Avery, Alex, & Ash: A cautionary tale
Many people felt compelled to declutter their living spaces between feeling trapped during the "safe at home" orders and the need to make room for work and learning spaces.
Then we saw a surge in divorces as people looked at their 24/7 home-life and realized that their relationship with their partner no longer sparked joy.
Next social and political tensions grew, causing people to remove themselves from social media platforms or trim their friends to escape the negativity.
Now businesses are returning to in-person operations, leading employees to re-evaluate their joy equation at work and sparking the Great Resignation.
To understand what sparks joy at work, you need to understand the three avatars personifying the varying levels of commitment and engagement at work.
ACTIVE AVERY feels tremendous pride and ownership at work. They have the opportunity to do what they do best daily. They feel heard, appreciated, and regularly receive affirmation of their value as a contributor. A strong, positive connection exists between the organization's purpose and values and their own.
APATHETIC ALEX is dependable and gets the job done but isn't passionate about their work and contribution. They rarely feel energized by their work and do not see the value of doing more than minimally required. They see their relationship with their employer as transactional and never intend to stay too long in a job or company.
ABSENT ASH is checked out, a warm body filling a spot on an organization chart. They resent their treatment at work and feel completely disconnected from the company's purpose. Their needs are not met at work, causing them to act out in ways that undermine the commitment of others. They announce their unhappiness loudly and often, seeking company in their misery.
Depending on the makeup of your workforce, the Great Resignation could be the nudge you've needed to embrace the wisdom of Good To Great (Jim Collins, 2000) and focus on getting the right people on the bus.
Identifying the Absent Ashs and encouraging their departure is essential to prevent a few rotten apples from spoiling the whole barrel. Active Averys don't want to carry dead weight. They want to be surrounded by coworkers who share their commitment and pride. They also don't respect leaders who tolerate Absent Ash behavior.
In other words, if you want to not only keep your Active Averys, but attract more of them, continuing to accept "warm bodies" is not an option.
Next, assess your operating norms to ensure you are meeting the four basic needs for a highly engaged workforce.
Third, revise your talent acquisition strategy to take advantage of the influx of career changers. According to a recent article on hrexchangenetwork.com, "A relaxation around an emphasis on previous work experience coupled with creative approaches to talent development is leading to employers finding a great amount of talent that they weren't seeing previously due to preconceived rules the company had around expectations and qualifications."
Connection is the key to sparking joy in every part of life. Now more than ever, you must have a people strategy that focuses on employee engagement. By focusing energy on cultivating the right environment for Active Averys, you are guaranteed to get the best out of every person, even if they only stay for two years. And, your reputation boost will make it easier to replace vacancies with more Active Averys.
If you need some help assessing and building your culture, let's chat. DM me or use this link to hop on my calendar.
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