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The Great Resignation: What Organizations Must Learn


The Great Resignation: What Organizations Must Learn

With a near-record 11 million job openings across the US, new research finds that prospective employees prioritize well-being benefits ­­— including financial, mental, emotional, social, physical, and career perks. The Great Resignation, as it has been called, has left employers scrambling to figure out new ways to turn the tide of departing talent.

In our own ongoing research, we have surveyed almost 3,000 professionals in our Resilient Leader Assessment ( This research points to reasons why so many people left their jobs in the Great Resignation, and ways companies can respond to turn the challenge into an opportunity.

The growth opportunity is to understand at a deeper level why people are leaving, to gain a better understanding of your workplace and your workers, and to leverage the change that’s occurring for your company’s growth.

There are many reasons large numbers of people have left their jobs since the pandemic began. Burnout and exhaustion are commonly cited as reasons medical and other frontline workers have quit their jobs in the pandemic. But what about the countless other employees who have left professional positions that don’t necessarily involve saving lives, directly serving the public, or working in hazardous conditions?

Our research points to another reason people have been resigning: They are seeking to fill a gap between what they say is most important in their lives, and how they are actually allocating their time and energy.

Our assessment is a proprietary 16-question tool designed to gauge the resiliency level of participants. We ask participants to rank their level of agreement or disagreement with a number of statements. Based on the answers, we provide a resiliency rank in each of four areas: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual resilience. We then aggregate those scores to identify trends.

For the statement, “I’m engaged in a livelihood that is in line with my core values and beliefs,” the aggregate score has run surprisingly high (85), putting our participants in what we consider the “green zone” on this measure. However, there is also broad agreement with this statement: “There are significant gaps between what I say is most important in my life and how I actually allocate my time and energy.” That put our participants in the “red zone” with an aggregate score around 55. Their score for the statement “I don’t invest enough time and energy in making a positive difference to others or to the world” is also in the red at 59.

The news is a constant drumbeat of all that is wrong with the world. It’s only natural for compassionate, empathetic, self-aware human beings to ask themselves “What am I doing about it?”

These results support a common narrative around the Great Resignation ­— that the pandemic is causing people to reevaluate what is most important in their lives. This is good for individuals, but it creates a challenge for organizations losing experienced and talented employees, managers, and top-level leaders.

The growth opportunity in this moment is to understand at a deeper level why people are resigning in order to gain a deeper understanding of your workplace and of your talent. This will make your organization, your culture, and your ability to retain talent stronger and more resilient. But what does resilient really mean?

We define resilience as how we recharge, and leverage change and uncertainty as catalysts for growth. But resilience in corporate culture has traditionally meant something else entirely: being able to endure more than the competition, work longer hours, burn the candle at both ends, take whatever hits come your way, and keep going. That’s not how you develop long-term resilience, performance, engagement, or loyalty. It’s how you burn people out.

Stress and strategy are mutually exclusive. You can’t think creatively when you’re under stress. When you’re tired, you’re toast. When your workforce is too exhausted to deal with ever-present change, they’re either going to perform in a mediocre way or they’re going to get so frustrated that they’re going to leave.

The news of the Great Resignation is organizations have burned people out. For too long they have not cared about the exhaustion of their employees, and whether those employees are spending time on what is important to them versus what they’re being paid to do.

It’s time to change that. Here are a few ways to do it.

Model Transparency for Transformation: In many work cultures, people are not willing to speak honestly about the stress they are under or ask for help. Leaders can change that by speaking truthfully and transparently and listening to their employees’ challenges and needs. Organizations that are open to listening to what’s really going on within the company will learn what they need to be able to help their people become more resilient.

Build Recovery Rituals: There are simple practices anyone can do to recharge. Recovery in the typical workday is just a series of state changes that you are consciously crafting and executing so you can toggle back and forth between being on, with full focus and creativity and everything you’ve got to do for your work, and being off, truly at rest.

Create a Culture of Resilience: How can we operationalize the concept of resilience going forward? It can’t just be words. It has to be tangible, this commitment to our employees’ well-being. We must be willing to make mistakes and to get feedback. We have to genuinely be interested in listening and learning so that we can try something new and find out what works.

Practice “Pause-Ask-Choose”: We developed this strategy to help leaders build resilience within themselves and their organizations.

-What do you do when you’re in an uncontrollable rip tide of rapid change? You stop fighting. Yes, that’s counterintuitive, but pausing will give you an awareness of how much energy you’re expending and how little it’s getting you. It’s a time to literally catch your breath so you can reframe whatever challenge you face.

-This is the chance to discover deeper meaning in the challenge you’re facing by asking questions such as “What is the creative opportunity presented by what is happening?” and “What am I not seeing?” In this way, you begin to reframe what is happening so you can ride the wave of change instead of fighting it.

-This is deciding how we will act based on what we’ve discovered by pausing and asking. We may choose to act or not to act and instead recharge for the time when action will make sense. This might include consciously ritualizing small, daily practices for our personal recovery to create mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual harmony and resilience.

The Great Resignation is just one of the challenges business leaders face in this time of massive and unrelenting change. Now’s the time to be thinking about how you’re going to take care of the people who are staying, the new people you will attract, and even the people who will come back. Instead of looking over their people, leaders must learn to look after them.


About Adam: Best-selling author, keynote speaker, and resilience expert Adam Markel inspires leaders to master the challenges of massive disruption in his upcoming book, “Change-Proof — Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience” (McGraw-Hill, February 2022). Adam is author of the #1 Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Publisher’s Weekly best-seller, “Pivot: The Art & Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life.” Learn more at

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5 Ways Leaders Can Use Empathy to Increase Employee Job Satisfaction

As many workplaces struggle to retain and hire employees during the “Great Resignation,” leaders don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves. But it may be time for more of them to feel empathy toward their workers.

Ernst & Young’s 2021 Empathy in Business Survey showed around 50% of employees quit a previous job because their boss wasn’t empathetic to their struggles at work or in their personal lives. On the other hand, nearly 90% of workers who were queried believe empathetic leadership creates loyalty, and 85% say that it increases productivity.

