(Not that it ever matters less.)
There’s two reasons why someone stays at their job:
1. They love the vibe.
2. They hate it. But they’re stuck.
I don’t say any of this to detract from employing engagement as a larger concept. Or all the more granular components that got into it.
Just for fun (read: laziness) I asked ChatGPT “what aspects are there to employee engagement?” and it shot out a 17 point checklist. Job Satisfaction. Job Fit. Recognition and Rewards. Development and Growth. On and on.
These things are all important. But they can become too complicated. Especially for small and/or cash strapped firms with limited resources. We’re ultimately talking about happiness.
Happiness is a strangely scientific topic. It comes down to dopamine and serotonin levels inside of your brain.
A lot of things boost those chemicals to appropriate levels. (High scores on the aforementioned laundry list that Skynet spit out.) Half of that list can be summarized as “work with kind, thoughtful, fun people.”
On the flip side, you don’t need AI to tell what sucks happiness dry: jerks.
Jerk you have to work with. Every single day.
So why is the next 12 months especially important?
Because a lot of things that don’t involve ‘kindness’ are out of a lot of companies’ control. Layoffs are driven by financials. Even if those layoffs are over, it doesn’t mean everything is rosy.
Wage freezes. Canceled projects. Less promotions. Limited spend. Added workload.
Take these things and add in “jerks” and you get the second reason why people stay at their companies: they’re stuck.
They stay because they haven’t found anything better. There’s nowhere else to go. YET.
Let’s look back at the “Great Resignation.” (Side note: I can’t believe I’m using that term again. Gross.)
Many attribute it to the growth of remote work. A global pandemic gave everyone the ability to work from their home. Which is what we all deeply wanted.
What we gained was not the ability to work remote. But a total volume of new job opportunities people never had in their careers before. Not just the 10 in your market, but the 1000 across the country. Everyone had a solution for their jerk problem.
They were stuck. Then they became unstuck.
Here’s the kicker: that phenomenon is going to happen again.
No one knows the timeline for the Office Dork economy to rebound. But it will. My best guesstimate is within the next year.
When it does? Kind companies will win the day.