How to Win the Challenge of the 'Great Reassessment'

Agencies must boost employee morale to keep the talent they have

Driving relevance means driving growth. Join global brands and industry thought leaders at Brandweek, Sept. 11–14 in Miami, for actionable takeaways to better your marketing. 50% off passes ends April 10.

Sometime in May 2021, headlines began to dub the concerning trend of employees leaving their jobs, regardless of the industry, as the “Great Resignation” or as some are now calling it, the “Great Reassessment.” In the ongoing, unpredictable context of Covid-19, it is important now more than ever to consider the myriad of reasons for this latest shift in the talent market.

Because of the pandemic, the working norm has seen several waves of evolution throughout the past eighteen months. From remote and hybrid work to hybrid events, too much change too quickly makes people yearn for stability—especially when it comes to their profession.

In the marketing and advertising industry, where employees need to keep a pulse of what’s now and what’s next, as well as how to advise clients on navigating these changes, this responsibility can become overwhelming. Especially while juggling the additional personal stress given the upheavals in society and government as well as family responsibilities.

As new variants continue to impact the duration of the pandemic and questions about the Covid-19 vaccine booster shot continue to circulate, the work environment seems as inflexible and unpredictable as ever. The need for talent remains and is growing rapidly. As people reassess all aspects of their lives both personal and professional, the question now becomes: In the “Great Reassessment” era, how can agencies keep the talent they have?

Your first priority should be to boost internal morale and there are several steps you can take to amplify employees’ connection to the company.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Maintaining an open line of communication is key to gauging employee satisfaction or dissatisfaction before it’s too late. That starts with listening as it also offers the opportunity for employees to share what they are really experiencing.

Employees are telling companies what they value most, and that includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Flexible work schedules.
  • Remote work options.
  • Access to mental health resources.
  • Investment in their professional development.
  • Company cultures that reflect their own values.

When faced with employee dissatisfaction, take the time to explore the root causes. Determine which issues can be resolved in the short and long-term. This is also an opportunity to identify what other kinds of work employees might want to branch into, thus improving their experience with the company.

Up the autonomy

Pushing the idea of choice even further, it is important to provide employees with the flexibility needed to navigate the work landscape. Emerging studies have shown that most employees from all kinds of work structures—from a fully-distributed model to working exclusively in the office—would prefer more autonomy in choosing where and when they get work done. It’s increasingly clear that flexibility is the new currency.

Consider if you consistently treat employees with compassion and understanding.

Integrate open communication and flexibility into the company mission and policies. This acutely resonates with today’s workforce, and it’s one of the best ways to bolster industry appeal.

Work with compassion

Another often undervalued tactic is compassion. It is no secret that this is a hard time for everyone personally, professionally and in society. While we have long since adjusted to customs like wearing masks and keeping our distance, this period is one that will continue to make history, which comes with its own weight.

We are not as close to the end of the pandemic as we thought we would be by now, and that fact alone continues to take its toll. While it may seem like a no-brainer, evaluate your actions, and consider if you consistently treat employees with compassion and understanding.

Many employers are listening. They’re figuring out what hybrid models look like. They’re implementing flexible health care and time-off policies. And increasingly, they’re prioritizing people strategy right alongside business strategy.

Let’s ensure that the Great Reassessment is not the Great Resignation and instead it’s the Great Retention. If you’re looking to start a Great Retention, you must understand what’s driving your people—not only to inspire great work every day, but to give them reasons to stay when they’re considering other options.