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Retaining Talent

For the past few decades, employers have held the bulk of the power in employer-employee relationships. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a dramatic shift in that dynamic. As individuals nationwide rethink their priorities, career aspirations, and self-worth, the Great Resignation is upon us – and it’s only poised to get worse in 2022. As more workers leave their jobs, more opportunities will open up elsewhere, meaning quality talent is likely to seek greener pastures if you’re not giving them the incentive to stay.

Let’s look at some numbers quickly that paint a fairly grim picture for employers. In November of 2021 alone, 3% of workers voluntarily quit their jobs. In a recent survey conducted by Harvard Business Review and Future Forum, 57% of respondents said they would consider taking a new job in the coming year. As of February of 2022, there are two unemployed workers for every three job openings

If you’re hoping to avoid the Great Resignation, it’s time to take a serious look at what you’re offering in comparison to the competition. Below, we’ll provide some tips on how to mitigate the impact of the Great Resignation and retaining talent.

Retaining Talent – Incentivize Loyalty  ​​

Employee loyalty is at an all-time low, but before you place the blame on your staff, do some reflection. Are your wages keeping pace with inflation? Are you showing your employees appreciation for their work? Do you offer benefits on par with industry standards? Issues like a lack of respect, little work-life balance, and wage stagnation will drive your most valuable employees straight into the arms of the competition.

Paying employees market rate or above is the first and most obvious means to incentivize them to stay for the long haul, but it goes beyond that. (In fact, some employees are more than willing to take pay cuts for better benefits, especially when it comes to factors like office perks, flexible work hours, and better work-life balance.) Take a very close look at what you’re offering your employees outside of money to identify gaps in your benefits package and company culture.

Are you giving employees enough vacation time? Are your healthcare benefits up to par? Do you offer dental and vision coverage or a 401(k)? If you’re lacking in these areas, you are putting yourself at risk of going understaffed soon.

Provide Opportunities for Growth

Over the past two years, people have had ample time to reflect on their career paths, with many people feeling it’s time to learn new skills and take on new challenges. If your employees have been doing the same thing day-in, day-out for years, they might start exploring employment opportunities outside your company.

Provide opportunities for growth on all levels and invite employee feedback. Start having one-on-one sessions with employees to ask them what the ideal job is and what skills they’d like to learn during their time with your company. Adjust employee roles accordingly, giving everyone member of your organization a chance to shape their job and your company at large.

Employee engagement is a major predictor of employee retention. In fact, engagement can predict 34 to 44% turnover intention. One of the best things you can do to dodge the impact of the Great Resignation is to ensure employees are learning and growing at your company.

Invest In Employee Experience

This one goes beyond what we’ve already talked about (e.g., better benefits, higher pay). According to one MIT study, toxic company culture is 10.4 times more likely than compensation to contribute to attrition. Unnecessary hierarchal barriers, an authoritative management style, and a general lack of respect for employees’ time and contributions can all lower retention rates. So, ask yourself – are employees having a good experience at your company?

You can improve employee experience at the organizational level by filling in any gaps that cause employees stress. If one person is juggling a job better-suited for two or three people, for instance, they’re probably not going to leave your company with a favorable opinion.

It goes beyond ensuring everyone’s workload is reasonable, however. You need to revamp how you involve employees on all levels. Do you ask for input from employees shouldering the biggest workloads, or do you simply delegate tasks as they come in? Do you regularly solicit employee feedback or have a my-way-or-the-highway mentality? A collaborative environment built on mutual respect is one of the most effective ways to increase retention.

Provide A Better Work-Life Balance

Last but certainly not least, work-life balance is vital to employee retention. The last year has been traumatic for everyone, and people are rethinking their commitment to their jobs. Employees are no longer content to spend the bulk of their time at work and are now seeking jobs with more flexibility.

Do you offer hybrid or full-time remote work? If not, it’s something you should consider. However, this really only scratches the surface of ensuring proper work-life balance. How much time off do you give employees per year? While the standard in the United States is ten days, that’s significantly lower than most developed nations offer, something employees nationwide are beginning to resent. Many US employers are now exploring unlimited PTO and even offering perks like one Friday off per month or three-day weekends during the summer months.

What about your company’s holiday calendar? If you’re not giving time off for federal holidays and other times of the year where offices typically close, expect your employees to start seeking work elsewhere. In light of the devastating toll of the pandemic, people value spending time with loved ones during holidays – not shuffling into the office the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas. On that note, do you have a parental leave policy in place? If not, it’s time to roll one out if you expect employees who plan on starting families to remain at your business long-term.

Retaining Talent: The Bottom Line

There was a time when employees were willing to make many personal sacrifices to maintain employment, but the power structure has radically shifted since the pandemic. Arguably, this is better for business. Employees who are well-rested, fulfilled, and respected at work are more productive than employees who are burnt out, frustrated, and resentful.

If you’re hoping to evade the impact of The Great Resignation, it’s time to revamp your office’s structure radically. Think about what you can offer employees instead of solely considering what employees can provide you with. This will help you retaining talent for the long haul and improve your company’s culture as a whole.

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