Leaders across the world are struggling to understand what factors are driving the mass exodus as millions of workers leave their jobs, leading to staffing shortages and a talent retention crisis. Research suggests performance measurements, wellbeing, and management may all be factors.
The quitting contagion is very real, and it doesn’t just happen at companies with low wages or poor management. During the pandemic, people are more likely to base their decisions on cues from other people.
The great migration to remote work in the pandemic has also had a profound impact on how people think about when and where they want to work.
“We have changed. Work has changed. The way we think about time and space has changed,” says Tsedal Neeley, a professor at Harvard Business School and author of the book Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding From Anywhere. Workers now crave the flexibility given to them in the pandemic — which had previously been unattainable, she says.
The Great Resignation doesn’t just revolve around pay
As pandemic life recedes, people are leaving their jobs in search of more flexibility and more happiness. Many are rethinking what work means to them, how they are valued, and how they spend their time. And believe work has to accommodate life.
So, what can companies do to slow The Great Resignation?
As Alain Dehaze says, “When employees feel heard, understood and cared for, they work harder, take more risks, and help others succeed. This in turn improves talent retention.”
The MIT Sloan Review offers some short-term steps organizations can take to slow down the high rates of resignation seen over the last period. Many of the reasons identified as indicators of a Great Resignation are not quick to fixes. They speak to engrained, deep-seeded cultural issues that can be very disruptive if impossible to turn around quickly.
Here’s where organizations should prioritize their focus in trying to stall and reverse the steady flow of resignations across the workforce:
Provide opportunities for lateral job moves.
Leadership is not for everyone. Employees who are technically brilliant in their job do not necessarily want to climb the corporate ladder or take on additional work or responsibilities—but they do desire recognition and growth, and the chance to try something new.
Upskilling opportunities can also make a big difference for many employees re-evaluating career moves. Research shows that only 37% of non-managers believe their company is effectively investing in developing their skills. The demand for career advancement is very high, and organizations need to provide those opportunities; if they don’t, the individual will go and find it elsewhere.
Sponsor corporate social events.
Employees need to feel connected with their team members, and company-organized social events—happy hours, team-building exercises, employee and family dinners, and other activities keep a healthy corporate culture, so naturally they are connected to higher rates of employee satisfaction and retention.
Offer remote work options.
Media coverage of The Great Resignation stresses the point of remote work the most, when employees discussed remote work options in more positive terms, they are less likely to quit.
Make schedules more predictable for front-line employees.
Industrial workers indicated they are less likely to quit when they can predict their schedule. In fact, employees with a predictable schedule are six times more likely to remain in their jobs than those who do not.
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Source: Alain Dehaze (2022, January 17). Struggling to retain top talent? Try corporate empathy. World Economic Forum. Davos Agenda 2022. Workforce and Employment. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/01/struggling-to-retain-top-talent-try-corporate-empathy