Companies that are trying to manage their human capital are deep-diving into the subject of The Great Resignation. What can they do to ensure they are unaffected by this employee departure crisis? The answer may not be what you think. The media is blasting the airwaves telling listeners that employees are leaving due in large part to pay. With the sharp increase in the cost of living and inflation, this is not hard to believe. Surprising to many business owners, there are many factors to consider. Workers are leaving seemingly safe and secure careers that they were satisfied in before the pandemic. In my opinion, pay is not the only thing that is driving this movement.
Here are four ways your company can be resistant to The Great Resignation—that don’t involve a pay increase.
From my perspective, your company culture is the strongest predictor of employee attrition. According to MIT Sloan Management research of 34 million employee profiles, company culture is 10 times more important than compensation when predicting turnover. Additionally, workers who feel respected and are part of companies that have ethical leadership are more likely to stay in their positions.
What is your employee perception of job security? Are they concerned about the future of the company’s industry? Leadership can do a great deal to strengthen their relationship with employees and provide honest and thoughtful prospectives on their predictions in the industry. If your industry has challenges, openly discussing and engaging with all employees about how your company will be successful through the difficulty will be a strong anchor for employees to rely on. Marketing roles within HR departments are emerging and assist leadership in proving strategic communications, internally, where an effective thought leadership communication effort will reinforce employees’ confidence.
Identifying burnout can be tricky. Tasking an employee with a challenge or hard-to-set goal may be motivating to one worker but cause stress and burnout to another. Leaders need to be attentive to what innovative goals and quotas put employees in the danger zone for burnout. Innovation and forward-thinking can be a badge of honor for leadership but can be detrimental to the workforce if not managed properly. Pushing hard on projects is part of the game. Proving adequate and meaningful recovery time is critical to keeping workers engaged long-term. I’m seeing Fortune 500 companies get creative with no meeting Fridays where staff can work uninterrupted and focused all day on Friday; a Wednesday midweek recharge where employees can take two hours at the beginning or end of the day to spend time to refresh; and Friday lights out where employees can log out at 1 p.m., no questions asked. Companies that advertise that they have work-life balance must be implementing practices that actually allow it.
The need for positive recognition is an innate desire in all humans, no matter the position or level. And being fair when it comes to recognizing work performance holds a lot of weight. Clearly distinguishing high performers from nonperforming employees will cement and attract a quality workforce that feels rewarded. Positive reinforcement where it is due is impactful.
When I think of employee satisfaction, it’s not just one thing that keeps an employee from leaving. It is made up of many things, including the social and economical climate. The timing of the pandemic is a spiritual revolution of people realizing they want more out of their time, putting a greater emphasis on family time and wanting the ability to make more money.
Losing employees is costly for any organization large or small. Having a strong pulse on your human capital, keeping pace with the market and creating a strong culture are keys to keeping employees committed.