Cultural and economic changes caused by the pandemic have led to a high turnover rate within the business world – a phenomenon known as the ‘Great Resignation’. Despite mass vaccination and the general loosening of restrictions, this global employment trend shows no signs of slowing down this year. As a result, employers are now having difficulty attracting and retaining talent.
For businesses to succeed in such a challenging environment, it is necessary to first understand why so many people are quitting their jobs in the first place. From there, companies can make well-placed efforts to attract and retain the talent they need moving forward. Our analysis can help your organisation adapt to today’s job market, putting you in the best position to thrive in the months and years ahead.
Causes of the Great Resignation
Why, indeed, have so many people left their jobs during a period of economic stagnation? At first glance, the opposite outcome may appear more logical; during uncertain times, employees have all the more reason to hold onto a stable source of income.
Yet the unique nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our collective response to it, has created a rare combination of incentives which have driven employees in every sector to re-evaluate their career choices. These include:
1) Government income support: In many countries, the government has provided financial support to people affected by the pandemic. This additional income stream leaves workers less reliant on paychecks from their place of employment, and in many cases gives them enough flexibility to experiment with different career paths.
2) Remote work potential: The pandemic prompted many businesses to let their employees work remotely. Although social distancing restrictions have since been lifted, some employees have developed a great preference for this method of work – and if their current employer will no longer permit such arrangements, they will find one that does.
3) Diverging opinions about the relative threat posed by COVID: Some people are deeply worried about becoming infected, and feel that the safety and hygiene policies at their workplace provide inadequate levels of protection. Other people are unafraid of COVID, and resent the mandatory masking and other workplace restrictions put in place to prevent viral spread. Both of these groups may therefore find themselves unsatisfied with the status quo at their place of employment, preferring instead to work at an organisation whose policies are a closer fit with their own attitudes about the pandemic.
4) Burnout and related issues: With the slower economy forcing many companies to tighten their belts in the face of dwindling cash reserves, many employers have made the decision to lay off part of their workforce. The remaining personnel are often left to carry the extra weight, and end up feeling overworked for long periods at a time. Their employers, still waiting for their revenue streams to recover, may be unwilling or unable to give raises and promotions to their hard-working teams. Sooner or later, employees may begin to experience burnout, losing both the energy and motivation needed to keep working at such a breakneck pace.
5) Misaligned values: The human and economic harm caused by the pandemic has been incalculable. Yet this shared experience has, at the very least, prompted people to take a more global perspective on the issues that affect us all. Public opinion polls show significantly increased levels of concern about issues related to the environment and overall sustainability. Many employees, frustrated that their personal values and beliefs are no longer reflected in the business practices of their employers, have decided to put their talents to use elsewhere.
How to win over top talent
Businesses that fail to address the concerns and incentives outlined above will be at greater risk of losing their top talent. However, there are clear actions your organisation can take to make itself more attractive on the job market – to current as well as potential employees.
Ensure transparency in compensation – Employees expect to be compensated fairly for what they do. Companies should be transparent about compensation, and ensure that their current staff are at least paid at the market rate.
Embrace flexible working arrangements – Flexible working arrangements can go a long way toward helping employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. In one recent survey of digital workers, fully 95% said they wanted to work remotely at least once a week.
Provide growth opportunities – Career stagnation is one of the main reasons why employees resign. Make sure your team has ample opportunity to grow within your organisation.
Take care of your people – Employees want to know that their company cares about them. Consider updating your policies surrounding personal stress, mental health, parental leave, and other such issues.
Make extra efforts to be inclusive – If most of your workforce comes from just one demographic, you may be missing out on a large slice of talent. Expand your HR policies to bring in (and promote) people with different backgrounds, whose diverse talents and perspectives can help build a more well-rounded team.
Keep your people in the loop – Always ensure that your team knows what your company is doing, and why. Absence of information inevitably results in the spread of rumours, while frequent and carefully communicated updates on internal policy can help keep everybody happy, on the same page, and believing in the company’s mission.
Improve ventilation – A modern, well-designed HVAC system can maintain clean airflow within your workspace, helping to protect against viral spread without the inconvenience of indoor masking policies. Investing in such a system can also lead to reduced sick days, while satisfying the concerns of personnel whose opinions about COVID may diverge.
The Great Resignation is a very real phenomenon, but it doesn’t affect all organisations equally. In fact, companies that follow the right strategy can actually thrive in such an environment, by attracting skilled candidates whose previous employers failed to adapt to the post-pandemic world.
Connexus Global understands the challenges and opportunities facing employers today – and we’re ready to help you bring in the best talent for your business. Contact us to get started.