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The great resignation is a thing, the evidence is everywhere in the media and everyone I know is seeing a big increase in people leaving in their organizations. Consequently, if you want to grow your business in this new normal, then having and keeping the right people is the key to making that happen. It is even more crucial if you are building toward an exit in your business, people are what create the real value in every business, and if you lose them the value or even sellability of your business is threatened.

Beating the great resignation is not rocket science, it can't be because it is a problem every business can and must solve. Lots of experts including McKinsey are talking about why this is happening, most of which boil down to people not buying into the corporate culture. My focus is what can we do about it? How do we re-engage people to stop this catastrophic attrition? Here are 4 keys you can use to build your retention strategy:

  1. Understand How People Work - Dan Pink on what truly motivates people

  2. Expose the Elephant in the Room - engage in conversations that matter to people

  3. Grow Them or Lose Them - Training is a proven engagement strategy

  4. Build a "We're in This Together" Culture - Train Everyone Together & start with Leadership Without a Title

UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE WORK - Dan Pink has been doing research on what truly motivates us in our work and his findings are both fascinating and surprising. For knowledge-based workers, the big drivers for engagement are autonomy, mastery and purpose. We want to be empowered and self-directed, not micro-managed. We want to get better at things, we have a need to grow and to excel. Lastly, we are purpose-driven, we need to feel like what we do makes a difference and aligns with our core values. Money is only an issue to the extent that it is fair for the role, otherwise, it is not a factor based on the research. This also explains why sustainability and the new ESG movement is such a big win for companies as it aligns with most people's values in the new normal.

EXPOSE THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM - In most offices I go into the great resignation is on people's minds, so your best strategy is not to assume, instead engage them in meaningful conversations that matter to them. Find out where people are at, their thoughts, issues, concerns and ideas. Your focus in the conversations shouldn't be to influence or problem solve, instead it should be to simply, emphatically listen and understand. When people can talk about what's on their minds, they feel less trapped, it is a great pressure relief valve and will give you what you need to make more informed decisions on what to do.

GROW THEM OR LOSE THEM - HBR has written extensively on this and even pre-resignation has challenged business leaders to recognize that they must either grow their people or they will lose them. According to the HBR report and supported by similar reports by PWC and Deloitte, training needs to be tailored to engage people by making it:

  • Focused, multimodal & collaborative in design; interactive / experiential

  • Relevant to their immediate needs; it is leadership and soft skills they see as crucial to their advancement

  • Purpose driven; explaining the “Why” of the material, not just what & how

  • A "Chill” environment; relaxed & safe

  • Personal; instruction that builds relationships & rapport by listening & focusing on each other

BUILD A "WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER" CULTURE - For millennia the military has understood that people fight to protect and support the people in their tribe. Training is the number 1 tool they use to build those tribal connections. All relationships are based on trust and we don't trust what we don't understand, therefore training needs to involve people collaboratively learning and getting to know each other in the process. The best solution we've found is to train everyone together and to start with leadership behaviours and skills as people see this as key to their future success. Robin Sharma's "Lead Without a Title" book frames 2 key principles, a passion for excellence and wanting to make a difference, and of building great cultures by training everyone in the organization to develop this mindset. We've created a training format we call a Networkshops™ that involves everyone, builds relationships through shared language, shared values and shared experience where everyone is equally involved in collaborative small group discussions to transform best practice concepts into practical real life strategies.

The attached brochure outlines the structure of the Future Leaders Development Program we've created to meet this need. It is by far the most effective program we've seen to connect generations, break down silos, create a one tribe culture and make people feel valued and engaged Even better it qualified for government training subsidies that can cover up to 2/3 of the cost and it qualifies for professional development hours with most professional associations. All things considered universal future leaders training is the best value tool we've seen to combat the great resignation, regardless of whether you want to grow your business to the next level or want to ensure a successful exit. If you'd like to learn more, please get a hold of us, we're here to help.

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