Employees are leaving their jobs in record numbers, according to a survey by Pulse of the American Worker, in what is being called the Great Resignation. The turnover, also known as a “turnover tsunami” has hit the hospitality and retail industry the hardest. Teams are more restless than ever before and looking for a change. More recently we have also heard reference to The Big Quit or The Great Reshuffle, and it is all the same. Employees as we knew them pre-Covid, have changed their priorities.
What Has Led Up to the Great Resignation?
According to Management Professor Anthony Klotz, who coined the term the “Great Resignation”, he believes the rise of hybrid and remote work helped create a phenomenon on how we really want to spend our time. And that is not slugging away in a workplace that does not appreciate its employees or performing a job that one does not relish.
Employers are recalling employees back to the office without consulting them. This is unexpected and unappreciated. Although the prediction was most employers might maintain a remote workplace, now 40% have resumed a back to work routine, and 30% have a hybrid culture. According to KPMG, 77% of Canadian employees support a hybrid workplace model, although four in five are concerned that the leadership in their organization is not prepared or equipped for it.
Work-Life Balance Could Make the Difference
What many employees have learned is there could be a better work-life balance, if they can work at least some of their week from home. In fact, this balance could mean the difference between falling victim to the great resignation or not.
Why is that? For starters:
- There are fewer days commuting to work, saving time and money
- There are fewer distractions, so they feel more productive, despite managing children and pets while at their desk
- Family experience has been enhanced being able to eat more meals together, and more time, in general
- Cost savings in gas, lunches out, coffee runs, less clothes shopping
(Each of these factors also contributes to company culture. Learn more about strategizing your company culture in this post)
Values and priorities have also shifted, and employees want more flexibility and want to maintain better family connections. Of course, the service industry employees cannot work from home. But many are reconsidering their roles unless there are improvements to their workplace cultures. They want more flexibility and better communication.
Should Leadership Be Concerned About the Great Resignation?
Leadership should be concerned, especially with the staggering number of employees that are considering a change. If this alarming statistic does become a trend, changing jobs often will become “all the rage”.
Predictions are that even leadership is re-evaluating their own roles with the anticipated challenges of labour shortages, worker burnout, and mental health issues. The additional pressure of an already stressful role is of particular concern during the great resignation.
(Speaking of burnout, read more about the importance of taking time off in this post)
Leadership executives who, in the past, travelled extensively, worked long hours, and often missed family occasions and milestones are rethinking their roles. During the pandemic lock-down, they finally got an opportunity to experience what they had missed in the past and as a result, their priorities have shifted too.
Usually, when employee turnover is high, it suggests a strong economy. Interestingly, the economy is weak, yet employers are noticing labour shortages.
Employers should not wait for their labour shortages to become chronic before they react. A strong effort to impact current culture, develop management soft skills, and increase communication can make a difference. In addition, placing priority on succession planning and an aggressive employee retention strategy.
Bottom-up leadership can involve employees and encourage them to contribute to solutions. Internal mentorship programs are excellent to recognize future talent and enhance confidence in advancing employees. Employees with a succession plan, whether it be one, two or three years out, are less likely to leave.
(Don’t overlook diversity, equity, and inclusion in your business planning either.Learn more here)
Considerations to Boost, and Sustain, Retention:
Benefits for Boosting Retention
According to Hub, a North American leading insurance broker, organizations are enquiring about enhanced benefits such as:
- Wellness Programs
- Retirement Options
- Employee Satisfaction Initiatives
These may well become important factors in improving employee retention and recruitment of new employees, as are flexible schedules and recognition programs.
A bottom-up culture, where employees not only feel heard but also feel they can contribute suggestions and ideas, creates ownership and pride. When employees care, and feel they can make a difference, attitudes are more positive.
Employees also appreciate opportunities to get to know one another, including senior leadership, so events that allow everyone to gather go a long way. It can be as simple as a potluck luncheon, or a standing “State of the Union” address with snacks and an opportunity to mingle.
Having strategic goals, so a shared Vision, Mission, and Purpose can bring employees, and leadership, together. Leading by example, at all levels, demonstrates the goals are not just listed on a wall poster or website, but are real, and daily, priorities.
When a company demonstrates Social Responsibility, it demonstrates there is a concern for the communities in which they operate, and they are willing to give back. That can be with time, money, or other worthy campaigns and ideally those that employees can participate in.
Current Succession Planning Program
A successful Succession Planning Program is one that is easily measured. One needs only to measure the ratio of internal promotions versus external hires. No one can say exactly what the right ratio is, and it depends on the industry and the certification required, but around two-thirds internal promotion to one-third external hires is often recommended.
Exposure, training, and gathering experience can take time so candidates should be selected (if they are interested) up to three-years in advance. Consider all three areas – how can employees interested in advancement gain exposure, receive training, and build experience to ready them for advancement. It is a planning process; it cannot be left to chance.
Training Programs, and Availability of Training
This is another critical area since training serves to
- Train and educate for new skills
- Improves morale
- Creates teamwork
- Impresses customers, hence repeat business
- Encourages employee appreciation toward leadership
- Supports Succession Planning
- Can be cost effective
There are no shortages of advantages to implementing a training culture to an organization. Plus, it is great for business as customers will notice a trained and enthusiastic employee right away.
At X5 Management, we are supporting more and more business clients with team development and leadership coaching. While this is not new for us, the reason for this focus is also attributable to employee retention. Fortunately, some employers are anticipating what could happen if they don’t take steps to address this.
But sadly, many are not putting enough attention in this area, which could greatly impact them and their businesses down the road. Contact us for a complimentary Discovery Meeting to see how we can help your business:
Regardless of social or economic factors, a positive and engaged workplace culture will always be the best way to create a loyal and tenured workforce, who feel they have identity and purpose within their organization.
“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” – Simon Sinek