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How Employers Can Overcome the Great Resignation

Six tips to help your company retain its most valuable employees so you can remain competitive in your marketplace.

Photo courtesy of Dylan Gillis via Unsplash

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted lives and forced many professionals to take a step back and reflect. It’s been a time of great uncertainty. Many people transitioned to working from home, students attended virtual classes and companies across various industries laid-off employees to stay afloat. Another change that came from the pandemic is what pop culture has coined the “Great Resignation.”

Research shows that more people are quitting their jobs every day, from frontline workers to senior executives. It forces us to ask why, and why now?

With that in mind, here are some top tips to help your company retain its most valuable employees so you can remain competitive in your marketplace.

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What Is the Great Resignation?

While some people were able to keep their jobs or work remotely, others quit their roles entirely. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 2.9 percent of the American workforce, or 4.3 million people, left their jobs in August 2021. This figure broke records.

However, it’s understandable that people quit during uncertain times. Many took time to reflect on their job satisfaction, and some decided to take a leap of faith and say goodbye to their roles.

The Great Resignation signals an emerging trend in the American workforce that may impact businesses for the next few years. Professionals need to be aware of its implications.

Why Are So Many People Quitting Their Jobs?

As with any significant shift in the workforce, there are various contributing factors to why people are quitting. Here are some of the possible reasons why an unprecedented amount of employees are leaving their jobs:

  • The pandemic has attributed to reshaping fundamental values in society.
  • Professionals are trying to achieve a work-life balance.
  • Employers are not offering quality benefits or health insurance.
  • Employees have little to no room to negotiate salaries.
  • People are embracing “career downsizing” to achieve more satisfaction out of life.

As you can see, these are only some examples of reasons driving the Great Resignation. There could be more specific reasons based on an employee’s circumstances. People may be quitting jobs because work has become too demanding or stressful.

A major contributing factor we’ve yet to mention is the potential downfall employees experience from being overworked. Burnout is real; it’s a type of work-related stress that does not have a medical diagnosis but requires some people to take time away from work.

How Are Companies Reacting to the Great Resignation?

Companies across all industries need to be aware of the Great Resignation and its potential implications. It’s possible that retaining employees will become much more challenging. Workers may start asking questions about benefits or salaries.

It’s better to be prepared when answering these questions, as it shows you’re thinking about the repercussions of employees abandoning their roles.

Now is also a good time to consider creating a viable emergency business plan. Your company will benefit from having one in place, as you’ll be more prepared for future disasters that could negatively impact your operations.

It’s expected that people who manage or own companies, or anyone who is a C-suite executive, will feel a range of emotions during this time. You may feel worried, anxious or stressed about employees leaving. Thankfully, there are ways to alleviate these feelings and retain your valuable workers.

Tips to Retain Employees During the Great Resignation

No company wants its employees to have a negative working experience, but that has been a driving factor fueling the Great Resignation. Now is as good a time as ever to strengthen your employee retention strategy so you and your company don’t become a victim of this exodus.

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1. Remain Flexible When Employees Choose Their Work Location

Because the pandemic is an ongoing public health emergency, it’s only natural that some employees want to continue working remotely. It’s no secret that the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus or the Delta variant is still high in some regions of the country and the world.

Employees should be allowed to come into the workplace or remain home if they fear exposure to the virus. Do your best to be understanding and place yourself in the shoes of those who want to work from home. It was found that telecommuters tend to reach higher levels of productivity—your daily operations shouldn’t be negatively impacted by them working from a remote location.

2. Keep an Open Line of Communication With Your Employees

Communicating regularly with your employees is something you should be doing already. It was necessary to speak with them at the onset of the pandemic, and you’ve likely been in constant contact ever since.

Allow your employees to reach out to you through email, instant messaging or in-person. Adopting an open door policy is something many employers do, as it sets a standard in the office that communication is valued.

3. Emphasize the Importance of Employee Mental and Physical Well-Being

Employees need to come to work feeling well, both physically and mentally, to deliver on job expectations, get projects done and perform well. Sick or exhausted people are not contributing to the company’s overall performance, leading to job dissatisfaction and reduced productivity.

You need to emphasize how important it is for employees to arrive at work feeling their best physically and emotionally. This time is challenging for everyone, and there’s no guide on how to navigate the uncertainty. Make sure your workers are “filling their bucket,” so your organization benefits from their hard work, and they avoid feeling burned out.

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4. Prioritize Pay Equity and Adopt a Spirit of Transparency

Now is the time to go over your pay rates with a fine-tooth comb. More recently, in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, many companies are prioritizing pay equity, diversity and inclusion efforts. Reviewing your market’s pay rates may help you reconfigure what your employees should be paid based on their credentials, background and experience.

Companies should also adopt a spirit of transparency. These are some of the benefits you can reap when being transparent:

  • Increased employee engagement
  • Stronger company culture
  • Open and free communications

Consider these benefits when you think about pay equity and being transparent.

5. Remind Your Employees About Your Company’s Mission, Values and Vision

You and your employees are working together for one reason, and that should be outlined in your company’s mission statement. Keeping this top of mind can be challenging, as it often gets lost in the shuffle. However, reiterating the importance of your mission can remind your staff why the work they do matters.

Consider rewarding your employees for a job well done and reinforce your mission statement as much as possible. Your values and future vision for the company are also worth including during meetings, brainstorming sessions or videoconference calls.

6. Treat Those Who Leave With Kindness

Some employees may leave, whether you like it or not. Turnover is common in the business world. However, you don’t want a swell of workers getting up midday and walking out. The best approach to use here is always to treat those who choose to leave with respect, a sense of professionalism and kindness.

The last thing you want is to give employees a reason to quit. If you immediately lose your temper when someone resigns, that won’t set a good example for everyone else. Be understanding and wish them well if they choose to leave.

The ultimate goal during this tumultuous time is to remain calm, listen to employee feedback and use it to make any necessary changes to your business model, benefits package and/or salaries.

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Conquer the Great Resignation

Refer to these tips if you feel overwhelmed by the Great Resignation. You’ll be ready to face any workforce issues that arise, and you and your company will come out stronger on the other side.

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