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What Can I Do to Prevent the “Great Resignation” in My Organization?

HR Question:

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to wane, I’m hearing predictions of a “Great Resignation” as employees begin to feel more confident in switching jobs or employers. What can I do to prevent a “great resignation” in my company?

HR Answer:

As consumer confidence is beginning to increase, employee/job-seeker confidence is also on the rise. Now that the US market is seeing an uptick in sales, revenue, and activity, employees who may have hunkered down in their roles are beginning to peek into the job market again. Some experts are expecting a massive wave of resignations, while others are less than confident. Don’t wait to see if the “Great Resignation” hits your organization before you act. Instead, consider these proactive steps to take now to mitigate the effects and retain your talent.

Stay Interviews / Employee Surveys

The reasons that might have originally attracted employees – for example, the look of the office, the polish or feel of the brand, even the job title – don’t typically contribute to retention. Even the benefits or salary of the role, while enticing, can lose its luster a little bit. Organizations with higher retention rates boast a culture of individual focus – seeing each employee as more than just a number, but rather as a complex person with opinions and value that they bring.

Utilizing stay interviews and employee surveys can be key tools in engaging team members and demonstrating dedication to their wants and needs. Asking questions like “what do you think about our return-to-work plans; what would you do differently; what do you need to be happier in your role” can communicate keen interest to your employees, engaging them beyond the point of “just doing a job.” But the conversation can’t just end there…

Transparent Communication & Employee Collaboration are a Must

Once opinions and input have been gathered, it’s important to do something with the feedback. Clearly communicating the results to team members and management, as well as honest expectations of what can and cannot be done, builds a sense of transparency and trust between leadership and team members. Detailing action that will be taken (as well as reasons why action can’t be taken) will allow employees to understand and buy into the future of the organization – mitigating the effects of a potential “great resignation.”

Managers can play a key role in the retention of employees, as well. After all, it can be said that people leave managers – not companies. By partnering with HR, managers can take steps to reframe their roles as more than simply managing people to hit a goal, through a process, or to a conclusion. When managers operate with the sole objective of managing production or profit, an employee can become a unit rather than a person in the eye of the manager and organization. HR can help managers to shift their mindset and reset goals to include engagement and employee happiness as critical business objectives to be met as well. Approaching these action plans with flexibility and collaboration will be key to keeping employees who may begin to start searching for a new role should their needs no longer be met.

Interview like You’re Dating

It’s possible that not every action you take will keep each employee, or there’s the possibility that the organization may continue to grow and  have new talent needs. Should the market continue to see a shake-up in organizations’ rosters, a strong interviewing approach will attract the right talent.

Just like dating, attracting and retaining strong talent is all about putting your best foot forward and developing strong relationships. You only have one chance to make a good first impression. The most important goal of the first candidate interaction is for the person to feel a spark, to be excited about a second date (or interview), and for them to be thinking “this could be the one.” Keep in mind, while employers may have a long list of qualifications and requirements, candidates care about what’s in it for them, what the employer has to offer, and why this company could be their professional dream come true.

When interviewing potential new talent, treat them like a guest. Why would a candidate want to work for a company that made them feel unimportant or disregarded? In an already tight job market, paired with the speed at which negative news travels, it is imperative to roll out the red carpet for interviewees. What happens during the interview will not stay between the parties involved. Candidates talk, and with social media, thousands of people could be listening. Build the reputation of being a gracious host and companies will find that their reputation will drive additional candidates to their door. It should go without saying that providing a great candidate experience must be followed by a great employee experience in order to retain the folks you worked so hard to hire.

Finally, use communication to differentiate the organization. Give candidates the professional butterflies by communicating interest — send an email prior to the interview saying, “we’re looking forward to meeting you on Friday. Thanks so much for making room in your schedule for us.” It’s a guaranteed way to positively surprise candidates when they’re used to a lack of communication.

Not to say these actions will keep every employee – if someone has decided that the industry isn’t for them, or the environment doesn’t fit their needs, they may still begin their search in order to find a role that is more aligned with their own goals and personal happiness. However, employers have an opportunity to address the day-to-day challenges and goals of their employees to increase job satisfaction, and ultimately, retention to avoid the “Great Resignation.”

Special thanks to Frank Steele, Director of Strategic Talent Acquisition with Clark Schaefer Hackett, for contributing to this edition of our HR Question of the Week. 

Do you need help with surveying your employees? Or could you use some help in recruiting the best talent for your organization? Learn about our Recruitment Services, or better yet, Contact Us to find out how we can help.