How This Age-Old Soft Skill Can Help Resolve the Great Resignation

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At the onset of 2020, many companies were crippled by financial hardships, fighting to stay afloat. Now, as we attempt to return to normal, businesses are faced with a new and peculiar issue: losing top talent to the “Great Resignation.” 

Dealing with the “Great Resignation” has been challenging across many industries from a leadership perspective. HR professionals are faced with a particularly tough time as they struggle to recruit and retain talent. Not to mention, they’re understaffed themselves — all amid an impending return to the office and hybrid workplace model that has complicated employee retention even further.

Now more than ever, the HR industry is leaning on relationships to soldier through this disruptive time – relationships in their department, at their organization more broadly, with their staffing and recruiting agencies, and with potential candidates.

Though both the work environment and the hiring process is toggling between virtual, hybrid, and in-person today, you can use countless tools to foster organic relationships regardless of environment.

Halting Employee Loss During the “Great Resignation”

Today, work flexibility is currency. The level of work-life balance made possible during the pandemic was an unprecedented opportunity, but in this change arose the challenge of keeping employees and candidates engaged. 

Especially when it comes to finding and connecting with candidates, HR recruiters must build meaningful relationships to attract new talent to their firm. HR executives are the primary contact that candidates interact with and therefore set an example for a company’s values and corporate culture. HR professionals can help their firms retain top talent by becoming an ally to recruits and employees. 

A recent analysis by Gallup discovered that 48% of America’s working population are actively job searching or watching for other opportunities, and renames the “Great Resignation” as “The Great Discontent.” Before the pandemic, employees had little choice but to compromise their time and comfort for an excellent job title, salary, benefits, and perks. But as the workforce has embraced flexibility, few are willing to go back. 

People are no longer willing to spend years of their lives in work-related discontent. The “Great Resignation” wasn’t triggered by a lack of desire to work but by people demanding happier lifestyles. HR departments are being pushed to think creatively about the corporate attributes that employees and candidates value. 

Employees expect significant relationships within their organization. The concept of having distant, guarded relationships with fellow employees and senior leadership is a thing of the past.

In a similar vein, employees also expect more meaningful work. To attract and maintain talent, companies must make an effort to assign higher-level, strategic, and creative “human” tasks over repetitive and mundane ones. Employees want to impact their organization and play a more significant role in their company vision.

No longer willing to sit on the sidelines while senior management calls the shots, employees expect a voice and a hand in defining their organization’s values. This desire is fueled by a long-overdue call for diversity and inclusion in corporate America. 

Morale is crucial to combatting the “Great Resignation.” Employees who experience success and forward motion within their company are, to put it simply, more likely to feel motivated and empowered in their roles and less likely to leave. This is something HR departments need to invest in – ensuring that any indicators of success are clearly evident to all employees and are repeated often. 

Keeping Employees and Candidates Engaged

HR professionals have historically been focused on employee engagement. Still, as companies continue to postpone their return-to-office plans, we need to find new ways to keep people motivated and enthusiastic about their jobs. 

So, it falls to the HR department to boost employee loyalty during this time. How can they navigate this evolving, distributed work structure? By helping employees maintain relationships and maximize productivity using integrated digital tools, HR departments can help to solve common remote-work challenges

With many HR departments struggling with candidate management and employee engagement (because of remote-first hires and the continued pandemic), CRM and task management software can alleviate the headache and improve all types of relationships.

The level of visibility that CRM and task management software offer together can help HR professionals build better bonds with potential candidates and colleagues – all through better insights.

Tools to Boost Communication and Collaboration

It becomes easier to hire talent during the “Great Resignation” when HR departments and recruiting agencies are aligned. But as HR professionals are also resigning from their roles, these once established relationships are dissolving. By implementing CRM software within HR departments, new hires can more easily become acquainted with the established recruiter relationships of the past regime and talent management at the company as a whole.

Unlike an ATS (applicant tracking system), CRMs allow HR professionals to manage relationships externally, with candidates and recruiters, and internally amongst employees. Through complex recruitment and retention processes – with numerous people, documents and tracking required – a CRM can automatically capture and connect all moving pieces, so nothing falls through the cracks, and HR professionals can concentrate on what matters most: relationships with recruiters and talent.

Synching both recruitment and employee management within a CRM, instead of using siloed, HR-specific software makes it possible to determine which recruiters your department has historically worked with, find their contact information, and view all past communication with them. 

For example, Diag Partners, a boutique recruiting firm, needed a system that could integrate with their Google suite, allow customization, and organize their process from top to bottom while managing three different pools of people: their potential clients, current clients, and candidates. Because Diag doesn’t rely on job posts to recruit candidates, an ATS built with this functionality at its center wasn’t something they needed or wanted.

Instead, they opted for a tool that offered more comprehensive features to organize their entire company beyond applicants. Diag now uses a CRMas their primary source of information to ensure that the whole recruitment process stays organized, which manages everyone’s records.

But morale-boosting tools are just as necessary as productivity-boosting ones. HR departments must promote digital communication methods that allow team bonding and promote co-worker wins in a remote-first environment.

For example, instituting blog posts and town hall platforms can help bring full transparency to an entire organization. Hiring a people success manager can help celebrate and empower employee achievements. Implementing and regularly using a “kudos” messaging channel will help celebrate and appreciate team members’ accomplishments. 

Choosing communication and collaboration tools that can integrate to more naturally capture human communication, keep teams connected, and increase productivity has become a vital step in successfully managing both employees and candidates.

Companies remain competitive when they foster their unique human culture, an innovation that comes from collaboration, and a sense of transparency. It all comes down to relationship building, a soft skill that is underutilized but can make all the difference in preserving the health of a business and keeping talent.


By Dennis Fois, CEO, Copper.


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By Dennis Fois