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From Great Regret to Simply Great

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By this point we’re probably all familiar with the Great Resignation—the pandemic-fueled phenomenon of employees quitting their jobs at record rates. (One report had the number at 4 million leaving every month.)

But I came across another statistic recently that was perhaps even more shocking: A whopping 20% of those who quit within the past two years now regrets it. That’s one out of every five. And only about a quarter (26%) say they like their new job enough to stay, according to a Harris Poll survey for USA Today. Evidently, the grass is not always greener. The Great Resignation has turned, for some, into the Great Regret.

I began to wonder: Why is this happening? And what can we, as business leaders, do to ensure our people are feeling fulfilled in their roles, be they new or long-held?

If anything, this “great regret” has highlighted how important it is for employees and employers to be on the same page when it comes to work culture and expectations. It seems many of those employees who quit were wooed by higher salaries and more flexibility; those two benefits are critical, but they alone can’t keep people feeling valued and fulfilled. They must work in concert with the organizational culture.

Bernard Coleman, head of employee engagement at Gusto, writes on Inc.com. that companies “can avoid the Great Regret altogether by being proactive and constantly ensuring the culture is optimal.” According to Coleman, the best way to ensure employees stick around is “by focusing on the fundamentals of what makes an extraordinary environment and remind[ing] staff why they stay or joined in the first place.”

To me, this means it’s essential for organizations to take a hard look at their values and highlight them, making sure they are aligned with those of their existing employees and hiring new staff members who share those values, too. Screening for organizational “fit” is paramount today—you can’t let your eagerness or desperation to fill a role take the reins. At WAHVE, we go through a comprehensive blind screening process that ensures potential employees fit well within our organizational culture.

This also requires that you keep the lines of communication open. By checking in regularly with your people, you can identify pain points and address them before you lose talented staff. An added benefit is that regular communication—coupled with follow-up action—shows you take their feedback seriously and value their input.

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