Thanks to the pandemic that just keeps on giving, the career marketplace is again taking a hit. Wide-scale layoffs across industries have left many unprepared workers without a job at the beginning of 2023. Ironically enough, massive amounts of hiring is also taking place—demonstrating the clear need to mature a broken system that has led to a repetitive and dismal “hire, fire” cycle. 

Balancing the talent scales isn’t as easy as coming up with a new business model, however, it actually goes much deeper than that—emotionally deep, in fact.

According to a recent article by The Harvard Business Review, the recent wave of employee attrition actually has less to do with economics and more to do with relationships (or lack thereof). Data supports that employees’ decisions to stay in a job largely come from a sense of belonging, feeling valued by their leaders, and having caring and trusting colleagues. In other words, an employee’s longevity at their place of work has everything to do with their emotional perception of the workplace and the people in it.

But how do organizations, big or small, find a way to measure and improve something that is so intangible? Let’s dive into the emotional truth behind the business world and see if there is a way to unlock how companies can help mitigate attrition and support retention—evolving the work world for the better. 

Emotion Affects Engagement

A recent survey found that employee stress is at an all-time high, and 60% of employees are emotionally detached at work—only fueling the fire for worker attrition.

The pandemic seriously shifted workers’ sense of worth as well as their expectations in the workplace, and it explains why morale in the workplace is depleting in 2023. Although many organizations are more than willing to evolve and adapt, many are blindly implementing changes and this is only fanning the flames.

In fact, EY and the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School worked together on research to provide insights into how companies successfully implement major transformations. According to a poll of over 1,100 workers from 23 countries and 16 industry sectors, including over 935 senior leaders and their direct reports, human emotions have a significant role in whether a corporate change is successful or unsuccessful. Nearly half of the respondents say their organization’s leaders are overwhelmed by disruptions and struggling to identify what they should prioritize.

The technological world has led to digital disparities and will require serious adaptations from employers in order to maintain the same social and emotional values that are the unspoken glue of the business world. In order to survive these digitally disparate times, a reframing of business models towards more emotionally inclusive mindsets might be necessary to survive the times. 

Compassion Makes for Strong Leaders

This reshuffling of the workforce is something that leaders of organizations can get ahead of, if only they are willing to meet their employees halfway.

According to the same Harvard Business Review study, a key element of effective leadership is compassion. Neuroimaging research reveals that people’s brains react more favorably to compassionate leaders because compassion increases our willingness to trust. Developing a compassionate workplace culture has been associated with fewer employee absenteeism from work and emotional tiredness—two of the main contributors to worker burnout.

According to numerous studies, leaders that prioritize the needs of their workforce are better able to forecast employee job satisfaction, perceived organizational support, loyalty, trust in the company, and most importantly for the sake of this blog’s argument—retention. An extra bonus has been associated with higher team effectiveness and increased employee work performance by helping to raise employee motivation.

In response to phenomena like the Great Resignation, 23% of workers say employers are offering new mental health benefits. In order for leaders to make more informed decisions on how to evolve their internal workplace towards the people that make their business not only happen but matter, they need people-centric data.

Human capability insight, like the data that Almas’ proprietary dashboard supplies, helps managers understand where employees and candidates fit into their unique cultural framework. This helps to promote a wider range of knowledge in a company’s employee ecosystem, allowing organizations to let team members know their unique contributions are respected and valued. It’s also data that leaders could leverage to help form career development plans across roles and departments, increase performance, and identify high-performance individuals—creating intrinsic value for both the organization and the worker.

By including emotional intelligence in their business values, leaders have the potential to change the narrative—transforming the current attrition crisis into a new work standard that puts the heart of the business, the people, at the forefront.