Resignation. Great or otherwise, is a disruptive event in the organization’s life. Depending on who the employee is, their resignation could disrupt the entire organizational strategy. Best-case scenario, it means several weeks of additional workload for colleagues and (on average) $15,000 in recruiting and onboarding costs to the organization. But what we have witnessed since the start of the pandemic is that significant segments of the workforce are quitting in large numbers. Estimates range anywhere between 10 and 12 percent of the workforce have quit during the pandemic, and more than half of all workers are currently considering changing jobs. This mass resignation doesn’t just disrupt organizations, it disrupts the entire labour market.
The result of a shrinking workforce is increased competition between companies to recruit and retain top talent. Often, this means outsized salaries and signing bonuses as a draw to get talent in the door. But what happens next? Sure, throwing money at a problem can work in the short term, but how do organizations keep employees after that?
The pandemic shone the light on five key areas that lead to employee resignation:
1. Ongoing organizational change – People have limited capacity to handle change, and too much change in the short period of time drives resistance to the change.
2. Increase in burnout – Typically characterized by emotional exhaustion due to a feeling of a lack of accomplishment and the depersonalization of the (remote) workplace.
3. Absence of psychological safety – When employees feel that they are not being heard, that they are not accepted, and they can’t bring their whole selves to work, they find themselves out of alignment with their employers and writing resignation letters
4. Poor management – A lack of skill in a manager creates unnecessary stress in the workplace. As much as 50 percent of employees feel their own performance would improve if their managers did a better job.
5. Lack of opportunity to grow and develop – A stagnant employee is more likely to be unhappy and to be less engaged in the workplace culture.
These are not easy problems to solve; they require effort, planning, and the willingness of organizational leadership to continuously invest in their employees to see long-term success.
So what is the solution? Training!
Here are some strategies every organization can take strengthen your retention strategies:
1. Managing change isn’t easy at the best of times and managing a poorly conceived and communicated change could derail organizational strategy for years to come. In 2000, The Harvard Business Review determined that 70 percent of change initiatives fail. Twenty years later, that number is estimated to be even higher. Learning how to manage and communicate change within an organization is a key driver for a successful change process. A small investment today can pay dividends for years to come.
2. Put out the flame before it engulfs the entire organization. Burnout is not something that happens overnight. It happens incrementally, slowly, and is often accompanied by clear signs such has reduced moral and engagement, poor performance, and increased conflict at the workplace. The most important thing an organization can do to manage burnout is to talk about it and to give leaders strategies and tools to identify it before it happens. For employees, this means giving them the tools to help themselves through this difficult time.
3. Organizations need to continuously support the psychological well-being of its employees. Today, this means initiatives and training on diversity, equity, and inclusion. It also means creating an environment where employees feel safe to share and be themselves while contributing to the entire team.
4. Empower your managers to better communicate with and support your employees. When provided with proper training, managers can have direct contribution to the success of their teams. Few managers are born equipped to support a team. This is a learned skill like any other and requires constant development to be effective. Simply put, the training you provide your managers today will setup the organization for success in the future.
5. Inspire your team to grow beyond their current self. Offering a comprehensive range of training opportunities for your employees benefits every aspect of the business and drives the behaviours and competencies that every organization needs. The cost of training an employee is tiny relatively to the cost of replacing them. And the impact on morale is priceless!
Your Engaged HR assignment:
Are you worried the Great Resignation is at your door? Are you dealing with retention challenges? Think strategically about the kind of learning that would benefit you, your managers and your entire organization and see your team engage in a new way. Interested in learning more about how The Art of HR training series can help your retention? We are happy to chat!
Looking to learn more about other HR topics? Check out our Art of HR series!