Organizations are grappling with another fast-spreading virus as the world figures out how to live with a pandemic. Employees are quitting in droves. And while there are many theories as to why "The Great Resignation" is happening, the prevailing idea is that we are seeing the release of pent-up "quit demand." Our research and insights from the frontlines of recruitment corroborate this as hiring managers report more resignations than ever in the last six months.
Power Has Shifted to Job Seekers
People stayed in jobs during the pandemic – and companies abruptly halted hiring. But now that things feel more secure, talent is on the move. And there are so many open roles out there. In our latest research on employee retention, both employees and those who hire them acknowledge that the power dynamic has shifted to the job seeker. This mood is an absolute threat to retention. Also fueling the wanderlust: low job satisfaction. Only half of respondents said that they were satisfied with their job. And active job seekers? Well, almost all of them are dissatisfied. Across the entire sample of respondents, six in ten are looking to jump ship. At this moment, 2/3 of your team is either planning to quit, is about to resign, or has left already.
Three Focus Areas to Retain Current Employees
Our latest job market report presents attitude and behavior insights from over 2000 respondents, pointing to pitfalls and opportunities for workplace retention. Three distinct themes emerged from the data, suggesting key areas companies should focus on to keep the talent that may be thinking of leaving (and the ones who are quickly burning out because so many colleagues have left): Control; Consideration; Compensation.
More Control. Less Attrition.
Remember when remote work flexibility was a coveted soft benefit that few white-collar workers had but many wanted? There may not be many things to thank COVID-19 for but accelerating this workplace trend is one of them for many employees. And our study shows they don't want to return that pandemic-propelled gift when things go back to "normal" – fully remote or hybrid is ideal forever. Three-fourths of respondents said that if an employer insisted on a total return to the office, they would look for another job.
What's more, controlling from where they work isn't the only thing employees want. They want to have a say about when they work and what their career path looks like. Customizing the employment experience matters more than ever.
It's not surprising that there would be a desire to identify where one might bring some control back into life during a time of great uncertainty. And since most of one's time is spent at work, it makes sense that the employment situation is as good a place as any to start.
Active Consideration Goes a Long Way
The pandemic did offer one silver lining, and that was an opportunity to slow down and reflect on what is important in one's life. Our study finds that employees are contemplating what they want from their employment situation. A plurality of respondents indicated that they have become more aware of the social contract that they have with their employer. They want employers to consider them as a whole person – with pressures beyond work.
Employers that make employees feel wholly supported (and act on employee-inspired ideas of what that looks like) will be the winners at retention. Yet our study found that less than half of companies regularly solicit feedback about their experience at work. Hiring managers corroborated this finding with half saying that their company rarely responds to what they learn about employees with meaningful changes to help with retention.
Employees in our survey give concrete retention advice to companies: nine in 10 said they're more likely to choose and stay with an employer who considers their holistic lifestyle. This comprises their professional well-being and emotional, physical, and financial wellness as they deal with work and home demands. With only four in ten employees responding that their current employer does that, there is a lot of talent out there ripe for poaching.
Stay or Go: Compensation will Always be Talent Retention Gold
The third theme from our retention research is compensation – the perennial talent attraction and retention lure. On the surface, this finding is not earth-shattering. But what we're hearing anecdotally from talent as recruiters is that better compensation ties back to the need to be seen and supported holistically by an employer.
Employees who feel financially secure are more productive, more engaged, and less distracted by the stress of meeting personal fiscal obligations. Compensation will always and forever be a talent lure. Still, in this time of COVID, compensation, hard and soft benefits, and perks are the foundation of the increasingly important social contract between employee and employer and a signal that the employer is committed to supporting the whole employee.
Get a copy of 24 Seven's Talent Retention Job Market Report or check out our webinar, The Psychological Impact of Covid-19 on Talent Retention. The webinar features a dynamic panel discussion that demonstrates how these findings are playing out right now in real life, with anecdotes that will help shape talent retention strategy.