Empathetic leadership is a must in today’s COVID-affected workplace, as employees struggle with burnout, working from home and other issues, according to research by Catalyst, a nonprofit that works to advance women in leadership positions. But until more business owners, executives and managers put a priority on listening to their employees and showing them they care, workers will look for companies that are more tuned in to their concerns, says Kathleen Quinn Votaw, the author of DARE to CARE IN THE WORKPLACE: A Guide to the New Way We Work.

“Most people do not know how to truly understand someone else’s point of view without letting their own thoughts, opinions, and emotions get in the way,” Quinn Votaw says. “Leaders often sit in their own place of judgment rather than using empathy as the bridge to understanding and connection.”

Quinn Votaw says that while empathy has gained importance in the work culture in recent years, many managers aren’t prepared for that role.

“Leading with empathy means understanding and accepting that people are not always operating at their very best,” she says. “Issues from home affect work lives. Working within and around that reality is the best way to create a place where people want to come to work.”

Quinn Votaw offers these tips on how leaders can lead with empathy and enhance the employee experience:

Be authentic. “Like actors in a Shakespearian play, we play roles versus showing up authentically,” Quinn Votaw says. “We have been taught to hide our true selves and display a false sense of bravado. To lead with empathy, get beyond the facade we all walk around with. Go the extra step – with your willingness to dig deep in terms of caring and asking questions that convey your interest in them as people.”

Communicate with a personal touch. A leader who consistently communicates with a personal touch for a variety of reasons – praise for the employee, concern and support for them – builds morale and increases retention, Quinn Votaw says. “The more personal they are, the more appreciated they are by the employees.”

Make space for connection. Quinn Votaw says leaders need to respect how their employees need personal connections with each other, and also says leaders should personally connect with employees once or twice a week outside of regular meetings. “Make time for more social and genuine connections in virtual meetings,” she says. “Have fun with virtual coffee chats, happy hours, trivia contests, or scavenger hunts.”

Provide remote workers with the tech support they need. ”There’s a growing economic inequality crisis with remote workers not having money for or access to technology,” Quinn Votaw says. “No one wants to lose out on high-quality talent because they lack funds for high-speed internet or a computer. Create a program to provide office equipment for your employees so they can have a functional setup in their personal space.”

Respect the boundaries of work and home life. Working in a remote environment has thrown off a lot of employees. “It was easy to have barriers and work/life balance when we commuted,” Quinn Votaw says. “Leaders can help  employees create a home space where they can turn work on and off, which boosts productivity, enhances connection and creates a healthier work/life balance.”

“Empathy is not about you, the leader,” she says. “It’s about taking time to listen, putting yourself in someone else’s place, and providing what they need in that moment.”


Kathleen Quinn Votaw ( is the CEO of TalenTrust, a strategic recruiting and human capital consulting firm. She is the author of DARE to CARE IN THE WORKPLACE: A Guide to the New Way We Work. Regarded as a key disruptor in her industry, Quinn Votaw has helped thousands of companies across multiple industries develop purpose-based, inclusive communities that inspire employees to come to work. Her company has been recognized in the Inc. 5000.


8 Effective Holiday Incentives for Supply Chain Employees

The holiday season can be the busiest time of year for supply chain companies. USPS alone delivers nearly 16 billion packages and pieces of mail during the holidays. With e-commerce continuing to grow, logistics professionals can expect these peak seasons to become increasingly busy.

This skyrocketing demand puts increased pressure on the workforce. Supply chains often need more employees and higher productivity from their current workers to remain efficient through the season. As labor shortages continue to plague the industry, that can be a challenge.

Logistics businesses need ways to attract new workers or incentivize current ones to be productive or work longer hours. Here are eight such incentives that could prove effective during the holiday season.

1. Cash Bonuses

One of the most effective incentives is also the most straightforward. Money is a powerful motivator at any time of year, but during the holidays, when workers are likely spending more, it may be even more enticing. According to one survey, 44% of employees quit to earn more money elsewhere, so monetary incentives can convince them to stay through the holidays.

Supply chain companies can take multiple routes to this end. The most straightforward is to increase hourly wages during peak seasons, but that’s not the only option. Businesses can also offer a one-time holiday bonus, tiered rewards for shifts taken, or other financial incentives. The holiday shopping peak may help offset these costs, too.

2. Extra Time Off

A similar option is to give employees who work extra during the holiday season additional time off. Providing days away from work at another time of year makes up for the time they put in around the holidays. These incentives can also follow a tier system, with workers earning more time off as they work more holiday hours or reach new productivity goals.

Like cash incentives, these rewards can take several forms. One option is to give workers an extra paid vacation day or two to use at their discretion. Another is to increase their number of sick days, or companies could give workers more flex time.

This last option may be the most effective. Studies show that 82% of employees today would be more loyal if they had flexible work options.

3. Discounts at Local Establishments

One more unique alternative is to offer gift cards or discounts at businesses in the area. Many businesses have programs where employers can provide discounts or free services to their employees, and if that’s not available, gift cards likely are. These incentives are similar to cash bonuses but offer a specific chance for workers to try something new or visit their favorite place.

For example, employers could give employees working overtime a complimentary month’s gym membership. As workers gear up for their New Year’s resolutions, they may appreciate the opportunity. Other items, like gift cards for local businesses, can help them complete their holiday shopping or treat themselves.

4. Holiday Parties

Supply chain organizations could also embrace the holiday spirit and throw a party for their employees. This time to unwind and have fun with co-workers can help mitigate the stress of working during this season, motivating employees to push through it. Social events also make excellent incentives because a sense of community can improve worker satisfaction and productivity.

Parties should include food, drinks, games, and if employees would be interested, optional gift exchanges. Employers can even find alternatives to the classic Christmas turkey to keep things fresh and appeal to more people.

5. New Equipment

Sometimes, holiday incentives can lead to longer-term benefits for employers. One such example is to provide new workplace equipment if enough employees work through the holidays or reach a pre-defined productivity goal. This could include more comfortable office chairs, easier-to-handle pallet jacks, elevators to provide a way around stairs, or similar upgrades.

