Is your business being impacted by the ‘great resignation’? Here’s what to do

People are leaving their jobs – or thinking about it – in droves. Experts predicted that this would happen, it’s been dubbed the ‘great resignation’- and it’s causing a headache for businesses across the globe.

What is the great resignation and why is it happening?

The term Great Resignation was likely coined by Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Mays Business School of Texas A&M University. Klotz foresaw that the pandemic would be an accelerant for record numbers of people quitting their jobs. In an interview with The Verse Klotz describes three core reasons for the shift:

  1. A backlog of churn – People who would have usually quit their jobs in 2020 held on because of economic uncertainty. Now that things are returning to normal (albeit a ‘new normal’) there is a pent-up number of people handing in their notices. 
  2. Burnout – People are emotionally exhausted after the pandemic. It’s a strong predictor of quitting.
  3. A change of heart – The pandemic drove people to contemplate where they are in life. Many concluded that they didn’t miss their jobs and wanted to do something different.

With a recent Microsoft study confirming that over 40% of the global workforce have considered leaving their employer this year it’s time to take action.

It all boils down to employee satisfaction (or dissatisfaction).

The bottom line is employees won’t think about resigning if they are happy in their jobs. Positive workplace culture is the core pillar for retention. Interestingly, while business leaders may think that they maintain a good working culture, our research shows that nearly half (42%) of employees believe it has deteriorated during COVID. It’s important to understand that remote and hybrid work has dramatically altered the landscape and businesses must adapt to keep pace with the needs of their staff.

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Employers must take immediate action to retain and engage their workforce.

The great resignation is certainly shaking things up, but organizations should see it as an opportunity, not a threat. It’s the perfect time to re-evaluate how you do things and put initiatives in place for long-term success.  Here are some suggestions for how to turn things around:

  • Regular check-ins are more important than ever

Regular check-ins with line managers to discuss performance objectives, development and wellbeing are more important than ever. Stress levels and the mental health of employees should be high on the corporate agenda, and check-ins can act as an early warning beacon, helping to flag up when employees are struggling to cope.

  • Offer development opportunities and career paths

When employees are offered career progression opportunities, it makes them feel like they’re growing with the company and provides a sense of purpose, which in turn fosters loyalty.

  • Recognition, recognition, recognition.

Everyone likes praise or at least recognition for the work that they do but all too often this is only one way. Managers give recognition to employees, and it’s usually purely based on performance. Encourage peer-to-peer based recognition and intertwine this with corporate values instead of just performance.

  • Set objectives and communicate them!

Employee burnout has been listed as one of the main drivers behind the great resignation and it usually occurs when tasks are not prioritized properly. Business leaders can prevent this by setting (and communicating) clear objectives that are connected on a company-wide, departmental, and personal level. When there is a clear view of goals employees can prioritize their workload based on what really counts.

  • Involve and empower your employees – Foster a community with a purpose

When working in an office it’s easy to see if someone is unengaged or unhappy, and it’s obvious if they get on with their team members. In a virtual world, it’s not so easy to spot. Installing an instance of Microsoft Teams or having zoom calls is not enough. While these tools are great for collaboration, they are not designed to track engagement levels, sentiment or how well employees get on. Business leaders should introduce a system for two-way communication that fosters a sense of community.  

  • Build a strategy that creates lasting engagement

If you can put all the above in place it will certainly be beneficial, however, on its own, it’s not enough. To retain talent on a long-term basis business leaders must be consistent and see transformation as a long-term strategy.

New strategy, new technology

Implementing a strategy to retain and attract talent can seem like a mountain of a job. However, with the right software, it’s completely achievable. Performance management software like StaffCircle helps to ensure the success of your process while avoiding the onerous administrative tasks involved in a paper-based system. The all-in-one software combines comms, culture, and performance management and is designed to address the challenges of a post-pandemic world.