How to Navigate the Next Phase of The Great Resignation
April 8, 2022
We all know the stats. Roughly 3.98 million workers quit their jobs each month in 2021–the highest average ever recorded. And the trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Some 41 percent of employees are considering leaving their current employer over the coming year.
That’s likely scary news if you have big goals to hit this year. Not only does employee turnover cause disruption internally, but replacing talent is costly. The cost of replacing a single employee can equate to more than double their annual salary.
So, how do you prepare your business for the next phase of Great Resignation? This article shares what it means for you, with tips on how to make your employees stick around for the long haul—even if the pull for them to quit feels stronger than ever.
What is the Great Resignation?
The Great Resignation (or talent reshuffle) is the movement of people who are quitting their jobs in search of better working conditions, whether that means a role with more rewards, a more flexible company, starting their own business, or freelance, or leaving the workforce entirely.
Resignation is at an all-time high, with almost 33 million people calling it quits with their employer since April 2021. That‘s over a fifth of the total U.S. workforce.
Some industries are facing higher turnover levels than others. Businesses in the accommodation and food services sector, for example, have recorded an average quit rate of 6 percent in November.
The retail trade, professional and business service sector and manufacturing industries have seen similar impacts—quit rates are up dramatically compared to pre-pandemic averages:
One report suggests post-pandemic burnout is the leading contributor to the Great Resignation. Almost half of employees experience more burnout than a year ago. Forty-nine percent say the biggest factor contributing to their burnout is a heavier-than-usual workload. That’s easy to understand when new business pitches in the agency sector increased by 51 percent globally.
Veronika Baranovska, Demand Generation Manager at Sendible explains, “Those who were pondering if they should freelance or start their own business are more inclined to make the leap. Full-time staff is also picking up new hobbies and looking for ways to earn passive income on the side to be more independent.”
The sheer volume of workers suffering from burnout is driving the Great Resignation. Research shows that 62 percent of employees feel like society pressures people into an unhealthy obsession with work. So much so that more than half (52 percent) would like to withdraw from working life completely.
In other terms: Businesses are demanding more energy. And workers who previously vowed never to go it alone are handing in their resignation letters in their quest for a life they have greater control over.
How to avoid the Great Resignation
Not all employees debate whether to quit their job and join the Great Resignation. But as much as it’d play a major role in our ability to run disruption-free, we can’t predict the future. All we can do is look at trends—and the shift towards quitting a job in search of a more meaningful life is clear.
You can prevent your team members from joining the Great Resignation. Here are six smart ways to improve employee retention if they’re compelled to join the revolution:
- Refine your onboarding process
- Build a strong company culture
- Revisit your compensation, benefits, and perks
- Offer flexible working options
- Replace repetitive tasks with meaningful work
- Encourage employees to voice upcoming plans to leave
1. Refine your onboarding process
An employee’s decision to leave your company starts long before you expect it.
Team members who experienced exceptional onboarding experiences are 2.6x more likely to be satisfied with their workplace. Not only that, 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for at least three years if the onboarding process is enjoyable.
Traditionally seen as a long and complex process, WorkRamp makes employee onboarding easy. You can deliver best-in-class onboarding experiences through custom learning paths in the WorkRamp All-in-One Learning Platform.
“We had 30 new hires starting (the following week after shelter-in-place began), so we had to get our virtual effective onboarding program up and running in four days,” Gabby Petrone, Senior GTM Enablement Manager at Box said. “Fortunately, we had just signed on with WorkRamp, and that helped us pivot rapidly.” Since then, Gabby and her team have been fine-tuning the program to cater to the needs of today’s hybrid workforce.
With effective onboarding, each team member gets the guides, events, resources, and certifications they need to feel confident in their new role.
2. Build a strong company culture
Company culture is your team members’ values, attitudes, and behaviors. Considering employees are joining the Great Resignation revolution because of an unhealthy obsession with work, a strong company culture could influence their decision to stay.
Veronika explains that for Sendible, “Cultivating a strong company culture has helped us a lot—giving ownership to team members and encouraging transparency, trust, and empowerment to try and learn new things without fear of failure.”
- Asking for feedback to understand how satisfied or frustrated team members are
- Holding 1:1 meetings to uncover each employee’s career goals and suggestions to improve the workplace
- Templatizing key team initiatives to reduce knowledge gaps
Not convinced? Almost a third of employees quit their job due to company culture. But should your employees leave, company culture helps attract new talent. Nearly half of employees consider it an essential factor when looking for a new job.
