According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 4 million people quit their jobs in July 2021. The wave of resignations peaked in April of that year and remained exceptionally high for the next several months, with a record-breaking 10.9 million open job positions at the end of July. So, how can companies retain people and survive in the face of the great resignation?
To make smart moves, it’s important first to understand the root cause of these shocking statistics. The answer is twofold: resignation numbers are highest among mid-career employees and highest in the tech and healthcare industries.
The shift to remote work made companies wary of hiring people with little to no experience since they could not benefit from in-person training and guidance. This has created greater demand for mid-career workers, thus giving them leverage in securing new job positions. Consequently, due to the number of folks resigning in tech and healthcare, the staggering increase in workload during the pandemic inevitably leads to burnout over time.
The numbers don’t lie, and millions of people quitting on a monthly basis should worry even the biggest of companies. So, what can you do to survive these difficult times? In this article, we will discover some actionable tips that can ensure your business continuity even after the Great Resignation is over.
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What is the Great Resignation?
But first, let’s explain what great resignation is. Also known as the Big Quit, the great resignation is an ongoing trend in which employees voluntarily resign in massive numbers. It started in early 2021, primarily in the US, and it slowly spread all over the world. The term was coined by Anthony Klotz, the Anderson Clayton Professor of Business Administration, who defines it as the period of time during the pandemic when employees are leaving their jobs at an alarming rate. The reasons for leaving vary, from reshaping their career goals to starting new careers and everything in between.
1. Quantify the Problem and the Impact of Resignations on Business Metrics
Make sure to quantify the scope and the impact of the problem by calculating your retention rate with this formula: number of separations per year ÷ average total number of employees = turnover rate. Use similar formulas to determine how much of your employee turnover is coming from voluntary resignations versus firings and layoffs. This will help you figure out where your retention issue is coming from.
Next, understand the impact of resignations on your key business metrics. When employees leave your company, the remaining team will often find themselves ‘lost,’ or without skillsets or resources, which can negatively impact everything from the quality of work to revenue. This step is important if you want to get a full picture of the costs of resignations.
2. Understand Why This is Happening
Once you figure out the scope of your retention issue, conduct a detailed data analysis to determine what’s causing your employees to leave. Going through metrics such as performance, size of pay, compensation, the time between promotions, tenure, and training opportunities can help you identify problems within your company. This analysis might help you in two ways: you can identify which employees have the highest risk of resigning and which of them can be retained with specific interventions.
Once you identify the root causes of employee retention in your company, you can create customized programs to correct issues your organization struggles with. For instance, if the time between promotions is associated with high resignation rates, you should rethink your promotion policies.
3. Manage Employee Exits
Managing resignations while recruiting, hiring, and maintaining active projects in your company is a lot of work. To avoid unnecessary pressure, make sure to use the departing employee’s time before they leave. Get the full picture of what they’ve been working on and what they were planning to do with the ongoing projects. Ask them where they can properly delegate tasks and what is urgent to be done before they officially leave. Consult your management team on what else you may need to ask of this employee before they go. Don’t forget to check if all the tasks have been properly wrapped up, and meet with HR to plan out how you can transfer knowledge to the next employee.
4. Don’t Shy Away from Asking for Referrals
If you want to survive the Great Resignation AND even be more successful than before, make sure to ask your departing employee for referrals for potential replacements. Ask them if they know someone who would be an equally competent replacement. If they don’t have anyone in mind ask if they would be willing to share the ads on their social media profiles, just in case someone in their network is looking for such a position.
5. Get Employee Feedback
This ties in with determining why employees are leaving your company (from step 2). Although getting feedback from departing employees is not commonly done, it’s important for you to know why it’s happening, especially in these times. Businesses all over the world are being impacted and are increasingly competing over employees. If you want to attract, and especially retain top talent, you will have to apply the feedback you received to become more desirable to potential employees.
You can ask the departing employee to fill out a survey, but you don’t need to limit the survey to just the employees who are leaving the company. You can make it anonymous and extend it to the rest of the team, which can provide insights into what bothers your employees, areas you can improve, and how you can build a stronger company culture.
Make sure to monitor feedback from company review websites such as Glassdoor, Vault, or JobAdvisor. Take note of comments suggesting possible areas of improvement in your company. This is important since candidates will often check these sites before they apply for the job and may end up canceling their interview if they find something they don’t like.
6. Talk With Your Employees
Handling transition with care is very important, especially when employees are walking out the company’s doors. Resignations should be a subject of a team meeting and not office gossip. Also, think of ways to manage the remaining workload with your team until a replacement is hired. Don’t forget to offer something of value to the existing employees to improve their morale and productivity despite the unwanted changes.
This can be anything from offering to pay more – if possible – to developing strategic partnerships for employee perks. Paying more is certainly one of the easiest ways to retain employees, but research the shifting cost of living in your city before you talk numbers. Ask yourself whether you pay your employees enough so they can cover the basic expenses such as housing, food, and transportation. Find out how much your competitors are paying their employees and what is the national average wage for the particular position. But, if raising salaries is not possible for you at this moment, there are other ways to attract and retain talent, such as employee perks.
Think of partnering with a brand that can provide these perks. A few examples are free or discounted childcare or gym membership, free coaching or mentorship, transportation vouchers or reimbursement, free educational opportunities or tuition assistance, gift cards, etc.
When an employee leaves, it’s vital for companies to understand why it happened, what they can do to improve, and how they can best prepare their new hire for success. If employee transition is not properly done, it can waste valuable resources and have a negative effect on other team members and projects. Companies that take a proactive approach to the great resignation are more likely to survive it and succeed.
Hundreds of new candidates are looking for job openings every day, and CIBR Warriors is there to help you find the right one for you. For more help on advancing your career or finding a perfect candidate in IT and Cybersecurity, please contact us. We’d be happy to answer your questions and provide you with the best advice for getting started.