exiting with purpose

Engaging Coworkers in the Transition Process

Countdown to Sunset

Financial incentives may encourage retention, but maintaining staff engagement is a separate challenge. Despite months of planning and attempting to foresee all possible twists in the road, we remain open to new suggestions and input from our team.

Perhaps the most productive and valuable outcome of their input has been the creation of a Transition Task Force charged with identifying co-worker needs and gauging morale. Recruited internally and representing all facets of the foundation, the Task Force has engaged with co-workers on a regular basis.

We anticipated that morale would naturally dip occasionally, but the Task Force has been instrumental in illuminating some of the causes of lowered morale. Most notably, those causes have centered on changes in our organizational culture and in individual expectations of what work should now entail.

The most common disappointment and demoralizing factor has been a sense of loss and frustration among co-workers who no longer feel the spark of working at a progressive, always forward thinking organization. The foundation is no longer engaging in innovation and structuring new powerful partnerships; instead we are wrapping up that work and shutting down operations. Our team members have been frustrated that they can’t support our partners financially and programmatically as we have done over the years.

Secondly, co-worker exits have caused anxiety when workloads have shifted. In response, we eliminated most co-worker-specific goals in favor of team or departmental goals so that everyone on a team would feel more aligned in working toward universal accomplishments.

Finally, the Task Force (not surprisingly) identified a need for stress management across the organization. Ultimately, members of the Task Force have focused on workplace wellness tactics to address that challenge.