These new tools will boost productivity in the long run, so they help employers too. Workers will appreciate them because they make their jobs easier. While this option may not be as enticing to employees, it can still be effective, and it offers a win-win scenario.

To determine what upgrades will be the most enticing, employers should listen to their workers’ complaints. If there are any consistent issues that new equipment can solve, that should be the prize.

6. Charitable Donations

Around this time of year, employees may feel more charitable, thanks to the holiday spirit. That gives employers another less conventional but effective incentive: charitable giving. Instead of rewarding workers directly, businesses can make donations in their name to the charity of their choice.

Companies can either ask individual workers where they’d like donations to go or poll the workforce. In either case, the business will end up giving to a cause that employees care about in return for their hard work. Knowing they’re making a profound difference can give employees the motivation they need to work through the holidays.

7. Professional Development Opportunities

One of the most common reasons employees feel dissatisfied with and leave a position is a lack of career development opportunities. In fact, 20% of workers who quit in 2019 did so for professional development reasons. Offering opportunities for employees to advance their careers could have the opposite effect.

As a reward for working through the holidays, supply chain organizations could provide a choice of development paths. Workers could take complimentary classes in an area, attend training seminars, or work briefly in another department. Employees who long for more options in their careers will be motivated to push through the holiday season for these incentives.

8. Public Recognition

Sometimes, all an employee needs to feel motivated is recognition for a job well done. Reports show that nearly half of all Americans feel lonelier now than usual, so knowing that someone else recognizes and appreciates them can go a long way.

Supply chain companies can offer recognition-related incentives in several ways. One option is to create a friendly competition where top-performing employees during the holiday peak receive public recognition and a place on a “wall of fame.” Alternatively, employers could write handwritten notes of appreciation to all workers.

This reward pairs nicely with others, too. Employers could recognize exceptional workers in front of their peers at holiday parties or reward top performers with vacation days or material prizes.

Motivate Employees This Holiday Season

It can be challenging to keep workers motivated through the holidays, but it’s not impossible. Any of these eight ideas, or a mixture of several, could push employees to perform at their best through this annual peak.

As labor shortages continue and e-commerce rises, holiday motivation becomes increasingly crucial. Regardless of the specifics, every supply chain organization should consider rewarding their employees around this time of year.


How Can Warehouses Attract New Talent in 2022?

For the first time in a while, it seems as though workers are holding more power than their employers across all industries, including the supply chain. While warehouses are experiencing a period of unprecedented growth, thanks to the boom of e-commerce, the labor market isn’t able to keep up. As the industry continues to expand and productivity demands keep increasing, warehouses face a staffing problem. There’s a growing labor shortage in the logistics sector, making it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain employees.

While the labor shortage began long before the pandemic, the problem has intensified over the last year as a rampant rise in online shopping, rash of store closures, and mandatory social distancing hampered warehouse operations.

During this unprecedented labor shortage, how can warehouse managers focus on recruiting well in the new year? What are tried and true tactics that will still carry over, and what are some new out-of-the-box ideas to explore in this uncharted territory?

1. Offer Competitive Compensation

Monetary compensation is probably the number one factor when workers are deciding between similar jobs. In fact, warehouse employees ranked pay as their highest priority for 11 years in a row. Being able to offer competitive salaries is one of the most important ways to remain competitive to applicants. Aside from wages, benefits like generous matching 401ks and retirement savings plans can help attract applicants. These incentives, particularly those with longer-term payoffs, will also help retain current workers.

2. Provide Promising Career Paths

There is a common saying in the workplace, “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.” This holds true in the warehouse environment, where grueling physical labor, rigid shifts and undesirable work conditions are more common than in other professions. Perhaps more than any other industry, warehouses must invest the time and money in hiring and retaining top talent in middle management. Recruiting, promoting, and training quality managers can make employees feel valued and appreciated by fostering a collaborative culture, improving communication and processes and soliciting feedback from front-line workers. Managers that encourage and listen to feedback from warehouse workers will not only increase employee satisfaction and retention, but also gain valuable insight that can ultimately improve operations, increase efficiency and reduce costs.

To that end, providing thoughtful promotion and training opportunities is one of the best ways to prevent high turnover rates. Workers are less likely to be incentivized to stay very long if they don’t feel there is room for career opportunities. Employees who are promoted within three years have a 70 percent chance of staying, compared to just 45 percent with those who aren’t. According to the same study, workers who moved laterally had a 62 percent chance of staying. Any kind of opportunity to move within the company will attract and retain employees, but upward mobility is key. Promotions are great, but they aren’t the only means of providing growth. There are smaller, equally effective, steps like rewarding productivity with incremental raises.

3. Become A Known Name

While posting on popular job boards and paying for advertisements will help get the word out about your open positions, doing the work to become a local community name could give certain companies a competitive edge. Potential workers will be more likely to accept a position with a company they recognize, than one they’ve never heard about. If you get connected within the community, you’ll appeal more to the local workforce. This can be accomplished by establishing a presence and making relationships with trade schools, community colleges, and universities. Try and partner with these institutions to appear at job fairs or establish student work programs. Sponsoring or partnering with local nonprofits or community groups is another way to become a community staple.

4. Create Flexible Schedules

Warehouses are known for pretty rigid schedules for a reason; they objectively make it easier to manage a warehouse, but can also be off-putting to potential employees, especially in a present and post-pandemic world. Flexibility is a necessity for many workers and a feature that many employers may not offer. You can stand apart from the competition by adapting schedules to people’s needs. Flexible scheduling will also help retain employees, allowing them the ability to not sacrifice personal endeavors and responsibilities. Being able to adapt their schedule to the rest of their life provides a benefit they won’t be quick to abandon.

