working a little harder if I know I’m having an impact and if I get to be around people who are working as hard as I am.

“That's where the manager comes in to help people focus and to make sure they develop the ability to do what they need to do. The manager can recognize and celebrate what everyone's doing.

“So there's a constant sense of learning: What did we set out to do? What did we do and what have we learned? It all leads to creating an environment where people say, ‘I just love where I work. It wouldn’t occur to me to go anywhere else.’”


Would you like to learn more about creating a motivating environment where people wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else? Join us for a free webinar!

What Can Your Managers Do NOW to Stop the Great Resignation in Your Organization?

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

When a high performer leaves, so do their brilliant ideas, expertise, and contribution to the cultural fabric. An even more worrisome trend is high performers leaving for greener pastures with their colleagues

Good news. There are things you can do now to help avoid this. In this webinar, leadership expert Dr. Vicki Halsey will show you how to retain your top performers during this time of extraordinary change.

You’ll explore the role managers play and why 75% of the reasons people quit can be addressed by their managers, including:

  • Feeling their work was important and sometimes “big”
  • Feeling appreciated
  • Learning and growing
  • Being part of a great team
  • Having autonomy

A great manager is the common thread that ties this together. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn specific tips and strategies to help your managers build the skills that keep people motivated, fulfilled, and performing at a high level.

Register now!

About the Author

David  Witt

David Witt is a Program Director for Blanchard®. He is an award-winning researcher and host of the companies’ monthly webinar series. David has also authored or coauthored articles in Fast Company, Human Resource Development Review, Chief Learning Officer and US Business Review.

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