I saw some very good advice recently in Forbes that offered a different approach for leaders who find themselves with floods of people entering and leaving the business.

Instead of battling the Great Resignation, the author suggested one concentrates on the Great Re-engagement.

It’s a brilliant idea, and here’s why.

People show up wanting to be engaged at work. They want to be fulfilled, challenged, and valued. This is true of your existing staff as well as new joiners.

The influx of new employees represents an incredible opportunity for the organisation to recast its operations, strengthen its employer brand, and capitalise upon the energy, ideas, and experience new employees bring to the workplace.

Similarly, agile leaders recognise the notion of re-engagement as a broad concept, because the expectations of employees and employers are still coming into alignment. Before one can truly engage a team, the expectations both sides hold around flexibility, purpose, compensation, and benefits, among other considerations, need to be in synch.

Simply put, there are a lot of moving parts right now, but waiting for everything to fall into place before acting would be a mistake.

“How can businesses make the most of all of this activity and movement? They need to be in a position of power that strategically gives them the advantage to capitalize on what potential employees may be looking for from them,” writes Neil Stanton for Forbes, in an article inviting leaders to think in terms of “The Great Reengagement.” “Think of it as moving from the Great Resignation to the Great Reengagement. Stay grounded, don’t panic, and take stock of what your company can do to grow the workforce while mitigating churn.”

Stay grounded, don’t panic, and take stock of how your organisation can grow the workforce whilst mitigating churn. This advice is marvelous in its simplicity because within each step is an opportunity to redouble the organsiation’s strengths.

Here is what I mean.

Stay grounded = reconnect with your core company purpose

In my mind, there is no better way to ground the entire team than reconnecting the organisation with your core purpose – new and existing employees alike.

Purpose has the power to motivate people intrinsically, and really, it’s no mystery: people want to feel their work is meaningful, and the majority of employees look to their work to provide a dimension of purpose to their lives. A study by McKinsey found that fully 70% of people said that their sense of purpose is largely defined by work.

Additionally, a cohesive purpose also has the remarkable ability to align the company, providing guide rails for the culture and – when the company purpose truly resonates with employees – creating the sort of esprit de corps that unites and motivates people and even contributes to their sense of belonging.

Don’t panic = arm yourself with fresh employee data

The worst thing a leader can do right now is to be reactionary. What may be the right course of action one day could wind up being dead wrong a month from now. Look no further than the raft of companies whose leaders communicated plans for remote working, only to change their minds later – after employees got used to the idea and in many cases, moved further away from the office. There are countless examples of these kinds of reactionary responses – and generally, they don’t end well.

Instead of reacting, seek the deeper truth. It may seem counterintuitive, but times of change and challenge are good times to survey employees. After all, the best test of the sailor is the storm. Surveying your employees and inviting their feedback when the organisation is under some duress will give you an unvarnished look into leaders’ performance and where your employees stand in terms of morale and mindset.

You will arm yourself with new employee data that will make workforce decisions much, much easier (and more likely to stick.)

Get creative to grow the workforce whilst mitigating employee turnover

Money isn’t the answer to either employee retention or successful recruiting, as many organisations are finding out. In fact, the CIPD has found that employers are struggling to increase pay any further as they attempt to attract talent. The CIPD has also noted in a recent Market Outlook report a dramatic reduction in employers saying they plan to increase pay in the future.

In short, look at this moment as an opportunity to recast the organisation by challenging your leaders to:

  • Recruit talent internally, by re-skilling and proving more development for employees,
  • If the question of working remotely, in-office, or hybrid  is still unsettled, consider it through the lenses of performance, culture, and efficiency to find the right answer for your team,
  • Take a more expansive view of flexibility for your employees,
  • Ensure your organisation’s Stay Factors are healthy and working in your favor.

I can’t help but believe that this truly is one of those eras in which huge changes will be ushered in within a remarkably short timeframe, and the organisations that will thrive will be those that build connections with their people and align employee expectations with business needs to everyone’s advantage.