5. Establish an Employee Referral Program

An often overlooked tactic for employee recruitment and retention is implementing an employee referral program. It’s an effective incentive for employees when they can earn a bonus or extra time off from a successful referral hire. These rewards will encourage employees to help you recruit more talent and improve workplace morale. This is because referrals translate into your employees working with people they already know. This familiarity can make the workplace more comfortable, which helps prevent turnover. Workers who successfully referred another will also know they’ve made a meaningful contribution, increasing their chances of staying.

6. Ensure Optimal Working Conditions

With many warehouses already strapped for space, dedicating a large area for an employee rest and relaxation, gym or on-site child care may not be feasible. However, small upgrades like comfortable furniture, Wi-Fi access, charging stations for mobile devices and free snacks and beverages can go a long way to make employees feel more welcome. Since warehouse workers typically have long and unpredictable shifts, companies can provide added convenience for employees by bringing in food trucks, organizing a company carpool program or even covering the costs of rides and meal delivery.

It’s not just the bells and whistles that make for a more optimal working environment. Extreme temperatures and inadequate lighting not only affect employee wellbeing and productivity but can also compromise worker health and safety. Incorporating windows and skylights into your warehouse design can improve ventilation and also provide access to natural light, which studies show is the highest-rated office perk among many employees. In addition to bringing in more daylight, companies should consider replacing old fluorescent bulbs with LED fixtures, which enhance visibility, produce less heat and reduce maintenance and energy costs.

And, with less labor available, existing employees are likely feeling overworked. So how can you lighten the load with a lack of manpower? Many companies are turning to upgrade their technology with automation. Robotic goods-to-person solutions such as automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) that deliver goods to workers can significantly reduce travel time for employees while also increasing throughput and order accuracy. However, that does require a significant investment.

But, there are other, lower lift alternatives. In addition to robotics, software and wearable devices are also gaining popularity in the warehouse. These tools can be used to monitor worker safety and health, streamline processes and provide real-time training and support. Labor management systems can also be used to track performance and recognize and reward employees for going above and beyond.

As demand for warehouse space and labor continues to grow, hiring skilled workers will become increasingly competitive. Since warehouse employees don’t have the luxury of working from home, it’s up to companies to create a safe, comfortable and satisfying work environment with plenty of incentives to attract and retain top talent.


Retaining Talent Through Sustaining Momentum: Tech’s Starring Role in The Great Resignation

We’re in the middle of a major shift in the workforce.

The pandemic caused a massive change from shared office space to remote work. As people spent time at home—and as they faced a multitude of intense stressors and even direct loss—they reevaluated what’s important when it comes to their careers.

Because of this, we’ve seen four million people quit their jobs in July 2021, and a record-breaking 10.9 million jobs remain open. You may have also seen the troubling statistic that up to 95% of the workforce is considering leaving their current company right now.

Companies looking to recruit and retain high performers are smart to take action in light of this Great Resignation. However, the answers may not be found in hefty signing bonuses or hasty returns to in-office collaboration.

The key is to lean even harder into the technology that has gotten us through this pandemic.

The pandemic as an unfortunate but powerful catalyst

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed business as usual, and companies had to become virtual, digital-centric, and agile faster than they could have imagined.

According to a global survey of executives conducted by McKinsey, companies took an average of only 11 days to move to remote working–40 times faster than they thought possible. Companies also adopted digital technologies for advancements in operations and decision-making 25 times faster than expected.

The pandemic disruption removed (sometimes artificial) barriers to adopting new technology and made it imperative that companies keep investing in technology to sustain, grow, and thrive.

Now let’s take it a step further: If we can leverage technology to get our businesses through a global pandemic, we can absolutely do the same to keep our people happy and engaged.

Here’s how.

1. Dig into the tools you already have

Businesses jumped into collaboration tools out of necessity over the pandemic with a very practical goal of keeping operations running remotely. With that hurdle cleared, it’s time we refocus our efforts from pure functionality to connection, culture, and engagement.

My team, for example, has been using Slack for nearly all of our internal communication and collaboration since 2017. Back then, our primary goal was to lessen email fatigue (which 38% of office workers say is likely to make them quit their jobs).

Once the pandemic hit, we needed that platform to do some heavier lifting for us. Some changes we’ve made include:

-Creating new forums (channels) for conversation around everything from the pandemic itself, to how we can best deliver value to our clients remotely, to social injustice and unlearning bias.

-Adding new integrations including more practical HR tools that “show” who is out when you can’t physically see your team, and fun tools like the Donut bot that randomly pairs employees up and facilitates conversations.

-Learning and taking advantage of the package’s ongoing developments, like the “huddle” feature and direct messaging with outside organizations.

-Doubling down on using our few mandatory channels for clear communication on changing policies, amplifying team achievements, and—perhaps most importantly—soliciting feedback.

Of course, keep in mind that simply providing tools is never enough; you have to also provide your team with the training to take proper advantage of them, and the safety and opportunity to do so. This is a place where active involvement (and modeling) from your leadership team can make a big difference.

2. Evaluate your tech through the lens of individual experience and equity

When it comes to engagement, 42% of employees say their peers have the greatest influence. We have also (fortunately) entered the stage where employees will not stand for what they perceive to be unfair treatment.

It’s incumbent on employers, then, to zero in on how employees experience their work on a day-to-day basis and whether they feel connected to their team and heard as an individual.

Take a run-of-the-mill department meeting, for instance. Say your new hybrid configuration has half the department in your office and half at home. Do the remote workers have equivalent means to participate in the meeting itself? In the more casual chit-chat that takes place before and after?  Can they clearly hear who is speaking and when they can interject? Can they read and add to notes being taken? Do they have the same opportunity to execute on any follow-up items?

Unbalanced interactions like this are subtle, but over time will erode connection and leave certain teammates feeling alienated. Identify places where you may be unintentionally creating rifts, and use that pandemic-inspired tech confidence to fix them. Some common areas for improvement are:

-A better conference room setup with barrier-breaking tools like the Vibe whiteboard and the Poly Studio soundbar/camera.

-A better home office setup with external cameras and speakerphones as needed, a stipend for better internet bandwidth, extra monitors, and so forth.