3. Revisit your perks
Employee perks don’t just help you attract new team members. They go a long way in retaining existing staff, too—especially if the perks you’re giving are, in fact, perks (and not standard benefits they’ll find at another company.)
As Laura Dentith, Business Support Manager at Clarion Security Systems, explains, “This is not beer Fridays or other gimmicks. It needs to be tangible benefits and of use to people, such as working from home or hybrid working, healthcare, annual performance reviews, and clear progression and training.”
Swap incentives that your employees fail to take notice of and replace them with more meaningful perks, such as:
- Paid parental leave
- Paid time off for volunteering
- Learning and development opportunities (94 percent of employees said they would stay at a company longer if their employer invested in their careers)
Smaller business with limited cash for perks? Laura says that “being a smaller company can also be an advantage. It allows us to get to everyone individually, understand people’s needs and training requirements better and clearly communicate directly across the team; this sometimes gets diluted at larger companies.”
4. Offer flexible working
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed more businesses to work remotely than ever. Now, 85 percent of managers believe that teams with remote staff will become the norm.
Despite the initial disruption, most workers say that working remotely is a perk they’d like to have in their full-time job. So much so that 39 percent of people (and 49 percent of Millennials and Gen Z) would consider quitting if their employer wasn’t flexible about where they could work.
This doesn’t mean ditching the office entirely and encouraging all staff to work from home. Some employees do still love the buzz of being in an office. If that’s the case, hybrid working—the flexibility for staff to work at home or in the office—could be the key to retaining staff amid the Great Resignation.
“As people continue to return to the physical office, they’ll have different comfort levels and learning styles, and flexibility will be the key to designing a program that works for everyone. A platform like WorkRamp can help you cater to different audiences and provide everyone with a consistent, high-quality and engaging learning experience — whether in-person or online.” – Gabby Petrone, Senior GTM Enablement Manager, Box
5. Replace repetitive tasks with meaningful work
Despite the surge in home working, nine in 10 small to medium-sized businesses maintained the same productivity levels as the office.
Contributing to this was software. Some 92 percent of businesses say the most significant remote work technology they implemented throughout the pandemic was the extended use of collaboration platforms.
This switch to online-first, rather than office-first, forced employees to honestly look at their work. It’s a key component in the Great Resignation—employees realize that they’re sitting at home, completing mundane tasks, in isolation.
Data shows that 17.4 percent of employees who quit their job did so because they found a more personally rewarding job. Curb the Great Resignation from sidetracking your business by replacing (or automating) the repetitive tasks that get in employees’ way.
Adobe’s Future of Time report outlines the largest tasks that get in the way of completing a job effectively. Let’s look at how we can automate the three most disruptive tasks. The goal? To leave employees more time to spend on meaningful work convinces them to stick around.
- Searching for, sharing, and accessing files: Create a company-wide Google Drive or Microsoft Teams account so employees can access files wherever they’re working from. Set clear file and folder naming conventions. When they need to find something, they’ll asynchronously know where to look.
- Completing forms, timesheets, and expense reports: Install plugins like Clockify or Harvest on your web browser. When completing a task, hit the “start” and “stop” buttons. It’ll automatically generate timesheet reports.
- Awaiting signatures: Use an e-signature platform like HelloSign or DocuSign. Each has pre-made automation which reminds signees of outstanding documents. No back and forth chasing is required.
6. Encourage employees to voice upcoming plans to leave
While there are steps you can take to prevent employees from joining the Great Resignation, it’s unrealistic to think that you can prevent every member of full-time staff from handing in their resignation letter.
It’s not all bad news, though. Build a healthy, open work environment so that should your team members quit, you’ll be given the heads up in advance.
Sendible’s Veronika says, “More recently, our CEO invited everyone on the team to openly talk about their future plans with their managers (even if it is certain they want to leave). That way, we can help with their transition, prepare for off-boarding, and hand over all the necessary processes in time.”
The Great Resignation isn’t preventable, but you can minimize its impact
Businesses of all sizes, across all industries, are coming to terms with the Great Resignation.
While it’s not preventable, minimize the impact on your business—and reduce employee burnout—with flexible working options, attractive perks, and automation that leave more time for meaningful work.
WorkRamp’s All-in-One Learning Platform gives your team the tools they need to do their job, at their own pace, with the right skills. Sign up for a free demo today.
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Fara RosenzweigHead of Content Marketing
Fara Rosenzweig is WorkRamp’s Head of Content Marketing and brings over 20 years of content and brand experience. Her love for storytelling has earned her an Emmy Award, and she’s been featured in many publications. When not wordsmithing or talking about learning and development, you’ll find her globe-trotting while logging miles for her next half marathon.
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