There’s no denying that we’re in a pickle. Hiring will become more and more difficult as baby-boomers continue to step out and a much smaller workforce of millennials and Gen-Zs step in. The Human Resources Professional Association of Canada offers a partial solution, and a comparatively doable one: stop the Great Resignation in its path and lean into The Great Retention1 The Great Resignation or The Great Retention? – HRPA. They offer six markers of a healthy workplace culture, first identified by Great Place to Work 2The 6 Elements of Great Company Culture that make up a great starting point for evaluating and improving your investment in employee retention.


  1. Community. This means team-building and support, but it also means checking in with your employees regularly, even and especially if it’s just to see how they are. Regular, generous and predictable communication, paired with the independence your employees need to do their work well, demonstrates your investment in their wellbeing.
  2. Fairness. Fair compensation and robust benefits are critical for retention of all workers, but this is extra true for women. The “She-cession” (cheekily named after the first round of mass resignations in Spring of 2020 was made up of mostly women) 3 COVID-19 and the Canadian Labour Market: Comparing the ‘Great Recession’ and the ‘She-cession’ made it clear that many jobs are fundamentally incompatible with other parts of being a human, like being a good parent, spouse or caretaker. To retain women specifically and good employees generally, access to childcare, flexible working hours and arrangements, and paid sick and family leave are essential.
  3. Trustworthy management. Synonyms include: credible, ethical, authentic, truthful, dependable. Senior managers set the tone for employees all the way down the workplace ladder, and the kind of talent a business is able to attract and retain is a direct reflection of managerial quality.4 Why this coffee shop owner started paying his staff a living wage | CBC Radio
  4. Innovation. Employees at all levels have valuable insights and ideas. Creating a safe space for them to share those ideas is not only critical to their satisfaction and retention, it encourages innovation. It also makes possible a thriving culture of internal mobility, where employees can easily imagine their future from the vantage point of their current job (Forbes).
  5. Trust. Consider this: if your employees, working from home, have met all of your production expectations despite occasional trips to the doctor or the vet, stopping in the middle of the day to tidy their house, even the occasional unscheduled mental health day, then they’re capable of striking this same balance from the office too. Trust your employees to manage their workload and their time.
  6. Caring. Building policies that entrench your employees’ freedom, flexibility and creativity is a clear signal to current and future employees that you recognize them as human first and productive second.


This topic brings to mind the old adage: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. While thinking of your employees as birds is probably a step in the wrong direction, treasuring the talent you have is the closest thing anyone seems to have to a roadmap out of this labor crisis. We hope it helps. And remember that we’re always here at LJS & Associates to help you navigate from the passenger seat.