Everyone and everything seems so much more portable today due to COVID.  More people are living where they want to live because they can work remotely.  Managers have discovered better ways for them to manage remote workers.  All of this has opened new possibilities for choosing where we want to work and how we want to work.  And, as vaccinations continue and companies begin bringing workers back to the office, there is a grand reconsideration going on – resulting in a grand migration that is about to begin.

One of the services we offer is to assist people in updating their resumes and their social media pages – in preparation for a job transition.  During COVID, there was very little of this work – people stayed in place, unwilling to take a chance on a move.  Who wanted to transition during the crazy time of pandemic uncertainty?  But now, things have shifted, and people are examining what ‘back to work’ looks like for their organization and themselves.  I have seen a 200% increase in resume updates over the past eight weeks.  People are getting prepared to migrate.  Many of these migrations will be ‘regrettable losses’ for their organizations.

As part of the migration, individuals are asking ‘what do I want next?’.  We have discovered many new and creative ways of doing work during the past 18 months.  If those new ways worked for you and are being continued at your organization, you are likely to consider staying with that organization.  Conversely, if those ways worked for you and they are being rescinded post-COVID, you may be seeking out an organization that continues those ways.  Either way many people are realizing how many choices they have regarding work.  And it is quickly becoming a seller’s market.  Top talent is already looking at their options and preparing for their move.  They know that they can get a new position at any time, so they are preparing – evaluating what worked and didn’t work for them during the past year, defining what they want next, updating their resumes, networking with contacts, and researching available positions.  They are placing themselves in a position to be able to seize the right opportunity that fits for them now.

So – How do you retain your top talent and make your organization the one that this talent migrates to?  What characteristics are important?  Some things to consider include:

  • Work Activities – Is the amount of work reasonable? Are the expected results expected reasonable?  Or is it three people’s worth of work?  Rightsizing is important to have harmony between work and home life.
  • Decisions and Authority – How much flexibility and freedom is there to make decisions with additional approval? It is very frustrating to have to get three VP approvals for minor decisions.
  • Compensation – Is the package competitive? Is it flexible?  Is it adequate for the local cost of living?  The total package of salary, time off, and benefits should be considered.
  • Rewards – Is there a process for rewarding good results and performance? Are the rewards individualized?  Rewards must be specific for each person – what is rewarding to one isn’t necessarily rewarding to another.
  • Development – Is there a process for gaining skills and development? Are there regular opportunities to develop new skills?  The skills and development should contribute to advancement when linked with performance.
  • Company Culture – Is there meaning in the work beyond making a profit? Is the culture inclusive for all types of people?  Is good behavior acknowledged and poor behavior tolerated?  Once of the worst things an organization can do is to not confront poor behavior.  Everyone learns that there are no consequences and good performance learn that there is no advantage to good behavior.  Both items hurt trust and confidence as individuals consider – is this an organization I can trust?

Ban Ki-moon said, “Migration is an expression of the human aspiration for dignity, safety and a better future.”  While he meant broader human migration – the thought is still valid for worker migration.  If you want to stem the migration tide for your organization, get started by asking your top talent if they are currently satisfied and listen to their answers.  It is likely that what they say will apply to other candidates you want to retain, and candidates that you want to attract.  Considering these areas now will build the foundation so that you can retain your talent during the migration – even if everything isn’t completely in place.  Don’t wait until you lose your first person – it will be too late, and you’ll get stampeded by the migration.  Be proactive – without it your organization is likely to be the one left behind.

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