-Standardizing on a document co-authoring solution like SharePoint or Google Docs.

-Training your managers to opt for the most inclusive meeting and collaboration formats over what is most convenient.

Any new tools you add will require—you guessed it—training!

3. Make sure your digital presence reflects your priorities

My final point is one of visibility. If your company is making these great strides to do right by your team, do them and your business a favor by giving talented job seekers enough insight to want to join you.

Questions to consider are:

-Does our online presence (website, social media) show—not tell—our commitment to our people?

-Do our online employee reviews paint an accurate picture?

-Do our job descriptions capture our values in a way that an outsider would grasp? Are we explicit about remote work policy and benefits?

-Does our hiring process mirror our culture? Does it blend the responsiveness of automation with empathy?

Part of this involves the thoughtful use of specific technology tools. We, for example, have had great success with Bamboo HR to digitize, secure, streamline, and humanize our hiring and onboarding processes.

But a lot of this is the evolution of taking our office-bound corporate cultures digital. First and foremost we make sure all employees, regardless of location, are connected and bought into our culture. Then we take it externally and let all the talent out there know what we’re bringing to the table.

And the more we can get our current employees to tell our story online, the better—not only do most candidates inherently trust individuals over brands, but this also reinforces engagement with those employees.

Final thoughts

It’s true that the Great Resignation and the current labor shortage won’t last forever; people who want to change jobs or careers right now will make those shifts, and eventually the waves will settle.

The question is which organizations will come out on the other side with their high-performing employees intact, and with some new star players (whose previous employers weren’t savvy enough to keep them) on board.

If you want it to be yours, keep the momentum going. Technological competence and creative use of the right tools at the right time will empower your team to forge strong connections no matter where they’re physically located.

There are few competitive advantages as powerful as that.


Heinan Landa is the Founder and CEO of Optimal Networks, Inc., a Rockville, MD-based IT company that helps law firms and associations achieve measurable business results by way of thoughtful technology guidance and white-glove support. For three decades clients have turned to Optimal when they are spending too much time overseeing their IT team, are worried about the security of their data, or are concerned their technology isn’t providing the mobility or flexibility that their employees and clients expect. For more,, 240-499-7900, or


8 Small Policy Changes That Can Significantly Strengthen Retention

Worker shortages are plaguing the warehousing and logistics industry. While many companies are looking for new ways to attract workers to remediate the situation, retention is just as, if not more, important.

Without strong retention, recruitment will do little good. Replacing a salaried employee also costs six to nine months’ salary on average, so retention is far more affordable. Thankfully, even small policy changes can strengthen employee retention. Here are eight examples.

1. Tighten the Recruitment Process

Retention starts with hiring. Employers can prevent many turnover cases by hiring workers who are more likely to stay in the first place. The first step to achieve that is to ensure that job postings are accurate and transparent.

One study found that nearly half of all workers have left a job because it didn’t meet their expectations. Instead of relying on vague language and buzzwords, job descriptions should offer specific details about the position. That way, any applicants understand the roles they’re taking on, preventing disillusionment down the line.

Job seekers will also appreciate honesty. Being transparent in the recruitment process may give new hires a better starting impression of the workplace.

2. Create Upward Mobility Opportunities

One of the most crucial policy changes for better retention is to enable upward mobility. In 2019, 20% of workers who left a job did so because of career development-related reasons. In fact, career development has been the number one reason employees leave for 10 straight years.

This issue has a relatively straightforward fix, too. When a new position opens up, instead of looking for outside hires, companies should promote from within. Businesses should also look to create plenty of opportunities for advancement to give workers a career growth goal.

Career development opportunities can be more than raises and promotions, too. Courses to teach employees new skills or fund their education will help increase retention, too.

3. Accept Anonymous Feedback

Another simple yet effective policy change to make is to have a system for anonymous feedback. Workers may have suggestions for improving the workplace but may fear retribution if management can trace their comments back to them. Anonymous feedback forms let employees speak up confidently.

It’s important to respond to this feedback, too. Making changes that workers want can help ensure the workplace fosters a positive environment. Employees will also feel empowered if they see how their actions impact the workplace, and empowered workers are 33% more likely to stay for three years.

It can help to encourage workers to use these systems, too. That encouragement will promote an air of trust and transparency and empower them further.

4. Support Worker Health

Lifestyle-related benefits are easy to overlook but can be an effective policy change to retain employees. Healthy workers are likely to feel happier and more satisfied, and employers can help them be healthy. By offering perks that support healthy worker lifestyles, businesses can show their employees that they care about their well-being.

Providing nutritious food options in company cafeterias is an easy change to make. Foods high in nutrients like vitamin C can boost workers’ immune systems, helping them feel stronger and healthier. Providing exercise programs or occasional on-site massage therapy can help too.

5. Communicate With Employees Often

Along similar lines, it’s important to maintain communication with employees. Studies show that nearly half of Americans feel lonelier than usual, so feeling seen and valued in the workplace can make a significant difference. Talking with workers will help them feel valued and bring any issues they have to light.

Remember that this communication goes both ways. In addition to listening to employees, management should inform them of any upcoming opportunities and changes often. If workers don’t understand what’s going on at the company, they’ll feel underutilized and unimportant, leading to turnover. In contrast, feeling involved can convince them to stay.

6. Maintain Competitive Compensation

Most employers already understand that higher pay and more competitive benefits will help convince workers to stay. This issue goes beyond bumping up a starting salary once or offering new perks, though. Businesses should have a policy to review industry compensation rates periodically to see how theirs compares.

Workers quitting because of pay and benefits-related reasons have increased by more than 26% since 2010. This trend also coincides with the growing movement of more businesses offering new perks and adjusting pay rates. What constitutes competitive compensation is changing and changes regularly, so a one-time fix is insufficient.

Periodically reviewing industry trends can reveal whether an employer offers sufficient compensation or if they need to adjust. This prevents underpaying compared to competitors as well as unnecessarily raising rates.

7. Recognize and Reward Commendable Behavior

According to one survey, 79% of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a major factor. Thankfully, employers can address that with relatively straightforward policy changes.

