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The Great Resignation: How to Get Your Team to Stick Around for the Long Haul
Almost two years on, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a major impact on people’s lives. One of the biggest implications for many businesses was the widespread shift to remote working. Many people found that they could work just as effectively at home as they could in an office.
This presented new opportunities – if they could work from home, could they work for a different company entirely? With proximity to the office a moot point, this led many to think outside the box and refocus their goals. According to a FlexJobs survey carried out between March and April 2021, 58% of workers polled said they would “absolutely” look for a new job if they could not continue remote work in their current role.
So, what does this trend mean for your organisation, and what can you do to combat it?
According to a survey of more than 3,500 workers in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, and Canada carried out by Workhuman, nearly 4 in 10 people polled said they were planning to look for a new job in the next 12 months.
While there may never have been a better time for employees to focus on themselves, this led to difficulties for employers. The prospect of staff leaving en masse is never positive, especially when coupled with other potential impacts of this ongoing pandemic.
Inspiration and motivation
What is the reasoning behind this shift? The Great Resignation, as it has been termed, stems in part because employees are finding it more and more difficult to find both the inspiration and motivation to keep their noses to the grindstone.
People want more balanced and more fulfilling working lives, so they are less and less willing to sacrifice their time at a job that isn’t right for them.
Learning and development
The question for employers, then, becomes how do you stop your employees from leaving? A better question may be how can they make their employees want to stay?
One way of stopping the drift is through learning and development, which is one of the key areas that can address employee dissatisfaction.
A LinkedIn Workforce Learning Report from 2019 showed that 94% of employees were willing to stay at a company longer if it invested in their professional development. According to the 2021 Workplace Learning Report, 57% of L&D pros say that internal mobility is more of a priority now than before COVID-19, and that employees stay almost twice as long at companies with internal mobility.
Providing in-office training as well as other opportunities for development, including support for courses outside of the workplace, is one recognisable way of investing in staff. Companies may talk a lot about learning and development, but without real implementation, it can seem like lip service.
It’s important to find courses that align with a company’s strategies, as well as an employee’s own interests. This will provide both parties with a boost that will result in deeper engagement and higher productivity. Once staff and management buy into the process, it’s more likely that an employee will want to stick around for the long haul.
Another way of engaging staff is simply by showing appreciation. Either by simple thanks or through an enjoyable work experience, through things like casual days at the office (COVID-19 notwithstanding) and social activities
It is also essential to address unconscious biases. This can be seen in ways like parental leave for LGBTQ+ staff or the racial makeup of any advertising a company may provide. Similarly, if all of a company’s social activities revolve around alcohol or involve late nights straight after work, it may alienate people whose interests lie elsewhere. The same can be said for people whose external responsibilities prevent them from going out on a Friday night.
Acknowledging the full spectrum of human experience will mean employees feel seen and heard, appreciated and welcomed.
All of this is to say that the easiest way to retain staff is to treat them like people, rather than workers. Providing support for staff will benefit employees and the business as a whole, so it only makes sense to get the best results for everyone. Offering gratifying rewards for staff will help instil a sense of purpose and drive that may otherwise be lacking and will help to keep everyone on board.