Four Ways to Counter the Great Resignation

By Mariah Collins, SHRM-CP on Jan 04, 2022
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the great resignation

Chances are good since spring 2021 you’ve heard “I quit!” from one or more of your employees. America has been in the midst of the Great Resignation since April when workers started leaving their jobs at record rates. The numbers have increased every month, hitting a new high of 4.4 million in September and now totaling more than 19 million people who have said goodbye to their employers since the spring.

Most of the quitters (50%) are leaving for better compensation and benefits, according to a Resume Builder survey. Those who participated in the survey could select multiple answers about why they were leaving their jobs. Other reasons they gave for their departures were starting their own businesses (44%), looking for remote work (43%) and finding jobs they’re more passionate about (41%). Other surveys have suggested that the pandemic stress is causing people to rethink their lives and work/life balance. An aging workforce has also played a role in the resignations. 

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For employers, the biggest question is: What can I do to keep my employees from moving on?

These actions are a good place to start:

Bump Your Pay and Benefits

In this market, compensating employees as you did before COVID discourages them from sticking around. Workers have strong economic incentives to change jobs because many of your competitors have increased their pay scales (especially if your company operates in an industry that is experiencing labor shortages), boosted benefits and sweetened the deal even further by adding signing bonuses. Review the pay and benefits standards for your industry and, if possible, align your compensation model with those benchmarks.

Related: Rumors of Resignation - Signs an Employee is Going to Quit >>

Be Open To Remote Work

Numerous studies have shown having gotten a taste of working from home during the pandemic, a high percentage of employees want to maintain at least some level of off-site work. In some industries – hospitality, restaurants and retail, for instance – working on site is a requirement. Most other companies, however, can find a way to allow employees to work at home some or all of the time.

Related: Stay With Me - Why Good Employees Leave >>

Re-Engage Your Employees

While the Resume Builder research pointed to better pay and benefits as employees’ top motivations for leaving, your people are still more likely to stay put – even if they could make more somewhere else – if they’re engaged in your company’s mission. In fact, a recent Gallup poll says the biggest reason employees are discontent is that they’re disengaged. Giving them development opportunities, getting them connected to the company’s purpose and helping them develop strong relationships at work will insulate your workers from jumping ship, even for a 20% pay increase, the Gallup study found.

Related: How to Minimize the Impact When an Employee Quits Without Notice >>

Focus On Culture

Through the COVID-19 shutdown and the early months after reopening, most businesses were absorbed with keeping their companies productive and profitable in an unprecedented business environment. Culture largely became an afterthought. But, to counter the Great Resignation, refocusing on your employees’ experience will result in much greater loyalty to your organization and its mission. Strong employer-employee relationships, propelled by clear communication from company leaders, helps employees feel excited about their contributions to the organization and supported in achieving their personal goals. And don’t forget to give your team some opportunities to have fun!

If you’re not sure you can pay your employees more, how to make remote work successful, how to get your employees engaged or how to create an enviable company culture, HR counsel from Axcet HR Solutions can provide insights that will help you avoid the Great Resignation fallout.

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