Workplaces should have a policy of recognizing and rewarding positive behavior in their workers. Regular awards given to the highest-performing employees or praising workers’ actions and achievements in company newsletters can help workers feel valued. These rewards, though seemingly small, can go a long way in employee retention.

Workers don’t often expect much in return for good service. Typically, recognition of a job well done is sufficient. While monetary incentives don’t hurt, taking the time to praise commendable behavior can make a significant difference.

8. Encourage Employees to Take Advantage of Perks

Another seemingly small but significant change for employee retention is letting workers know it’s okay to use their benefits. Poor experiences with other employers may leave workers feeling like they shouldn’t use their time off or other perks. Encouraging them to do so can assuage those concerns, making them feel more welcome.

When workers take advantage of their benefits, they’ll likely feel more relaxed and fulfilled. When management doesn’t just allow but encourages it, they’ll feel appreciated, too. If employees feel like their employers care for their work-life balance, they’ll be less likely to leave.

Small Changes Can Have a Big Impact

Workplace changes don’t need to be disruptive to have a substantial impact on employee retention. It’s often an amalgamation of multiple “little” things that convince workers to leave a job. In the same way, making several little changes can convince workers to stay with their current employer.

These eight changes represent some of the most effective yet straightforward improvements to strengthen retention. By implementing these fixes, businesses can reduce turnover and related costs and foster a more motivated, positive workforce.


How to Deal with Employee Absenteeism

While on average an employee would miss 54 days of work in 2020, the logistics sector holds an unfortunate record: one of the highest annual increases in absenteeism, putting it just behind the health sector, i.e. 32% over one year. Beyond the exceptional sanitary situation, the supply chain is facing a chronic problem of workforce retention. What HR and organizational levers should be used? Here are a few ways to encourage employee commitment and well-being… and reduce absences.

In its annual survey based on data from 671 companies and more than 350,000 employees, Gras Savoye Willis Towers Waston confirms that absenteeism has increased sharply and steadily over the last five years, particularly in SMEs and ETIs. If the first containment has had an obvious impact, it is far from being the only explanatory factor. While the “transport and logistics” category now holds second place in the sectors most affected by this phenomenon, the study reminds us that the average cost of absenteeism in a company of 1,000 employees varies between 1.7 and 3.5 million USD per year. The weight of logistics activities in this loss of earnings is considerable. Faced with the growing risks of delays and shutdowns in the supply chain field due to lack of personnel, here are three steps for dealing with absenteeism.


1. Offer visibility to employees regarding the impact of their tasks on the entire operation

Just like remuneration or benefits offered by the company, the quest for meaningfulness is now well known as a major lever for commitment to the workplace. But how to motivate employees when the tasks they are entrusted with are by definition simple and repetitive? As a manager in the logistics sector, taking the time to regularly explain the stakes and the purpose of your job to each employee, and being able to give them concrete and personalized feedback on the impact of their work, is a way to give meaning to low-skilled logistics functions. Examples include employees knowing which customer profile is ultimately targeted, having details on the products handled and the marketing promise, knowing and understanding all the other technical steps upstream and downstream of his or her intervention. This type of information will help everyone understand his or her role in the supply chain, and therefore, empower teams individually and collectively.

Today, integrated HR tools and advanced warehouse management solutions offer a comprehensive view of current operations and can provide data and visibility to managers.

To learn more about technology that can help you optimize your workers’ performance and increase motivation, read our WMS – Decision Making Guide

2. Invest in technology and robotics to reduce drudgery

Implementing voice command devices for operators or equipping them with exoskeletons is a way to limit strenuous movements and loads carried, thus reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Some companies are even starting to equip themselves with ‘cobots’, these robotic collaborative assistants that help employees prepare orders and reduce their movements.

Used wisely, these tools have the dual benefit of reducing the risk of sick leave and work-related accidents while optimizing overall warehouse performance.

3. Incentivize employees through game-based management

Sometimes alone at their workstations, with no real opportunity to communicate with their colleagues for long hours, supply chain operators can legitimately feel isolated. Keeping them motivated is a daily challenge for managers and HR. Gamification is one way to encourage commitment, pride of belonging and team concentration. For example, it is a matter of organizing interactive performance contests, between peers or between teams, aiming at collecting a maximum of points to obtain symbolic or material rewards. Or measuring the quantity of plastic recycled by each person, with rewards at stake. These challenges can also encourage employees to follow professional training courses or to respond to co-optation campaigns. These initiatives contribute indirectly to the fight against dropping out of the workforce and absenteeism.

Generix Group North America helps distribution & manufacturing companies achieve operational excellence with their WMS & MES Supply chain solutions. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission.

purpose cash

Paycheck Or Purpose? How Businesses Retain Workers by Giving Them Both.

At a time when global talent shortages are reported at a 15-year high, one key to keeping the best employees happy and onboard may lie in how well companies not only state their purpose and their values, but also prioritize carrying them out.

“When purpose and values are backed by meaningful action, you have the extraordinary opportunity to sharpen your company’s legacy – and have a better chance of retaining employees who otherwise might seek opportunities elsewhere,” says Maggie Z. Miller, the ForbesBooks co-author with Hannah Nokes of Magnify Your Impact: Powering Profit with Purpose (

That’s especially critical these days when 69% of companies worldwide have reported talent shortages, and many employers are working to build more flexibility into jobs, something workers are demanding, according to a recent ManPowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.

Miller points out that studies show firms that do a better job of practicing corporate responsibility can reduce average turnover over time by 25 to 50 percent. Employees want more than just a paycheck, although that’s important, too, she says. They want to feel that there’s some greater legacy to what they do each day and as a result they are drawn to companies that practice purpose alongside their profit.

Assisting businesses in finding and embracing purpose is what Miller and Nokes do. They are co-founders of Magnify Impact, a company that helps business leaders not only be prepared to react swiftly in times of crisis, but build a proactive strategy for effective social impact.

“Part of enriching your corporate growth journey is to move beyond purely transactional business operations,” Nokes says. “Purpose and values are the rock on which your business stands.”

