The Great Resignation Continues: How to Retain Talent and Foster Engagement
In 2021, an average of 3.95 million workers quit their jobs each month, with a record-breaking 4.5 million, or 3% of the workforce, voluntarily leaving their jobs in November alone. How can you retain talent and foster engagement in such an unprecedented time?
The pandemic was a time of great change for everyone. Workers shifted from commuting to the office every day to working from home while also taking care of elders and children. The time at home gave workers a chance for self-reflection and space to consider what was truly important to them.
For many people, this brought about the realization they weren’t happy at their job and couldn’t see any opportunities for leadership development. All signs suggest that The Great Resignation trend will continue throughout 2022. A survey from CareerArc found that one in five employees wants to leave their current position in the next 12 months. It also found that 25% of those looking to change jobs have already started looking.
While there isn’t one single reason why workers are leaving their jobs, the CareerArc survey found a few trends. Of individuals looking to change jobs:
- 30% feel burned out
- 29% want a job with a higher pay
- 23% want to switch careers
- 23% want to start their own business
- 21% want more flexible or remote work options
If you want to retain talent and foster engagement at your workplace, it’s important that you start addressing these potential employee concerns now.
How to Retain Employees and Foster Authentic Engagement
Of the reasons cited above, the most common is that employees are looking for new jobs with better working conditions, that won’t burn them out, and that will offer higher pay. While you may or may not be able to offer employees a higher salary, you can work to create a better culture that’s supportive of employees’ mental and physical health.
Get Feedback On and Adjust Your Company Culture
If there’s one thing you do to make your workplace better, improve your company culture. Establishing a healthy work-life balance isn’t just about the choices an employee makes, it’s also about the workplace culture and decisions made by leadership.
One of the easiest ways to find out how you can improve your workplace culture is to ask your employees. Before you make policy changes, ask your employees what they need to feel supported and what changes they’d like to see in the workplace.
A few changes can provide significant impact:
- Adjusting your meeting policy: Limit meetings in time, scale, and scope. Be strategic about utilizing resources like emails, Slack or Teams messages, or whatever communication platform your company utilizes most.
- Promoting breaks and self care: Establish a culture where lunch, coffee, and afternoon slump breaks are normal and expected. Managers and company leaders should demonstrate this behavior.
- Updating tech for hybrid work: If you have a hybrid work environment, it’s important that all employees have the technology they need to meet digitally, whether they’re in the office or at home.
- Empowering managers to make decisions: Managers are your frontline to understanding employee needs. Trust in the leaders you have hired to make positive changes in company culture.
While adjusting your work culture can seem like it has to be a radical overhaul, sometimes the smallest steps can go the longest distance in retaining talent and fostering authentic engagement.
Look for Ways to Upskill Employees
You hired each of your employees because they were the best candidate. When you hire the right people from the start, it’s easy to foster growth and offer leadership development opportunities that benefit the growth of your entire organization.
One easy way to help your employees upskill is through leadership development training. At Abilitie, we offer a number of different online programs where high potential employees can gain leadership skills, business acumen, and people management skills. Building a strong foundation of leadership and offering upskilling opportunities helps you to retain talent and contributes to the success of your business.
Create Transparent, Equitable Pay Policies
As more and more details emerge about systemic pay inequities, many employees might begin examining their salary in comparison to colleagues and the broader market.
Employees want to be compensated fairly for the work they do. The Payscale Fair Pay Impact Report found that employees who thought their company had opaque pay policies were 183% more likely to look for another job. Providing your employees with transparent pay policies will help to retain your workforce.
Offer Flexible Work Options
While the pandemic forced many employees to adapt to working from home, many found they liked the convenience and cost-savings of not having a commute, not having to wear office casual clothes, and not having to pack a lunch, among many, many other reasons. Those employees who find working from home more convenient will leave your company if hybrid work isn’t an option.
The future of work is still uncertain, which means you can create an environment that fosters learning and productivity unique to your organization and employees.
Take Care of and Invest In Your Employees
Your employees are your most important business resource. And, often your most expensive. According to TLNT, replacing an employee can cost 30% of an entry-level employee’s salary. That’s a hefty expense to pay to acquire new talent.
Instead, you can improve employee retention by investing in your employees and nurturing their need for growth to help them feel valued at your company.
You can proactively invest in your employees through many different ways:
- Promoting non-traditional talent to fill gaps
- Encouraging managers to ask for feedback, building team trust
- Creating internal mentorship programs
- Offering mini-MBA programs for those looking to be promoted
- Providing access to leadership development training for new talent
- Fostering a culture of approachable and supportive leadership who gives and receives feedback
When you create an environment that’s considerate of the human needs of employees and invests in their growth, they’re more likely to stay. Taking care of and retaining your current employees also benefits your company. It saves you the cost of hiring and training a new employee, improves worker productivity, and reduces absenteeism.
Make Your Policies More Inclusive
2020 saw a meteoric rise in conversation around diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. While some companies had immediate resources to start DEI initiatives and committees, some needed to move money around to fit those programs into their budgets. One simple place to start supporting a more inclusive workplace is to make inclusive policies.
Not all employees can work sustainably in what we consider the traditional work environment of Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. That doesn’t make them bad employees. Offering a hybrid work environment and flexible time-off policies are two ways you can make the workplace more inclusive and adaptable to the needs of many.
For many employers, The Great Resignation has sparked fear. They are afraid to lose employees and internal talent. But with a few intentional changes to company culture and an openness to feedback, you can better retain the employees you have.
When You Retain Talent and Foster Engagement, it Benefits the Entire Company
Studies continue to show that employees seeking other job opportunities during The Great Resignation are looking for a more inclusive, understanding, and flexible work environments with fair and equal pay. By creating a culture of growth through leadership development programs and prioritizing trust in the workplace, you can empower employees to create their own work-life balance and improve your overall business practices along the way.