Archives February 2022

Solve The C-Word Problem & The Great Disengagement By Rehiring Your Employees

A new Gallup analysis finds that 48% of America’s working population is actively job searching or watching for opportunities. The numbers are not as evident here in Canada, but I suspect it is similar and comparable.

Businesses face a staggeringly high quit rate — 3.6 million Americans resigned in May alone — and a record-high number of unfilled positions. And Gallup discovered that workers in all job categories, from customer-facing service roles to highly professional positions, are actively or passively job hunting at roughly the same rate.

Read more about the cost of bad hires.

Employees who are looking for a job or watching for opportunities

September 2019 March 2021
% %
Actively Disengaged 69 74
Not Engaged 51 55
Engaged 29 30
Total 46 48
GALLUP, (U.S. stats) SEPT 2019, MARCH 2021

People call it the “Great Resignation,” and the Gallup data show that the highest quit rate is among disengaged workers.

Employee resignation and employee engagement

Unfortunately, most employees are disengaged. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report identified an employee engagement rate of 20% — 34% in the U.S. and Canada.

  • Highly engaged teams are 14% to 18% more productive than low-engagement teams.
  • Low engagement teams typically have turnover rates that are 18% to 43% higher than highly engaged teams.
  • Replacing existing workers costs one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary.
  • Gallup finds that it takes more than a 20% pay raise to lure most employees away from a manager who engages them and next to nothing to poach most disengaged workers.

It certainly seems that the “Great Resignation” is less an industry, role or pay issue than a workplace health & values issue.

Considering that most employees are disengaged, each new hire will likely join a disengaging team.

And that means they will probably leave in short order.

This is a self-defeating cycle, but it can be interrupted.


Interrupted the ‘Great Resignation’ by ‘Rehiring’ your employees.

After two years of the C-word (COVID), now is a great time to rehire your current employees and double down on onboarding new hires.

As leaders, we have a real opportunity to go to our employees and say, ‘Remember when you were first hired? Let’s go back and reinforce the culture and values that attracted you to us in the first place.’

In the case of existing employees, let’s re-onboard them. And I am not talking about the ‘stupid ergonomics/how to sit at your desk’ lecture. Or the ‘Read all of these policies and sign off on them before we tell you where the bathroom is’ session.

Our people are not morons.

They know that despite all of our protestations that we are a family, and our values are the highest in the industry if we focus on rules, policies and procedures, the family & values part is a lie.

They see that what gets oxygen and attention are the Organization’s actual values.

So tell great stories about how you and the Organization live your values.

Populus Group curates a series of culture-related questions and has each new hire call an existing employee each day.

The new hire asks the questions, and the current employee tells a story about their experiences.

Read about the three exercises you can do with your team that will build a healthy culture

Questions like:

  • What causes conflict here, what does it look like, and how is it resolved?
  • How does the company support me as a family member?
  • How are decisions made when there’s disagreement and stakes are high?
  • When and how do people like to give and receive feedback?
  • Titles aside, who in the Organization has the power to get things done?

It’s time to be vulnerable and tell your existing team that we know we may have lost our way due to COVID. Or we may have done a poor job of onboarding you the first time.

But you want to do better, so we will rehire you.

And we are going to do it better!

In other words, reversing the Great Resignation requires fixing the Great Disengagement — and you and your leaders are critical.

Tina Turner asked, what’s love got to do with it? – Is There a Place for Love in Leadership?

“A company is stronger if bound by love than by fear,” the late Herb Kelleher, co-founder, CEO and Chairman of Southwest Airlines, once said.

I remember very clearly the first time I heard the word “love” uttered in a leadership context. I was about to teach a workshop on leadership to a group of up-and-coming junior officers. Before being introduced, the unit leader told the room full of mostly men they needed to love the people they were responsible for leading.

You could have heard a pin drop. Coming from this soldier’s soldier, the L-word was utterly unexpected.

Is it okay to use the word “love” in the workplace?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines love as “a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” As leaders, we need to understand that we may be the most important person in the lives of the individuals we lead.

I don’t recall ever being told that a Boss loved me, but I can remember, as if it happened yesterday, the times when a boss called me by my first name, told me they were proud of me, protected me from someone who was blaming me for something I didn’t do.

Read about Recognition 

All demonstrations of love. All demonstrations of belonging to something bigger than myself.

This isn’t just my opinion. A considerable amount of evidence suggests that social disconnection is widespread today. CIGNA first reported data in 2018 that chronic loneliness in the US has reached epidemic levels based on its research findings.

Beyond helping people feel safe and belonging, there are several compelling reasons outstanding leaders see the difference love can make in the workplace.

Love inspires performance excellence and resilience. Serving others is a reflection of love. Research shows that love has improved performance and protected people from stress and burnout. Call center staff raising money saw their revenue quintuple after meeting a recipient of that aid in person. Radiologists increased their diagnostic accuracy by 46-percent when the CT scans included facial photos of the patients. The most effective leaders inspire people by connecting them with the people they serve to show them how their work is helping others.

Love pulls together. Taking time to get to know and care for the people you lead brings about greater unity, especially as your team faces adversity. When love exists among the team members, they are more likely to pull together than tear one apart. They feel the bond of connection helps them overcome the inevitable obstacles every organization encounters.

Love overlooks minor offences. When love is present in a team, department or organization, people are more likely to assume the best in others and give them the benefit of the doubt. Absent love, potentially offending words or deeds are more likely to bring about retaliation and sprout rivalries that undermine performance.

How healthy is Your Organization? Take the test

Relationship Excellence Enhances Task Excellence

Critics say that love makes a work culture too soft. They are concerned that promoting the positive relational side of work will negatively impact productivity or make it harder to hold people to a high standard.

This is quickly addressed by having leaders communicate that being intentional about achieving excellence and results is expected so people don’t lose sight of their importance. And when standards are not met, take action to close the performance gap. This reinforces that, along with love, task excellence and results are essential to serving people well.

What critics miss is that relationship excellence enhances how tasks are performed. People who work in an organization love the people they work with and serve through their occupation. They work harder to please them. They care about the quality of the product or service they provide, and they offer it in a way that reflects love.

Employees of a business that reflects love also interact in loving ways. They are supportive, encouraging, patient, kind, empathetic and caring. 

Gallup Research has shown that the people we work with and how we interact with them are more important to job satisfaction than we do. Engaged workers give more effort in their work, align their behaviour with their company’s goals, communicate and cooperate more, and actively think of ways to innovate. 

Read more about appreciation. 

So, what’s love got to do with it?

Few leaders use the L-word.

So the next time you hear a leader speaking about “love” in terms of how colleagues treat one another and work together, pay close attention.

As it turns out, love is a powerful source of competitive advantage.

In the words of the great philosopher, Tina Turner, what’s love got to do with it?