The “Great Resignation” is raging on in 2022, with 4.3 million workers quitting their jobs in January alone and resignations up 23% above pre-pandemic levels. This HR phenomenon refers to the roughly 33 million Americans who have quit their jobs since the spring of 2021, causing a ripple effect of recruiting and retention difficulties for companies in every sector.
Between older workers retiring early, secondary earners deciding to stay home, and a vast majority of employees simply quitting to get better pay or treatment, this stall-out in the talent market is making it next-to-impossible for many employers to attract and retain top talent.
So, how do you hold onto your employees and engage new talent to reduce turnover and improve your talent acquisition efforts? It all starts with demonstrating just how much you value your people.
Because the truth is: if you don’t show it, they’ll seek it elsewhere.
Right off the bat, it’s important to realize that flexibility is crucial to talent retention. It’s no longer a perk, it’s a deal breaker. More than half of employees globally would quit their jobs if not provided post-pandemic flexibility. And millennials are twice as likely to quit as baby boomers. The main reason employees want to continue working remotely is the ability to improve their work-life balance.
If you’re going to prioritize what matters most to your employees, this particular issue should ring loud and clear. Offering some sort of flexibility around work schedules, locations and time off will be the “new normal". If you want to keep your employees happy and stay competitive with your offerings to new talent, continued investment in technologies that enhance the employee experience remotely and in-person will be a key part of this effort.
Reinforce benefits and wellness resources
In a Care.com survey of 500 HR leaders and C-suite decision makers, 98% of respondents said they plan to offera new benefit or expand at least one existing employee benefit — prioritizing the ones workers deem most essential, like child and senior care benefits, flexibility and expanded mental health support.
This pandemic has forced employers to act. They realize that wellness benefits are essential to employees’ productivity and happiness at work.
Expanding benefits alone can’t stem the tide of employee burnout, but it can offer a bridge to the work-culture changes that employees and candidates not only need, but have come to expect.
Highlight your one-of-a-kind culture
The transition into the hybrid workplace has created a new challenge for employers: how to cultivate an inclusive workplace culture that’s as compelling online as it is in-person.
Whatever the “special sauce” is that makes your organization unique, it’s time to communicate it internally and externally. By sharing your employer brand on social media, your careers page and other high-traffic platforms, you can give candidates a taste of what it’s like to work for your company and tell the story of how much you value your employees.
Emphasize professional development opportunities
Ninety-four percent of employees would stay with a company longer if there was an investment in learning. Talk about a retention strategy that works!
On top of that, 40% of employees who don’t receive the necessary job training to become effective will leave their positions within the first year.
Professional development opportunities offer employees the chance to obtain and maintain the skills that help them succeed. When they can visualize a clear career path and see that their employer is committed to investing in their growth, they’re less likely to leave the company because they’re more likely to feel truly valued.
Training and development opportunities are as beneficial to employees as they are to employers. It’s a chance to give employees a reason to stay engaged and keep investing in your organization.
Show empathy, honesty and appreciation
The last couple of years have been a whirlwind for employees around the world. Now’s the time for employers to demonstrate just how much they appreciate their resilience and dedication.
From one-on-one conversations between managers and direct reports to all-staff celebrations and recognition events, retaining employees will be dependent on an employer’s ability to keep them motivated and engaged. This can include offering rewards and incentives, social events, transparent total compensation and the chance to get involved in new projects.
Furthermore, don’t underestimate the importance of listening. Communication is a two-way street and, throughout the COVID-19 crisis, companies have done a lot of talking to employees. It’s equally if not more important to listen.
By encouraging open-door exchanges, conducting employee surveys, and providing mentorship and career counseling opportunities, companies can create a culture of empathy, honesty and appreciation.
Prioritize DEI initiatives
Successful Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs create an environment of mutual respect by identifying workplace biases and offering ways to overcome them. They can even strengthen the organizational culture by turning uncomfortable situations into learning experiences for everyone involved.
DEI initiatives also allow employees to feel comfortable in their own skin, so they can contribute from a place of truth and transparency. When people feel able to freely express themselves at work, their employers can learn exactly what motivates them so they can do everything in their power to keep them on board.
By truly understanding your employees, you can personalize their career planning and recognition experiences, two key aspects of employee retention.
Value Your Most Important Asset
All told, voluntary turnover costs U.S. businesses nearly $1 trillion each year.
Losing employees can lead to friction with customers, decreased productivity across the organization and a drop in morale for those who stay. It can also spur even more turnover, shine a negative light on the employer brand (think: Glassdoor ratings) and eliminate the institutional knowledge that a valuable employee walks away with when they leave.
To retain your employees and recruit high-quality talent, it’s essential to be able to show the true value you place on your employees and the value they get by working at your company. Using the above strategies can benefit your most important business asset: your people.