Perhaps you’ve heard about The Great Resignation, the record number of employees quitting their jobs. In September of 2021, 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs. Each industry has experienced a varying level of employees leaving their positions, though certain ones, like the foodservice industry, were particularly hard hit.
In this post for Process Street, We’ll explore this phenomenon affecting the working world and look at some ways your business can continue to onboard top talent despite the shortages of workers.
The Great Resignation: Causes & effects
The need to reduce the spread of COVID-19 led to innovations in technology for remote work. New and updated tools allowed employees to complete job tasks from home. Flexibility, increased time with their family, reduced need to commute, and, of course, the ability to social distance were all benefits gained by remote workers.
Returning to work in person would decrease some of these benefits, and many people were unwilling to give up these gains. Tired of low wages, little-to-no benefits, and rigid expectations, they left in pursuit of better opportunities.
Additionally, many people were laid off or switched to freelance and contract work. This gave them the ability to be their own bosses and the potential to increase their earnings. In fact, 75% of freelancers are now making just as much money as they were when employed full-time before the pandemic. All of these factors have contributed to The Great Resignation.
People between 30-45 years old are resigning at the greatest rates, with an average increase of more than 20% since last year. Turnover rates are highest among young adults and workers within the age bracket of 30-45 years old who tend to have management roles. This disrupts productivity and could lead to lower output, longer turnaround time, and overall production delays. This is a significant trend that can negatively impact businesses of all sizes and industries.
How companies can win the talent war
Companies will have to explore why their turnover rate has increased. Understanding these reasons will help businesses to address these concerns. There are various ways you can collect information from former and current team members. It is also important to understand how these missing employees will impact your business.
Once you do that, there are a few ways to better understand your own business environment and improve your chances of snagging top talent:
Talent strategy 1: Know your adversaries
Explore what companies with high staff retention are doing to keep their employees. If you find several differences, it may be time to make changes to your operations. For example, if you are not paying a competitive rate, it will be hard to keep staff or replace staff members that have left.
Pay is not the only thing that drives employee retention. Benefits like insurance, paid time off, and employee incentive programs influence where someone will choose to work.
Since the pandemic began, studies show there has been a 50% rise in the number of people purchasing a life insurance policy, but that isn’t the only insurance you should consider offering.
Health insurance is another way to entice workers to choose you as their employer. A comprehensive plan may be more appealing than one with less coverage; however, if you have the ability to offer a variety of options that would be best. This gives your employees the choice that best suits their needs.
Aside from being an attractive perk, health insurance will reduce the personal stress your employees may experience. It can also decrease the amount of sick time they need because any concerns can be addressed right away.
Additionally, plans that include things like eye coverage will ensure your employees are able to complete job tasks. As you can see, offering health insurance can be paramount in maintaining operations.
Paid time off (PTO) is another way to attract and keep employees. In the case of unforeseen circumstances, workers are able to maintain their income. PTO also allows staff a chance to take a break from work as a way to avoid burnout. Overall, it can show you respect and value your staff members.
The next perk that will keep you competitive in the current job market is employee incentive programs. People want to know and feel that they are valued, and you can work towards that goal with incentives. They do not have to be over the top: Bonuses, lunch days, and small gifts are all ways to express appreciation.
Plus, incentives can be used to keep workers engaged in what they are doing, as in holding a team competition. Participants can earn rewards and strengthen relationships with their coworkers. Challenges and competitions can keep things interesting, but not everyone will enjoy or participate. Again, you will need to know your employees well enough to keep things fun rather than annoying. Those who feel left out can be driven away.
Competitive rates and benefits are crucial factors that potential employees seek during their job hunt. Businesses that lack either are in jeopardy of both high turnover and difficulty filling positions.
Talent strategy 2: Adopt a hybrid model
Work flexibility and the ability to work from home quickly became a component many individuals could not give up this past year. A hybrid work model can boost satisfaction because it combines the needs and wants of both the employee and the employer.
Again, remote work can shrink costs associated with commuting to the workplace and creates flexibility for the worker. Staff can more easily juggle external appointment visits, tend to their families, and ensure a healthy work/life balance.
If you choose a hybrid or remote work model, be sure to implement the necessary safeguards to keep things secure, like safe access to business networks when working from home.
Do not think your business will go unnoticed by hackers. Cyber threats affect businesses of all sizes, and, according to recent findings, 61% of data breach victims were small businesses. Prevention of a cyber-attack will help your staff gain and maintain trust in your company’s ability to protect their private data.
