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Employee Growth and Development Ideas for “The Great Reshuffle”

The business world is undergoing a transition, which has prompted business leaders to invest more in employee growth and development ideas. Although many refer to this change as “The Great Resignation,” a more fitting name has emerged: “The Great Reshuffle.” 

New York Times best-selling author and speaker Daniel Pink, and Ashley Carnes, Chief Strategy Officer at Impact, spoke about the Great Reshuffle and what business leaders can do to support employees through this period and solidify their company culture.

Their talks, which were part of the Impact Optimize business summit, illuminated how companies can flourish during this transition. 

What is “The Great Reshuffle”?

Many workers left their jobs in the last couple of years. However, more than half are transitioning to new careers, suggesting that the priorities of the American workforce have changed in the last few years.

It seemed that American workers were leaving their respective industries in large numbers. Yet recent trends indicate that employees were not simply leaving work, but rather finding new careers, new ways to work, and demanding more from employers.  

Therefore, “The Great Resignation” would be better dubbed “The Great Reshuffle” because workers are still invested in contributing to the economy. Yet organizations will need to find a way to help them adapt. 

We bring you some of Daniel Pink’s and Ashley Carnes’ best recommendations that organization leadership can apply to not only survive, but to thrive during this transition. 

Employee Growth and Development Ideas 

1. Lead with the “Why” of Work 

Customer satisfaction with food shot up 10% at a cafeteria when the cooks were able to see their customers, according to a Harvard Business School (HBR) study. In his Impact Optimize keynote, Daniel Pink brought up this statistic to show one thing — workers are motivated by the “why” of their efforts.

Pink emphasized that company leaders often guide their employees with the “how” of work. How they should do a task, how they should reach certain goals, how to meet expectations, etc. 

To motivate employees during “The Great Reshuffle”, Pink recommends a simple achievable goal: this week, have two fewer conversations about “how” and two more about “why.” For example, Why does this project matter to our clients? Why are our services important? Why is this meeting part of our strategy?

“’Why’ is the single most cost-effective performance enhancer you have, bar none. It’s free and it works. And we don’t use it enough.” Daniel Pink | Impact Networking

2. Encourage Employee Learning 

94% of employees say they would stay at a company if it invested in their learning, Ashley Carnes brought up during her talk at Impact Optimize. She explained that during “The Great Reshufle” people are trying to find careers in which they can grow and develop.  

However, companies face some obstacles when creating development programs for employees, Carnes acknowledged. Lack of resources, no leadership support, and low employee buy-in can get in the way of an organization’s learning and development efforts. 

Carnes recommends creating feedback loops for process improvement. For example, leaders and managers can create a ritual where employees share three ways they made progress daily or weekly. It’s also helpful to foster resilience and encourage taking calculating risks.  

When employees are encouraged to take action, they will be more invested in their work. 

“A culture of learning is one in which employees continuously seek, share, and apply new knowledge and skills to improve individual and organizational performance.” Ashley Carnes | Impact Networking

Related Blog: What Are Employee Expectations for Business Tech?

3. Advocate for Employee Autonomy 

“People want and deserve autonomy”, Daniel Pink said, as he spoke about the need for autonomy in the workplace. Pink compared autonomy to its opposite, control. He advises business leaders to grant autonomy over their work to employees. 

When autonomy is lacking and control takes over, people will either defy or comply, Pink said. That means that employees will either defy to a controlling work environment, thus spend needed energy to find ways to go against the grain.  

Another employee growth and development idea is to advocate for employee a. Consider having brainstorming meetings for employees to pitch ideas. Act on those ideas. Check in with your employees and listen to their concerns. Employees will then be more engaged in their work, step up to the task, and strengthen their partnership with your organization. 

4. Establish Progress Rituals 

If you were asked what is the most influential thing a leader can do to motivate employees, what would you answer? An HBR study asked just that question. The answer they found was making progress in meaningful work. 

The study, which for 15 years examined the psychological experiences and performance of people doing complex work in organizations, found that when people are able to track their own progress, they became more motivated to complete tasks and goals. 

Pink brought up this study to encourage business leaders to establish progress rituals in the workplace. Asking employees to write or talk about three daily accomplishments works best, Pink said. Daily progress rituals will increase employee motivation and fulfillment. 

5. Foster Creativity and Innovation 

Any company with an entrepreneurial spirit will encourage their employees to break the mold and innovate in their work and personal lives.  Ashley Carnes emphasized the need for leaders to encourage creativity to help employees grow. Additionally, a company with a culture of innovation will earn customers’ respect.

“The Great Reshuffle has millions of Americans rethinking what they want out of their profession, their work-life balance, and their purpose,” Carnes explained. Although this uncertain time can be stressful for leaders, it is a chance to analyze and redesign a company’s culture. 

Consider championing innovation by holding contests for various initiatives. For example, if your company needs a better way to onboard employees, ask current workers what insights they can contribute.  

Here at Impact, we use The Impact Innovation Challenge to source the best ideas to make the company better. As you can see, this is a fun challenge that encourages creativity and cements an innovative company spirit. 

“Historically, organizations have approached training as a task to administer rather than an experience to cultivate. This requires a mindset shift, and it begins with leadership.” Ashley Carnes | Impact Networking

6. Model Breaks as a Sign of Strength 

Among the more unexpected employee growth and development ideas is taking breaks, especially of you are a company leader. Paradoxically, if your employees take breaks, productivity will go up.

Danish students did better on exam day if they took breaks, for instance, according to a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) study. This study parallels what many sport coaches and skilled musicians know; that rest is necessary for high performance. 

“Don’t think of breaks as deviation from your performance. Think of them as part of your performance.” Daniel Pink | Impact Networking

To get the most out of a break and to increase productivity, Pink recommends the following: 

  • Any break is better than no break 
  • Moving breaks are better than stationary ones 
  • Social breaks are better than solitary ones 
  • Outside beats inside 
  • Full detachment from work has a bigger effect than semi-detachment 

When business leaders model breaks, they can reduce the stigma associated with taking them. 

7. Set Up a Budget for Employee Learning and Development 

To get serious about establishing a culture of learning in your organization, consider developing a budget to help employees grow and to increase employee retention. 

Carnes suggests asking these questions when thinking about implementing employee learning and development programs: 

  • Does learning and development align with executive leadership and middle management? 
  • How will leaders bridge the theory to practice? 
  • Do employees have specialized learning needs? 
  • How will you measure the success of this endeavor? 
  • Are you willing to invest in the people, process, tech, and tools to make a profound difference? 

If you do not know where to start, consider consulting with a learning and development professional who can guide your company’s educational growth efforts.

Related Blog: How Businesses Can Use Recruitment Marketing for Talent Acquisition and Retention

In Conclusion 

The Great Reshuffling may be a confusing time for workers across America, but it brings up opportunities for employees and organizations to rethink their goals and culture. 

Championing the “why” of work, encouraging employee learning and autonomy, establishing progress rituals, and taking breaks are some of the best employee growth and development ideas to guide your workforce during this hazy period. 

Fostering a culture in which employees can develop, innovate, collaborate, and share their ideas with you will not only increase productivity and employee engagement; it will also establish your organization as a beacon of modern company culture.  

If you want to learn more about improving your culture to help employees grow and to attract the right talent, check out our free webinar, Overcoming the Talent Shortage, part of the Modern Business Requirements series.