The great resignation has taken businesses by storm. The massive exit of people leaving their jobs for different opportunities has forced leaders to reconsider what they’re doing for employees and how they can prevent them from seeking out other offers. After speaking with Bethany Berkeley, CEO and Owner of Dale Carnegie Training ND & NW MN, it’s clear that Dale Carnegie is a major player in workforce and economic development.
With Dale Carnegie having been around for over 100 years, and 20+ years locally, they’ve developed their fair share of experience and insight in business leadership among the workforce. According to Berkeley, “[Dale Carnegie’s] goal is to equip people with the human skills that are required, for every industry. Alongside automation, employees determine the lifespan and overall success of a business. We tend to forget this foundational element and focus heavily on the hard skills and related tasks and execution, without slowing down to understand what motivates and drives people to perform and stay for the journey.”
In many business training and development plans, there’s often an overemphasis on technical skills and abilities.
“With the workforce crisis, automation, supply chain shortages, global conflict and more, human skills are the most relevant they have ever been in the history of business—human skills still account for 85% of financial success,” Berkeley said.
Dale Carnegie prides itself on teaching the most critical uses of human skills in the workplace. They believe that as automation and technology advances increase, so must a business leader’s skills to inspire and connect to thers, promote psychological safety, a requirement for not only retention but the first step toward creativity and innovation. While it may sound challenging, it is meant to be. Without expanding comfort zones, there simply is not long-term growth. Dale Carnegie programs are designed to go deeper by enhancing participants’ EIQ first, and the facilitators are certified over a year-long process in order to deliver transformational and sustainable training experiences with practical application throughout.
“Over 50% of people leave their current position because of their immediate manager and, yet, more often than not, new managers are not given the skills they need to lead but are expected to do so because they were performers in a different function,” Berkeley said. “Not to mention, around 74% of our purchasing decisions are based on who we like, trust and respect—the relationships drive sales. The most common and expensive issue contributing to the workforce crisis is simply poor communication, which accounts for significant losses in revenue each year. communication issues account for millions of losses each year. To remain competitive in today’s market, it is a requirement for employees to build trust, credibility and respect with their teams and customers. Internal workplace culture should always be consistent with external clients and customer experiences. If you’re treating your customers and partners better than your team, ask yourself why as a starting point.”
“We’re all aware the pandemic rapidly changed the course for all businesses, across every industry,” Berkeley said. “This high-pressure demand to evolve is compounded with people facing burnout, change and fatigue. This combination of new stressors in an everyday employee’s life has radically changed how people perceive the value and worth of their time.”
A lack of organizational leadership and poor communication are causing many to feel left out, disengaged and more stressed than ever before. And the ping-pong tables and raises aren’t cutting it. Workloads are heavy and the ‘why’ is often forgotten, leaving people feeling undervalued and overworked. “People are jumping ship knowing that they can get paid more now than they ever have, thinking that the grass is greener on the other side,” Berkeley said. “This causes major issues as employers continue to pay above market to keep up with inflation and remain competitive, only creating a cycle more and more difficult to shift. The thing is, tangible incentives are actually proven to do less than we think.”
When employees feel valued, connected, and empowered, they are significantly more likely to stay. Many of Dale Carnegie’s clients have noticed that focusing on how to keep their employees feeling valued is equally important to the financial incentive that brought them in. If employees feel as if they’re getting paid but are unable to contribute their ideas, grow or receive any feeling of personal satisfaction from the company, they’re more likely to pursue other opportunities.
“The simplest answer for the issue is change,” Berkeley said. “Fatigue is why people are leaving. They’re tired and disconnected. There’s a ton of change focused on business profitability and pivoting strategies, but many companies aren’t engaging and activating their workforces.”
While these are just some of the many things that are causing the Great Resignation, there are plenty of solutions that can help with retaining hard-working employees aside from the previously mentioned respect, appreciation and experienced leadership.
One of the largest factors in employee satisfaction that Berkeley has seen is flexibility, and not just where and when people work, the flexibility to contribute ideas, be part of change, and shift roles are also notable. While it may have been unheard of until recently, younger generations of employees greatly appreciate the flexibility to come in an hour late or leave an hour early if need be. People often have plenty of tasks and responsibilities outside of their careers, and showing understanding and appreciation for that goes a long way. “We can complain as leaders about the discrepancies in perceived work-ethic, and that won’t do anything,” Berkeley said.
