2021 was the year of “The Great Resignation”, creating a talent crisis leaving no sector or employer unscathed.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US, recorded “quits” peaked in September with over 4.3 million people leaving their jobs. This was followed by a slight reduction of that trend in October and November.

The Guardian quoted a recent survey of 6,000 workers by the recruitment firm Randstad UK discovered that “69% of them were feeling confident about moving to a new role in the next few months, with 24% planning a change within three to six months”.

This “Great Resignation” experienced in the US also overwhelmed British soil, causing the number of people leaving their jobs to reach an all-time high. According to a recent Monster.com survey, 95% of employees are still currently considering leaving their jobs for greener pastures. Some industries have been affected more than others – leisure and hospitality, retail and healthcare being among the most affected.

Leaders are scrambling to avoid The Great Resignation by retaining their talent using increased retention bonuses, pushing back plans to return to the office, and providing more flexible work schedules.

So, what are the primary reasons for the mass quitters and how can we help to mitigate the talent losses? Many suspect the trend in “quits” initiated from a shift in psychological perspective towards returning to a job where workers were treated as dispensable, and they felt undervalued. The actual truth cited by experts claim it’s largely due to lack of childcare and, understandably, health concerns related to Covid. However, there is also emphasis on the fact that many are suffering from burnout and are simply in search for better work opportunities, self-employment or a pay rise.

Whilst forecasters are predicting a more positive 2022 with a stabilised job market, it is still anyone’s guess what this year may bring! Therefore, it is wise to keep a conscious lookout for any tell-tale signs of an employee leaving. This is essential for 3 reasons.

  1. It can help you address an issue at an early stage, giving you the opportunity to resolve it and change your employee’s decision.
  2. You will have a chance to manage the negative impact of one resigning employee on the rest of your team, as this can often be infectious, leading to a dive in team morale and a reduction of productivity.
  3. It gives you the heads up to prepare a new recruitment strategy.

Let’s look at the reasons professionals are leaving, ways in which recruitment and retention strategies are evolving and what you can do to prevent your employees from resigning.

1.) Limited business growth potential

One of the top two reasons that employees consider leaving their job is due to a lack of growth opportunities within the company. Many professionals will have the desire to grow and move upwards within a company. Recognising hard work and acknowledging employees for newly developed skills or a job well done, whilst laying out a clear career plan, will enable them to foresee and look forward to a long-term, bright future ahead.

2.) Feeling underpaid

The other top reason is… you guessed it… salary. These days, it’s quite easy for employees to find out what other companies are paying for the same role. This gives people an accurate measure of their current market value and whether they are being paid above or below it. Offering or renegotiating a competitive salary and benefits, can play a big part in motivating an employee to stay. It is important to note however, that salary is not always the trigger for a resignation and financial offers may not be necessary or enough to keep your employee from moving on.

3.) Lacking a sense of challenge

Engagement is key. Professionals truly desire to be engaged with their work and to feel that they are continuously learning new skills. Life is all about learning. It gives people a sense of accomplishment. A professional life’s success also depends on learning new skills and activating a growth mindset, thus opening up new opportunities and motivating them to access new and different areas in life. You can aid this by creating new challenges and setting new individual and team goals that they can take ownership of.

4.) Feeling undervalued

There’s a lot of truth behind the saying “People don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses”. Quite often, when an employee decides to jump ship, it’s not because they are actually underpaid or overworked, it’s because they feel deeply undervalued and unappreciated, which can be extremely disheartening and break even the most fervent staff loyalty. They will look to seek value elsewhere within a new company.

Two of the most basic human needs are to be validated and appreciated. So it’s no surprise these things can come down to simply feeling like we matter. The great news is that by investing even a small amount of time and energy to implement a system that validates good workers and finds ways to appreciate your staffs’ talent, your efforts will go a long way to mitigate the loss and the negative impact on the bottom line. At the same time, your employees will feel like an integral part of the company.

5.) Company culture no longer fits

Although company culture doesn’t have an exact definition, we know that good company culture involves trust, respect, and the opportunity for employees to participate in shared values whilst enjoying what they do. When an employee starts to feel misaligned with the company culture or values, it can be one of the more difficult scenarios to fix.

It does not come down to the companies’ values muralled on the walls or indeed the presence of coloured bean bags or table tennis areas at the office. Often, company culture is referred to as the DNA of the business, a force made up from all the employees that develops organically from the top down.

Retention rates can be bolstered by open communication channels between managers and their staff. Offering each employee a voice, while encouraging healthy day-to-day attitudes, behaviours and work ethics will improve how a company cultivates business growth. The company is essentially an ecosystem that needs to be nurtured to thrive. A thriving company culture will set the foundations for tangible business growth, able to identify and tackle any issues and form quick and effective resolutions.

In an ideal world, most employers would typically prefer to retain valuable members of their team. Yet a departure can be a great way to analyse areas for improvement in your organisation through valuable feedback given from the exiting employees and open an opportunity to add fresh talent to the business.

For advice on how to use an interactive challenge (virtual or in-person) to help understand the true personality of a candidate and narrow from your final 5 choices, down to 1; or to create a team development plan for the year, to help maximise employee engagement in your business vision and reduce staff churn, speak to one of our team development experts today. Contact us.

Written by Ben Parkinson

Published on 6 January, 2022

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