Unfortunately, the seemingly infinite number of attacks that spammers launch means that one will eventually be successful. When this happens, it can leave your team scrambling to do damage control. It is likely that team morale will decline while workload spikes to address the concern.
What’s more, your business will be in the spotlight. Employees, news outlets, other companies, clients, and even criminals will observe your response. As such, your reputation is on the line, yet a strong and well-received response will reinforce why employment at your business is a suitable pick.
One way to begin the healing process is to have a plan before the event occurs. An essential part of this plan is carrying cyber liability insurance. This will help you to restore some of the trust lost since you will have the funds to compensate staff instead of leaving them to deal with the aftermath alone.
You can add this free Network Security Audit checklist to identify vulnerable spots in your security:
Talent strategy 3: Offer competitive perks
It is paramount to pay staff competitive wages and provide insurance benefits, but this is not the only way to guarantee employee satisfaction. Ask yourself, what value does your employment provide prospective crew members? You might consider partnering with other businesses or investing in a corporate wellness program.
This Employee Satisfaction Survey will give you a good read on how your employees feel about their roles:
If you decide to collaborate with other businesses, be sure to develop deals and discounts that are appealing. Measly discounts may seem too insignificant for some to utilize, but it is better to be able to offer something rather than nothing.
Some popular ideas are food discounts, deals with car dealerships, and gym reimbursement up to a set amount. In addition, if your business operations require specific equipment to complete job tasks, you should consider teaming up with a company that can provide equipment, like safety glasses, at a lower rate.
A wellness program is yet another way to create value for your staff members. Again, details of the program will be up to you and who you employ to run the program. A few ideas include team development activities, group fitness classes, and health education. These can all support stress management and support their health status, but you will need an effective way to get people to participate.
Talent strategy 4: Invest in company culture
Another aspect of gaining productive employees is cultivating a positive environment. In your search for workers, it is vital to consider carefully who you will choose to fill a role. Sometimes you may find a talented employee, yet their attitude creates a poor environment that stifles team morale.
The people who run your business must be able to operate as a team. No one wants to be engulfed in a negative atmosphere. Think about how you approach conflict as a company, as well as how sustainable communication practices are in your office.
Furthermore, everyone has a different personality. Some people get along with each other better than others. Perpetual disagreements are off-putting and create a negative work atmosphere. Staff may decide to change jobs due to internal conflicts and a pessimistic setting.
Talent strategy 5: Automate your recurring business processes
Without adequate management and the right tools, team members can become overwhelmed and cause mistakes and lower output. Streamlining operations can simplify tasks making jobs easier to manage.
There are many tools and services which can be used to help you in this process, and automation can help eliminate tedious tasks like mass emails, FAQ chatbots, and inventory management which will free up time for your team. Try to find a respectable amount of work for staff – not too much and not too little.
The idea is to work smart, but not harder than necessary.
Tools and services are great ways to enhance employee efficiency and reduce the pressure they feel from a high workload. Equally important are effective leaders. Employees should be able to approach their bosses for aid when they are inundated with too many tasks.
Another role team leaders and managers fill is problem-solving. Inevitably, issues are bound to arise. Regardless of their origin, you need leaders who are able to quickly resolve problems as they occur. Broken tools, interpersonal conflicts, and missed deadlines contribute to the stress staff feel.
Even so, people tend to be able to manage occasional setbacks, especially when they are given good directions on how to proceed. It becomes problematic when these difficulties go unsolved. Stress levels will rise and team members will learn that issues are unlikely to be fixed.
What’s worse is when these obstacles are intensified by a boss who is unapproachable. Staff who are uncomfortable with how a leader approaches problem-solving will be less likely to bring said troubles to light, and problems will likely become more complex. As you can see, management plays a crucial role in ensuring smooth operations.
Recent staff losses resulted in labor shortages, and, if left untreated, they could result in setbacks and failures for businesses. Remember, your staff members have lives outside of work, and more people are choosing to find an occupation that allows them to live a life rather than merely get by.
Moreover, people want to reduce the stress in their lives, and work can be a major contributor to the pressure. Competitive wages and benefits like health insurance can aid in decreasing stressors experienced outside of the workplace.
On the other hand, proper management, a healthy workplace environment, and the use of new tools and technology will assist in lessening the strain employees feel while at work. A combination of these perks will help you become one of the success stories of businesses improving employee retention and onboarding.
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed — among other intriguing things — to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.
Leks Drakos, Ph.D. is a rogue academic with a PhD from the University of Kent (Paris and Canterbury). Research interests include HR, DEIA, contemporary culture, post-apocalyptica, and monster studies. Twitter: @leksikality [he/him]