Managing the Tide of “The Great Resignation” 0

Managing the Tide of “The Great Resignation”
It has been projected that more than half of the employees are leaving their jobs — or thinking about leaving — this year. The article explores why that is, and how employers can find the best employee retention tactics to mitigate it and keep the most talented workers at their jobs in 2021 and beyond.

A well-constructed employee survey can act as an early warning system for difficulties within the organization, indicating when teams are falling out of alignment or when disengagement is setting in – both of which can hamper productivity and lead to employee turnover.

Over the last few months, as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to subside, life and work are also starting to get back to normal or at least the ‘new normal’. The organizations are faced with the problem of ‘The Great Resignation’ which has put the businesses in a tricky position. It has been projected that more than half of the employees plan to look for a new job this year.

It has been estimated that 95% of the workers are considering changing jobs and 92% are even willing to switch industries by the end of the year to find the right position (Monster.com). This trend has been gaining momentum and there are signs of employees jumping ship for better opportunities. Organizations need to find the best employee retention tactics to keep the most talented workers at their jobs in 2021 and beyond.

For years, organizations have taken a hard line on where employees need to work, what hours they need to work, and what days they have to work and now these organizations are in danger of losing their most important asset: their people. Pandemic is said to have thrown all sorts of norms out of the window – not the least of which is employment.

People are feeling empowered to change jobs (driven by remote work) so the quit rate has gone up to 4 million per month – the highest ever. All this means, according to Josh Bersin, Author & Industry Leader, companies have to be more focused on the employment brand, wages, benefits, and fantastic recruitment process – the ‘war for talent’ has become a ‘holy war for talent’.

Making flexibility your organization’s superpower could be a boon to both your retention strategy as well as making it attractive to potential employers. If employee retention is a battle that you have to face, it’s worthwhile to look at areas other than just pay.

Why are Employees Quitting & Its Impact? 

A good place to start is by exploring why so many people are leaving their jobs – doing so will help organizations with a roadmap to shore up employee retention. Although most organizations have taken a cautious yet practical approach throughout the pandemic to ensure that they can adapt to the ever-changing situation and continue to provide a work environment where employees feel safe, wherever located.

Employees are still not sure if they wish to return to work – full-time, or in the same organization. According to the various survey reports, the key reasons are for quitting jobs are: they seek flexibility and prefer working from home or hybrid working, they are stressed out and burned out, they feel their career is stalled and are looking for newer opportunities, their reporting manager is not supportive or inspiring & they feel they do not belong anymore to their place of work.

The pandemic took away almost one year from employees wanting to switch jobs, hence there is a sense of pent up aspirations. These aspirations could be manifesting themselves in the form of high intensity of new job-seeking by a large proportion of the workforce.

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Why are Employees Quitting

Whatever be the reason, employee turnover has a huge impact on an organization. A high turnover rate is a bad news for any business. It is a persistent concern for businesses since management has to cope with the potential consequences of such ongoing terminations. Financially – where the ‘replacement costs’ of an employee can be up to four times the salary. Motivationally – where other team members may question their own job satisfaction and disengage. The old retention philosophy of offering a pay increase or a promotion isn’t what’s working for today’s workforce, what can organizations do to get good people to stay?

It is well-known that loyal employees are the heart of a successful company, but now that the goalposts are moving, is your company prepared to keep the workforce happy and secure? Are you able to create a culture of employee retention? These are some of the questions most organizations are grappling with. Let’s understand what companies can do to handle the situation in an effective manner.

Loyal employees are the heart of a successful company, but now that the goalposts are moving, is your company prepared to keep the workforce happy and secure? Click To Tweet

How You Can Retain Employees? 

Once we get an idea of why people are leaving organization, focus on the next steps, which organizations can take to retain their employees. There are three key areas:

1. Finding the problem areas and at-risk people within the organization

A well-designed Engagement survey provides the organization with the truth about what is really going on in the business and what employees are thinking & provides insights to leaders. A well-constructed employee survey can act as an early warning system for difficulties within the organization, indicating when teams are falling out of alignment or when disengagement is setting in – both of which can hamper productivity and lead to employee turnover. Employee surveys can also deliver positive insights by capturing wisdom for within the employee ranks that are hidden from senior managers and can also showcase the strong leaders within the company, as indicated by strong engagement numbers.