And an essential element of that involves developing engaged employees.

Workers Desire Fulfillment

“Strong organizational values help cultivate fulfillment, where employees become active participants in, and ambassadors of, a company’s purpose,” Miller says.

People’s desire for fulfillment at work is strong, according to a PwC/CERC survey, which found that 70% of those surveyed said they would leave their current job for a more fulfilling opportunity, and one in three would consider lower pay to find more on-the-job fulfillment.

Meanwhile, Glassdoor’s Mission and Culture Survey 2019 found that 79% of adults would consider a company’s mission and purpose before applying for a job.

But one additional hurdle companies face in keeping employees engaged these days is that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on work and culture, Nokes says.

“Many companies will never go back to a full-time, in-person workforce,” she says. “Figuring out how to manage this new style of part physical and part virtual workplace is at the forefront.

“The pandemic and its reverberating effects raise new challenges for putting a company’s purpose into practice in day-to-day situations. How do you keep your people tethered to the culture in times of stress? How do you keep employees invested in and passionate about your brand when they’re not physically together?”

Miller and Nokes say it’s important to get employees involved in helping develop the solutions to those nagging questions.

Keeping It Simple – And Ambitious

While a company’s purpose and values can and should be ambitious, they don’t need to sound grandiose, peppered with flowery language or impenetrable prose, Nokes says. Some of the most successful companies state their purpose and values in simple and straightforward language.

For example, Patagonia’s purpose is “to save our home planet” and its values are “build the best product; cause no unnecessary harm; use business to protect nature; not bound by convention.”

Definitely ambitious. Also, easy to understand.

But purpose and values can’t just be feel-good ideas. They must be acted upon, or else employees will soon see that the company doesn’t really mean what it says, and they will go in search of a place to work where the purpose truly means something, Miller says.

“It doesn’t matter if you are in a beautiful corporate headquarters with your company’s values painted artistically on the wall,” she says. “Business leaders should ask themselves and their employees, ‘Do we make decisions based on these values? How often do we talk about them in leadership meetings?’ If the answers are ‘no’ and ‘never,’ it’s leadership’s job to get those words off the wall and into the hands of their people to use them.”


Maggie Z. Miller and Hannah Nokes are ForbesBooks co-authors of Magnify Your Impact: Powering Profit with Purpose ( They also are co-founders of Magnify Impact, a company that helps business leaders create effective social impact strategies. Miller has developed social impact solutions with hundreds of company leaders globally. Previously, she founded an international nonprofit organization to provide microcredit loans for thousands of women in Peru. Nokes has led corporate social responsibility for global corporations and founded an impact collaborative of companies in Austin, Texas.



The global e-commerce industry could grow up to $2.7 trillion by the end of 2021. Jobs must be filled, and warehouse operations will likely accelerate at an unprecedented pace. Yes, robotics and automation technology can improve the efficiency of the workforce, but the people working in these warehouses still represent the backbone of the industry. 

The five factors that follow are vitally important if you wish to improve your management scheme and enhance morale in the workplace. Do not be afraid to make changes—even if you manage a “well-oiled” machine. Society is changing by the second, and making progress at work requires a few changes from time to time.

Focus on Employee Engagement and Retention

Given the recent boom in demand for warehousing, attracting and retaining talent has become increasingly more difficult. What’s more, this comes down to a lot more factors than simply salary and benefits.  

The more intangible factors include recognition, personal development and opportunities. Or in other words, engagement. An emerging trend in this field is the gamification of warehouse work. Similar to fitness tracker apps, these digital platforms have goals and milestones for employees to achieve. Once achieved, they’re rewarded with both virtual recognition, such as topping a leader board or gaining badges, as well as more tangible perks such as reserved parking spaces and gift cards. 

The idea is to provide positive reinforcement to workers, so instead of doing the minimum required for their paycheck, they go the extra mile and earn lots of small perks along the way.

Aside from the more fun and inventive engagement tactics such as gamification, managers shouldn’t forget the basics. Being present on the warehouse floor for a portion of each shift pattern, and taking a bit of time to check in with staff, is still one of the best ways to build rapport. This also helps nip in the bud any issues that workers may have, before potentially becoming a bigger problem. 

Forming Strategic Partnerships with Staffing Agencies

As warehousing demands continue to increase and seasonality continues to drive peaks, forming strategic partnerships with staffing agencies is becoming more crucial. A good agency that you have a long-term and trusted relationship with can be relied upon to provide quality hires as you ramp up to manage increases in order cycles. 

The more agencies you partner with, the more you’re spreading your risk. Think about an extreme but possible staffing scenario, where order volumes spike to the near physical capacity of the facility. How many additional hires would you need to manage this? How many hires could each of the staffing agencies you partner with be able to provide within a few weeks to a few months? 

This is also where building strategic relationships with the staffing agencies you work with are crucial, so you have confidence that they’ll prioritize your needs above other operators that are also trying to staff for seasonal peaks. 

When it comes to striking the optimal balance between permanent, directly employed workers, and agency temps, the 80/20 rule is a good one to work to. This ensures that the majority of the workforce are committed permanent members of staff “in it for the long haul,” while the remaining 20 percent allows you to easily scale up or down with seasonality. 

Implement COVID-19 Screening and Security

With all warehouse operators having spent the past 12 months getting their premises COVID-19 secure, now is a great time to think about your screening regimen and any improvements you should make.

A debate you may be having right now is what the best type of screening process is for your operations, especially seeing as experts expect COVID-19 to continue having an impact on our daily lives for the whole of 2022.  

There are two broad options available here: symptom screening or virus testing. Symptom screening is the far more affordable option compared to testing and has the least impact on your employee scheduling. App-based screening platforms enable employees to self-screen for symptoms before they leave their homes for the start of each shift. This can also be supplemented by temperature checks on arrival. 

Virus testing, on the other hand, will detect asymptomatic cases and early infections, but the costs can be prohibitive for many warehouse operators. And of course, you need to plan regular testing around shift patterns and consider what the pay implications are of asking employees to report to work 30 minutes before their shift starts to receive an on-site rapid test.

