Blog Inclusion & Diversity Recruiting Thought Leadership

Avoiding How Bonus Season Can Also Be Exit Interview Season

We typically see a lot of movement into and out of companies this time of year, and it’s no coincidence that as bonuses come out, more people step out, especially with the Great Reassessment. So for 2022, what’s the same, what’s different, and what can you do?  


January is often a time when people re-think their choices. New year, new you… (enter all the marketing clickbait). But it may not just be a decision to get a gym membership or cut back on sugar; it’s also the time of year when people start to consider growing their careers and shaking up their employment routine. Once they start thinking about their job, what is it that edges them to want something new? They’re asking themselves, do I have a friend at work? Will my manager ever get better? Do I feel valued and challenged? Do I have a choice of how and where I work (read: hybrid vs. in office vs. at home).

Even though it’s bonus season, they actually aren’t saying, “Show me the money” (research has shown a plethora of times that people don’t make decisions on compensation alone–as long as you’re paying them fairly). They’re actually saying, “I’m re-thinking what matters to me…and I want to be a valued member on a winning team with an inspired mission” (Thank you, Jennifer Aaker, whose research on purpose is essential reading…plus Deci & Ryan’s self-determination theory). Additionally, they want to have a sense of belonging and community. Oh yes, and they want to work for a well-skilled manager, in a role where they can keep growing and learning. Deep breath. It’s a lot. And yet, isn’t it what you want, too?

Now is the Time

This is the time to focus on what they have been telling you matters most (i.e. look at that survey data). One we often hear about for all sides is wanting a better performance management experience. Feeling fairly treated, and with a lightweight lift that doesn’t exhaust employees or managers is an investment with excellent returns.

Another big one that only got bigger in the pandemic is the twofer of helping managers to avoid burnout themselves, while helping their teams avoid burnout. We have a “Boundaries, Priorities, and Focus” workshop that gets rave reviews from managers who say they have no time for workshops. Whatever key elements of what matters most to employees that hasn’t been addressed may be small problems that lead to turnover. Small problems might feel like loose rocks that aren’t that big of a deal right now, but they could lead to a babbling brook turning into a massive waterfall further down the river. Which might be pretty (if you’re hiking), but also expensive. (And more time consuming to fix than the focused time it takes to avoid the turnover).

So if the worry is do you have time for this, let us just raise our hands now. We can take that off your plate (which is a lot more like helping you do the dishes rather than stealing a taste of your food without asking – which one of us is kind of known for because she won’t ORDER the fries but she really, really wants one). You’ve got a partner in this. Don’t have the people to do strategy side or the execution side? Good news: we totally do.

Your New Linchpin Priority

While your employees do their deep thinking about their lives and priorities at the start of a new year, it’s a wonderful time of year to do that for your company. Stabilize those loose rocks, and you’re solving a whole host of problems later. In a few months, you won’t be worrying about people leaving, you’ll be worrying about that backup of emails from people who want to work for you. Apologies in advance.