“At Dale Carnegie, our leadership understands that I have both a family and a career. Sometimes I have to wear both the hat of a professional and a mother simultaneously, but I never have to apologize for staying agile to life,” said Alexis Scott, People Development Strategist. “Flexibility, trust, and transparency have been key to me feeling supported as a professional and a mother.”
Another tip that Berkeley offered is to not only have flexibility in an employee’s schedule for their personal needs, but also when hiring new employees. “It’s important to give people the opportunity to not fit within a predetermined box because the game has changed,” Berkeley said. “Many employers are changing the way they’re hiring and crafting roles for people, no matter how big or small they are. Also, I’ve seen a shift with our larger clients moving to a lateral/flat organizational structure because it changes the way the power is perceived and how the business functions as a result.”
Dale Carnegie’s team members were hired based on value alignment first, then their merit, passion, and of course, what they can bring to the table. “Rather than conforming to a box of predetermined qualifications and a job description, we collaborate during the hiring process. Dale Carnegie’s team has grown and been retained throughout this difficult time and the entire business has been restructured to adapt alongside clients. Hiring someone for who they are and showcasing that appreciation can encourage them to feel more valued than the average employee. To truly lead strategy and people requires discipline, commitment, and continuous development.”
“It’s not about the bonuses or the benefits, it’s knowing that I’m cared about and supported as a person,” said Erica Johnsrud, Director of Brand & Community Relations. “Everyone is ‘busy’ these days and taking time to connect on a deeper level, seeing traits and abilities in me that I don’t always see myself means more than anything and motivates me to strive for excellence—and maybe that’s not how we are all motivated! The biggest thing I see that keeps teams engaged is knowing that not everyone is inspired in the same way, and to do that we need to create relationships!”
Enrolling in a public training program or bringing training onsite with Dale Carnegie’s team could be the difference between losing employees and solidifying your company’s reputation. Business leaders are sure to benefit from learning new management skills and team cohesion techniques from their proven courses, dynamic facilitators, and experienced full-time team working on the frontlines alongside some of our largest local employers, chambers and EDCs throughout the region on the great resignation (or rather, migration from one job and employer to the next).
While employees may be leaving in mass numbers during these uncertain and economically frightening times, leaders have plenty of options to explore. As the landscape of the workforce continues to shift, giving people the proper motivation to feel as if they’re part of the team has never been more important than now. Rather than checking the ‘training box’ or ignoring the issue entirely, take a step back, evaluate the current environment and determine ideal outcomes before taking action. Then, act— invest in the most strategic and meaningful way, celebrating employees as they take on training opportunities, go above and beyond, and remain loyal. A few strategies for ensuring development is successful based on client experiences with Dale Carnegie:
- There are many resources wasted by utilizing un-vetted training and development vendors to check the box, only re-do it or give up as a result of the quality or outcomes.
- If someone hasn’t owned a business, don’t take advice/training on how to run yours from them. If someone hasn’t been successful in sales, don’t take sales training from them. Be thoughtful about who and why you partner with any vendor to assist with the great resignation, get references and referrals and ask for concrete examples of other collaborations.
- Development opportunities are positive and should be celebrated internally. Many employees are hesitant to go through training because they believe it is representative of a gap or deficiency they have. The point is, the investment is being made because they are valued. The way these opportunities are presented is very important. Utilize training and development as a benefit listed during recruitment efforts and later. Focus on retention for an employee’s career path with your company. many of our partners have created systems around utilizing training as part of career pathing and the overall talent development cycle. It works!
- Don’t believe you can fundamentally change a human being. Training is not a fix-it-all solution and the result is largely based on how much an employee and employer puts into the process. If you make the investment, put in the time or expect 0 ROI.
- Walk the walk. Check yourself first! If you are leading a team in any capacity, your energy and attitude affect every single person around you—google the emotional contagion for more info.
- Have FUN and don’t let fear get in the way of growth, a crucial and common mistake
“Every successful person loves the game. The chance to prove his worth, to excel, to win.” – Dale Carnegie
“Now is the time to give your workforce the opportunity.”. – Bethany