It’s little surprise then that screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms is a more practical solution for many warehouse operators, who are looking for a cost-effective way to protect staff while also lowering a business’s risk of litigation and, potentially, its insurance premiums.  

Reassess Demand and Reoptimize Processes 

Demand for specific goods has shifted enormously over the past 12 months, which has had a big impact on warehouse product velocity. So, the products that were moved most frequently in the recent past may no longer be the case. Therefore, operators need to ensure they’re regularly reassessing their velocity slotting, at a much greater frequency than perhaps they were pre-pandemic, given how volatile demand has been for certain products since. 

As demand levels shift, distribution centers must become a lot more agile, quickly reassigning priority shelving and circulation flows, and relaying this information to employees as part of the process. Employees will then have an easier job on their hands hitting targets if products are being more frequently reassigned to shelving based on up-to-date movement flows.  

Invest in Enhanced Labor Management Systems

With the high demand for warehouse staff pushing up wages, especially with the likes of Amazon paying above average and inflating wages in the areas where they’re based, cost savings will become more crucial than ever throughout 2021. To this end, many operators are focusing on enhanced labor management systems (LMS) to deliver much of these savings.

With the ethos shifting from using these systems to identify underperformers, to instead uncover ways to optimize the workforce, an intelligently deployed LMS can help distribution centers to achieve more with less.

A big focus now with LMS is measuring and comparing the performance metrics across different facilities within the same organization. A few years ago, this would have been prohibitively expensive for many, but thanks to cloud computing and SaaS pay-as-you-go models, this is now easily affordable. And once you can measure something, you can improve it, such as focusing efforts on underperforming facilities.  

But of course, it’s not just at the macro level that LMS are increasingly being used to measure performance; the focus is also on the level of the employee. AI is helping managers to demand forecast in real-time better than ever before, based on pick counts and other KPIs during each shift. So, 2021 could be the year that we start to see fewer managers moving staff around on the fly and instead begin to rely on predictive modeling.    

Ultimately, the past 12 months were focused on survival and rapid-adaption for many businesses. Now we’ve made it through the tough part, it’s time to take a pause, take stock, reassess processes, and then begin optimizing for the new normal. And focusing much of that attention on workforce management improvements is a great investment for any distribution center.


Adam Day is president & CEO of Time Rack, a time & attendance, payroll integration, and HR SaaS platform that provides warehouse time & attendance systems and HR administration services that create work-life harmony. Visit to learn more.


Cities With the Most Economic Growth in 2021

The U.S. economy has made a remarkable comeback from the deep dive caused by the pandemic. Consumer spending (fueled by savings and government stimulus money) is strong, the economy recently added the most jobs in nearly a year, and the housing market is booming. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm employment has grown by 1.5% from January to May, and the unemployment rate is now 5.9%, well below the high of 14.8% seen in April 2020.

In the spring of last year, real gross domestic product (GDP)—a measure of economic activity used to track the health of the country—fell by a record annualized rate of 31.4%, the sharpest contraction in modern U.S. history. In comparison, real GDP fell by less than 9% annualized in 2008 during the Great Recession and took several years to recover. Following the initial COVID-19 shutdowns, GDP has been recovering quickly as economic activity resumes, and is projected to return to its pre-pandemic level later this year.

Alongside the broader economic contraction were massive job losses: nonfarm employment initially dropped by 20.5 million in the early stages of the pandemic. Following this unprecedented decline, employment increased sharply in May of last year, but since then, the recovery has slowed with current employment far below pre-pandemic levels. Some cities and states have been affected more than others depending on local economic factors. As such, current unemployment rates vary widely across the country, ranging from less than 3% to more than 10%.

To find the locations with the most economic growth in 2021, researchers at Stessa analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and Redfin, creating a composite score based on the following factors:

-Percentage change in total employment from January to May 2021

-Unemployment rate from May 2021

-Average monthly building permits per capita (averaged over January to May 2021)

-Average monthly home sales per capita (averaged over January to May 2021)

Based on these metrics, Utah and Florida are the two states with the most economic growth this year. Both states saw employment grow by 1.5% from January to May and have lower than average unemployment rates (at 2.7% and 5.0%, respectively). At a time when housing is in short supply across much of the country, new residential construction is booming in these states, with 107 and 79 average monthly building permits per 100,000 residents, respectively, far above the national rate of 43.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Louisiana and Alaska reported the least economic growth so far this year. Louisiana employment actually decreased slightly from January to May while employment in Alaska increased only marginally. Both states have higher than average unemployment rates and lower than average residential construction and home sales per capita.

To find the metropolitan areas with the most economic growth, Stessa ranked metros using the same composite score. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped based on population size.

Here are the large U.S. metros experiencing the most economic growth in 2021.

Metro Rank   Composite score   Percentage change in total employment   Unemployment rate  Average monthly building permits per 100,000 residents  Average monthly home sales per 100,000


Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN    1     78.9     1.1% 3.9% 132 174
Raleigh-Cary, NC    2     78.6     1.0% 3.8% 136 168
Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX    3     77.9     1.3% 4.2% 207 138
Jacksonville, FL    4     75.0     0.8% 4.2% 127 191
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL    5     74.7     2.8% 5.4% 84 173
Oklahoma City, OK    6     73.0     1.3% 3.6% 55 139
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI    7     71.4     1.7% 3.8% 57 122
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL    8     70.4     1.0% 4.6% 75 193
Salt Lake City, UT    9     69.9     1.1% 2.8% 78 107
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA    10     68.9     1.1% 3.9% 55 153
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO    11     65.3     1.6% 5.9% 77 156
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV    12     64.7     3.1% 8.9% 63 181
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA    13     64.6     2.6% 5.3% 51 133
Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ    14     64.4     1.3% 6.2% 88 173
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC    15     63.6     0.4% 4.3% 83 152
United States    –     N/A     1.5% 5.8% 43 165


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Stessa’s website: