Brilliance Lab

As we’re coming into the end of the year (known as the Golden Quarter) two types of business leaders emerge from amongst the rubble and successes of a massive year. With the upcoming festive season, you’re either excited for the socialising and ready to knock back your 1st (or 10th!) Aperol spritz, or you’re chained to your desk pushing out every last drop to hit those end of year targets.

Regardless of which category you fall into, this year’s break comes with a warning – don’t assume your staff are coming back to work next year.

Let me explain…

A change is coming.

In any given year, around 70% of employees consider leaving work while on the Christmas break and just over 1 in 2 workplaces will have at least 1 employee resign within the first 2 weeks after returning from Christmas break. But this year had a very different effect on all of us on a very human level.

With movements like the ‘Great Resignation’, ‘Silent Quitting’ and the incoming ‘Workplace Wave’ (more on those later), the number of people making plans to leave their job during the Christmas break is expected to be the highest rate ever seen in the Australian workforce. I know, it’s a bit dramatic, right? But in this case, keep calm and carry on isn’t going to work. The good news is there are things you can be doing as a business leader right now to minimise the risk and make sure that your staff return happy, energised and ready for a record-breaking year.

Losing a team member costs you anywhere from $5k-$30k by the time you advertise & recruit, not to mention the obvious disruptions to business performance, loss of organisational knowledge & valuable skills, the impacts to team dynamics and the 3-months+ of sunken salary (just to name a few!). I’m exhausted just thinking about it and now on to my 11th Aperol Spritz.

But it’s what you do now that has the biggest impact on whether your team S.O.A.R.s or falls coming into 2023, and whether they come back at all. And while some transition of workers during the festive season is normal, there are factors in play this year that multiplies the risk tenfold.

Let’s start with the obvious.

Everybody’s favourite excuse to cancel plans for the past couple of years, COVID. Although COVID is under control (or forgotten about?), the permanent disruptions to how we work are just about to hit the Australian shores. But that’s not the only thing you need to be thinking about.

Right now Australian businesses just like yours have up to 42% of their people facing fatigue and burnout and a massive 85% are disengaged from work. Not only does that have an impact on performance and productivity, but on a personal level the neuroscience tells us that these employees are at risk of irreversible damage to their executive cognitive functioning because of the environment they’re in which can damage their prefrontal cortex affecting their ability to learn, remember and think critically forever. And they’re not willing to risk it anymore.

So, what does all this mean for you?

With next year expected to be the biggest workforce transition to date (with some experts claiming that as many as 4 out of every 5 employees will switch companies in 2023) the combination of ‘The Great Resignation’, ‘Quiet Quitting’ and the ‘Workplace Wave’ is not just going to affect performance and cause disruptions, it’s going to change the way you do business forever.

Here’s what’s going on…

‘The Great Resignation’ began in early 2021 with 10% of the Aussie workforce quitting their jobs throughout the calendar year in a trend that economists don’t expect to slow down.

And if they’re not leaving, they’re just disengaging and doing less.

‘Quiet Quitting’ has seen employees turn up to work and do the absolute bare minimum for as long as possible. While on the other extreme, ‘Loud Leaving’ has employees defiantly and vocally standing up for themselves to their bosses and announcing their true worth as they depart the building (all filmed, of course, in front of a crowd for their Tik Tok followers).

This has left business leaders in a precarious position where, along with everything else you have to do to run your team, you now need to shift the gears on human connection because what once worked as a one size fits all approach to motivation and performance doesn’t work anymore. And this is the foundation of what’s fuelling what we’re expecting to hit early to mid-next year, the ‘Workplace Wave’.

The ripples for the ‘Workplace Wave’ began with COVID, and what you can expect is a major shift in what is accepted by employees when it comes to working conditions and their work environment. To put it bluntly, the workers are taking control of what they want and they have the numbers to do it!

The good news is, a lot of leaders (which most likely includes you) are already trying to do the right thing by their employees, so there’s a great foundation to build upon.

Here are the top 5 things you need to know right now to keep your people in 2023.

1. Get real about what your people want

While we love to think that people join our team because of our vision & mission, the majority of people still take jobs because it satisfies external motivators like money, security, social status, lifestyle, and other things they perceive as necessary to have a fulfilled life for them and their family. And as much as our positive cognitive biases make us believe that people are working with us because they’re passionate about what we do, the overwhelming research and evidence continues to show that the majority (around 80%) are motivated by external motivators, rather than love and passion.

Put simply, they will only work for you long-term if what they get out of the job helps them live the life they want to live. It’s all about helping them become the future version of themselves that they want to be.

Do you know what this looks like for your employees?

2. Employees are more fearless than ever

The days of employees staying in a job that doesn’t fulfil them are gone. People are less likely to stay in a job that they’re unhappy with, even if they need it and don’t have a backup. Last month, I spoke to an executive who was unfulfilled in their job, and was thinking about leaving but had nothing else lined up. A week later, they had quit their job, flown to Bali and were doing remote interviews and living cheaply until they secured their next role, at which point they would return back home. Employees are fearless, because they have more options than ever before.

Do you have a plan to retain your highly driven fearless employees?

3. Balance is out, harmony is in

Work-life balance is so ‘80s, so put away your fluro headband and join us in the present. People have figured out that they should work to live, and not live to work. But that doesn’t always mean remote working or big dollars. It means doing the work they want in the way that they want. They don’t want work-life balance, they want work-life harmony. A state where what they do for work and what they do outside of work coexist and fuel each other. And once you accept that the harmonic mindset isn’t changing, you can start to leverage it and make them never want to leave by taking your team to a whole new level of empowerment.

So, is your workplace honestly set up to let people live a life outside of work?

4. They want to enjoy the ride.

If you’ve got the right environment, the next question is – are they enjoying the ride? Because as much as we dream of a future version of ourselves, it’s not the final destination that makes us fulfilled. It’s through the journey and seeking of becoming that future version of themselves that your employees find fulfilment and this is what more and more people are not willing to compromise on. They have to enjoy some major aspects of what they do, or they won’t be doing it for long.

When your employees walk through the doors in the morning, how do you think they feel? Energised or deflated?

5. It’s up to you to let your employees S.O.A.R.

As a leader, you can’t create intrinsic motivation for anybody else because it needs to start with them. What you can do is encourage a growth mindset and create the right environment to allow your employees to S.O.A.R., and the right environment is both crucial and completely your responsibility. Using the acronym, S.O.A.R, you can help your employees do their best work by putting focus on 4 key areas:

Safety: In knowing they belong and their job is secure.

Opportunity: The right ones for them, and not just the ones you want them to take.

Autonomy: To do their job and be trusted.

Rewards: The types they truly value and desire.

Right now stop and think about the people who report directly to you. What are you doing to help them S.O.A.R? Do they feel safe? Do they have opportunities to explore and evolve? Are they allowed autonomy? And do they actually value the rewards you give them?

So where to from here?

The Golden Quarter has you sitting on the precipice of a pivotal point for you and your team with high risk and high opportunity as we head into the biggest break from work of the year. With over 2 million Australians ready and looking to leave their jobs right now, you should be taking steps above and beyond the usual to actively engage and connect with your team before the Christmas break so they come back next year. Remember, keep calm and carry on won’t cut it anymore.

Employees are taking back control, whether silently or loudly, with more than 7 in 10 Australians expected to consider a new employer during the Christmas break. And with your employees changing the way they’re working, it’s time to adapt the way you’re leading. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean putting down the Aperol Spritz.

Just because your team wants work-life harmony, don’t make the assumption that they want to do less. In fact, the complete opposite is true. They want to be engaged. They want to feel significant and they want to do work that is rewarding for them. Now more than ever, you have an opportunity to keep your people long-term. It’s up to you as a business leader to create the right environment, know what fuels them and know what recharges them to bring out their brilliance. You need to let them S.O.A.R, let them enjoy the ride and help them to become more clever, skilful and connected. Because it’s by igniting our brilliance that we find fulfilment, in both the professional and the personal.

To find out how we can help you and your team S.O.A.R. and bring out their brilliance, get in touch.