D4: Saving the Canary in the Coal Mine: An Organizational Approach to Workforce Retention

Area of Focus: Workforce Resilience and Leadership
Key 9

Workplace health is tied to reduced turnover, increased productivity, and ultimately client outcomes. In the post-pandemic “Great Resignation” environment, the burden to build resilience and avoid burnout is placed on the already overwhelmed and overworked employee. Just as the proverbial canary cannot be responsible for fixing the toxic elements of the coal mine, employees cannot fix organizational obstacles to workplace happiness.

McKinsey reports that 52% of employees leave because they feel their supervisor does not value them. Meanwhile, supervisors, who often are overburdened by staff vacancies, are dancing as fast as they can in remote and hybrid environments, where it is increasingly difficult to assess employee needs or even their own needs. This workshop will provide tangible solutions for organizational champions who want to impact the current workforce crisis in human services and promote a culture of true wellness, resilience, and psychological safety.

Ultimately, by creating actionable data, organizations that check-in routinely can build a robust mosaic of baselines, success measures, and strategic planning initiatives to engage and retain talent. By doing this, organizational leaders will confidently be able to answer: How are my employees? How’s my team? How are certain subgroups of employees doing?

The canaries no longer need to be sent into the dangerous coal mine. Rather, the coal mine is automated with sensors and alarms to create a safe space for all.

Through an engaging and interactive format, participants will discuss:

  • The value of checking in with staff
  • Low-tech and high-tech methods for checking in
  • How to equip supervisors to use data for targeted support
  • Case examples of using check-in data at employee, team, and organization levels
  • Opportunities to use check-in data to create and measure inclusion strategies
  • How leaders can manage this changing work environment with curiosity and compassion

Learning Objectives

  • The value of employees’ work health and the importance of equipping supervisors with actionable data
  • How to create a rudimentary check-in system
  • The benefits of using real-time data to improve work health and increase staff retention


Gwen Koenig
Chief Growth Officer

Back to event