Employee surveys can also deliver positive insights by capturing wisdom for within the employee ranks that are hidden from senior managers and can also showcase the strong leaders within the company, as indicated by strong engagement numbers

2. Identifying burnout and what to do about it

Employee Burnout is the key concern for many business leaders. It is important for several reasons – its costly and can lead to real damage to the business, it’s a key catalyst for employee turnover, finally, in spite of its dire consequences, burnout is both preventable and resolvable – if leaders can identify and focus on the root causes within an organization.

In the pandemic, there are several reasons for burnout – work stress, poor work-life balance, handling teams remotely, etc., adapting to the new ways of working. Combatting burnout starts with first understanding its root causes & then identifying where those exist within your organization.

3. Retaining your employees and winning the talent war

According to Josh Bersin, we are in a very tight talent market looking for people, developing skills, trying to find the right people, and put them into the right jobs—which are changing right out from under our feet. If we don’t have the right people in the right roles with the right skills, our organizations will not survive in today’s fast-paced highly competitive business environment. In an extremely tight job market– one thing is clear: the organizations that can hire and retain quality staff will quickly gain a competitive advantage.

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Retaining your employees and winning the talent war

Organizations can compete effectively if they take a focused approach and find creative ways to meet and even exceed their employees’ needs and expectations. Few suggestions that are useful and can be perceived as valuable by the employees especially during the present times of pandemic:

Making Flexibility Your Superpower 

The Great Resignation will have a devastating effect on many organizations. By implementing organizational flexibility when possible, organizations can show employees that they care. ‘Flexibility’ means different things to different people. Flexible options have become very popular with employees, to the point that people are taking decisions to leave employers who are unable or unwilling to give flexibility related to when and where they work.

Making flexibility your organization’s superpower could be a boon to both your retention strategy as well as making it attractive to potential employers. If employee retention is a battle that you have to face, it’s worthwhile to look at areas other than just pay.

Internal Hiring and Growth Opportunities for Employees

It is not uncommon to lose motivated employees who are otherwise happy simply because there was no opportunity for growth. Organizations can create opportunities for development within their own ranks, provide valuable experience for employees, whilst also building up the company’s bench strength. The pandemic has permanently transformed competition for talent.

Companies need to set up strong training engines and internal team capabilities to identify potential candidates and build a robust and skilled talent pipeline. Providing cross-functional opportunities to employees will increase adaptability and agility and hone their skills as leaders.

Internal Hiring is an established and effective strategy for the engagement and retention of performers within an organization. It can be highly motivating, engaging and rewarding for employees to see new career pathways that may not have been an option in the past. Internal Talent Mobility will result in significant savings based on reduction in recruitment costs, loss of days/productivity while the position is open & higher compensation and expectations of external candidates vs internal employees.

Communicate to Build Trust and Accountability

Communicate to Build Trust and Accountability

Clear communication and follow-up will go a long way to rebuild trust and demonstrate that the change is happening – both of which are crucial in convincing people to stay. Successfully turning the employee feedback you receive into meaningful change your employee values doesn’t need to be complicated.

In fact, the desired changes employees most often cite are relatively simple – better communication, more visibility into company strategy and the ability to provide feedback are some of the common requests. Focusing on these few things can have magical effects – it will make the organization agile & the people more resilient. Along the way, employees will become more engaged & they will influence those around them positively.

To summarize, it seems no organization is being left unscathed during “the great resignation”, there are a few suggestions to retain existing employees and entice new hires that might help navigate this staffing challenge. You need to recognize that it’s more important than ever before to train, empower, and above all, treat your employees as valuable assets that they are. Because if you don’t, your door will never stop revolving.

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Manavi Pathak is the head of Talent and Leadership Development at Trent Limited. She comes with over 15 years of wide experience in HR Consulting and Academics. Prior to this, she has worked with some big names in the industry like TATA Motors, Cipla, KPMG, etc. 

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