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Those darn employees

It is a common refrain across every industry and every size organization today. In addition to, “I am having trouble finding the right people or any people in some cases! And once we get them, keeping them is harder than ever.” There are a lot of innovative ways to address the shrinking labor pool and retention challenges. Are you using your brain well to find solutions vs. doing the same things over and over expecting different results?

  • Where are you sourcing candidates and how broadly are you searching?
  • Is your employee referral program something that drives real results and maintains awareness by all employees of roles that are open?
  • Are you actively recruiting alumni who left on good terms?
  • Are you using the same hiring practices you’ve always used?
  • Are you responding immediately (or darn close to it) when replying to potential candidates?
  • Do you have variable work hours (part time, 9am until 2pm – the parent shift, 2nd shift that is part time…)
  • Do you create an excellent experience at every touch point?
  • Are your interview teams trained and skilled at assessing the real characteristics required for success in the role?
  • Is your onboarding effective?
  • Do you have real development when someone is hired?

And once you find the right person, do you know the key drivers of employee engagement and how they are shifting? Gallup has been doing research for more than 75 years to determine how and what to measure to determine links to higher productivity and profitability. While many forces in the labor markets have changed (i.e., shrinking labor pool, changing generational needs and wants, evolving types of work – on site, remote, hybrid, etc.), core human needs still prevail when it comes to staying actively engaged in our jobs.

The Gallup 12 look simple on the surface:

  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  10. I have a best friend at work.
  11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

And yet, scores continue to decline.

Make sure you are doing the work that needs to be done at every level of your organization to address the above.

  • Get clear on winning at every level and with each individual
  • Constantly Inform, Inspire, & Engage™ (reach out to if you want our monthly assessment and checklist)

To feel informed, today’s employees need clarity on:

  1. The mission statement (why you exist)
  2. Guiding principles (how you will behave)
  3. Value propositions (what you offer to key stakeholders)
  4. Destination points (where you are going)
  5. Strategic priorities (areas of focus for the organization)
  6. Key initiatives (what you will do to get there)
  7. What difference does this make to me/my job/my team?

Today’s employees want to believe that their work is making a difference.  To inspire:

  • Share a compelling vision of what tomorrow looks like. How will that vision make the world a better place and improve lives?
  • Constantly discuss the aspirational components of your model. Why should employees aspire to achieve the goals of the organization?
  • Share why you believe the destination is compelling. What is it about where the company is going that inspires you?
  • Communicate with enthusiasm and passion.
  • Ask employees what the vision means to them. Share their responses via multiple channels.
  • Share positive customer feedback. Give people reasons to feel good about what the company does.
  • Celebrate achievement of milestones. We all want to be part of a winning team, so recognize the progress and success along the way to your goals.

The goal is to get employees talking about what the mission and goals mean to them individually.  The more they focus on these areas, the more likely you are to get buy-in and alignment.


Engaged employees bring more than just their bodies to work.  They bring their hearts and souls as well as their best thinking (and they are more productive if fully engaged).  To keep employees engaged:

  • Answer the question: why will we still win?
  • Get great at feedback.
  • Visit with them throughout the year to check on their progress. Make sure all individual goals remain aligned with company goals.
  • Share stories of how teams are aligned and achieving goals. Highlight team accomplishments and link them to the strategy they support.
  • Create an employee pledge wall or flip chart where people can affirm their commitment by listing one thing they will do differently to support the goals.
  • To measure employee understanding, commitment, inspiration, and engagement, take quick surveys following team or company meetings.
  • Solicit questions via email or intranet and address them in open forums. Publicly thank employees for raising the issues.


Reach out if you want further tools or support in getting and keeping the best talent in your organization. Don’t play hard to just not lose. Play to win!

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