"The Great Resignation," also known as the Big Quit, refers to a current trend where people are leaving their jobs voluntarily in large numbers. According to research, the Great Resignation began ten years before Covid, when many employees resigned due to extenuating conditions. However, at the peak of the 2021 pandemic, economists speculate that the dreadful virus's outbreak only exasperated a pre-existing problem. Now that numbers continue to rise, it is time for employers to prioritize retention. The first step is to examine the job market and brainstorm ways to adjust.
The State of the Current Job Market
In 2022, the red-hot labor demand fueled US employment growth. There were surprising projections for a decline in unemployment, and the Federal Reserve took the opportunity to continue raising interest rates to combat skyrocketing inflation. At the same time, around 4 million individuals were changing employment every month. These employees were chasing a dream that 51% of job-hoppers achieved the previous year - a gain in real wages. Though there were many reasons the Great Resignation started and remained constant, inadequate income was one of the main reasons Americans left their jobs.
While the perfect solution is to adjust employees' pay and pay them more, many companies can't. Economic turbulence affects an organization's finances as well as employees' pay. So, organizations must bargain by discovering ways to influence employees positively. That way, they can minimize the Great Resignation's continuing threat.
4 Ways to Retain Top Talent
Each and every firm competes to recruit the most talented individuals. Why? Because great employees are the key to success. According to CNBC, unhappiness amongst employees is at an all-time high, which doesn't just negatively affect productivity. It also dissembles retention rates. So, with attrition rates remaining high across the country, here's how you can keep your employees.
Get Creative with Compensation
Remuneration helps optimize talent and build organizational culture. So, it's no secret that compensation plays a significant role in employee acquisition, retention, and attrition. With salary transparency on the rise, organizations must have a systematic plan for payment, including milestones, raise and bonus requirements, and other benefits that aren't pay-related.
After creating a systematic payment plan, it's time to identify the best performers based on what the organization defines as "successful." Then, you can assign numbers based on market values, company budget, and benefits packages. When doing this, you may have to give raises or cut employees' pay. Ensure that your managers are well-trained to have these conversations and provide valid reasoning for the organization's decisions.
There are tons of reasons showing your employees you appreciate them is essential. Yes, it boosts your employer brand and reduces the risk of burnout. But it also aids in retention. If employees feel like their work is meaningful and vital to the organization, it motivates them to keep developing and innovating. Here are some ideas to show your employees they are valuable to the organization:
1. Give words of affirmation - Tell them how important they are to the company.
2. Praise them when they aren't around - Tell the CEO and other managers/supervisors about them.
3. Give them a break and more flexibility - Allow high performers to set their own schedule or give them more paid days off.
4. Invest in them - Pay for professional or certification courses.
Care About Employees As Individuals
Remember, employees are people too. Many employees engage in quiet quitting, career cushioning, and voluntary quitting because they believe their organization just views them as "a number" or "a means to an end." Most believe that if they leave today, they'll be replaced tomorrow.
While some of that sentiment is true, organizations should change the narrative. The way to do that is to treat people as people and show your employees you care about them beyond the work they do. This means investing in their family, practicing emotional intelligence, and supporting their ventures outside the organization. Contributing, or even just acknowledging, their life outside work shows that you see them holistically and not just as a worker.
One of the biggest reasons people leave their organization is because they feel like they've hit the ceiling. Either there is no growth opportunity, or there is no more earning potential. Meanwhile, other reasons echo employees' inability to complete tasks because they lack resources. Either way, both reasons reflect organizations' lack of commitment to career development.
A commitment to career development comes in two forms.
The first is for the benefit of the employee. For this, employers should create career trajectories for different positions in their organization. The career mapping should include higher job titles, pay scales, and skills required. That way, employees know where their careers can go and their earning potential.
The second is for the benefit of the organization. Organizations must upskill their employees as technological innovation grows and the workplace shifts. This means organizations will need to do a bit of talent mapping. With new organizational goals come new strategies on how to utilize the employees you have. If your employees need to gain the skills to meet your needs, then train them. Training existing employees and investing in career development is better than hiring new employees with the skillset you need. Reaching goals may take a little longer (it's debatable), but you will see positive returns in productivity, retention, employer brand, and workplace morale.
Attributing today's record-high resignation rate to compensation difficulties misses the larger workplace picture. The pandemic altered how individuals work and how they see labor. Many are contemplating what it is like to have an excellent job, and almost half are prepared to resign to find one.
Reversing the Great Resignation involves addressing the Great Discontent, with managers playing a crucial role. To turn the tide in an organization, managers must care, engage, and provide employees with purpose, inspiration, and drive to perform. Employers and organizations off employees a reason to stay.