- Workers are “sheltering in job”, waiting out for the pandemic to be over before they make a career decision.
- Once the pandemic is over, experts believe voluntary turnover will increase significantly as the economy improves and job openings increase.
- Companies are at a risk of losing top performers if they are not able to engage them at work.
LinkedIn’s recent Workforce Confidence Index found that 74% of employees are “sheltering in job”. Basically, workers are staying in their current roles to collect a steady paycheck and to keep household finances stable. That is, until the pandemic is over.
Research from the Work Institute found that even though voluntary turnover sharply declined in 2020— “fewer than 1.9 million workers chose to leave their jobs voluntarily in April of 2020 down almost 50% from the number just three months earlier”—there is “bottled-up turnover that will occur as the economy improves, job openings increase, and unemployment declines.”
In fact, this talent shift has already started.
The Work Institute found that by December 2020 the number of voluntary terminations had already grown to just over 3.4 million.
A report from Achievers Workforce Institute found that more than half (52%) of North American employees plan to look for a new job this year. The report also found that two-thirds of employees are not committed to their current roles and that only one in five are planning to stay with their company for a long time.
On a similar note, Envoy’s return to the workplace report found that 47% of employees would look for a new job if their employer didn’t offer hybrid work.
This means that companies are at a significant risk of losing top talent if they are unable to engage with employees.
Why Employees Are Choosing to Leave
According to the Achievers Workforce Institute, the main reasons for job seeking are better compensation and benefits (35%) and better work-life balance (25%).
Other research points to burnout as a main driver. McKinsey recently found that “75 percent of employees in the United States and close to a third in the Asia–Pacific region report symptoms of burnout.”
The Work Institute believes that in the coming years, employees will voluntarily leave their jobs for workplace environment factors, work-life balance, and relocation reasons.
Given that more than two-thirds of voluntary departures are for “more preventable” reasons, companies need to take steps to ensure that their employees are engaged at work; engaged employees are less likely to job hunt.
To improve employee engagement, however, companies need to think less about fun perks and more about company culture, diversity, inclusion, recognition, competitive pay, and flexibility.
Strategies to Retain Talent
1. Career Development Opportunities
Research found that “lack of career growth is #1 factor of holding back engagement.” Companies that want to retain top talent need to ensure that they are offering career development opportunities for their employees. One great way to start paving the way for career growth is by offering learning and development opportunities.
Organizations need to have a clear idea of the skills gap that exist among employees and offer skill development solutions that can help fast-track employees.
2. Recognize Hard Work
One effective way to boost engagement and prevent voluntary turnover is to simply recognize the work employees are doing. Frequent recognition is a predictor of lower intentions to job hunt, according to the Achievers Workforce Institute.
Employee recognition can take many forms:
- A shout out during a meeting
- Sending an email to the entire team
- Provide a reward (gift card, company swagger, bonus, etc.)
- Monthly newsletter that highlights praise
- Encourage peer to peer recognition.
3. Ask for Feedback, and Act Based on It
It’s important to ask employees for feedback about how companies can improve the work experience. However, it’s more important for companies to act based on the feedback received.
Achievers found that “while nearly three in five (59%) of employees say their employer has solicited their feedback on how to improve the employee experience, nearly one in five (18%) employees say their employer/manager is ‘horrible’ at acting on feedback, and don’t act on it.”
This is a clear example of preventable turnover reasons that companies need to urgently address. Employers that are able to identify risk factors will be best suited to address them and prevent voluntary turnover in the coming years.
4. It’s All about Flexibility
Report after report have found that workers will leave their current jobs if their company does not allow them to continue working remotely at least part time once the pandemic is over.
Flexibility has become a top priority for employees. A Citrix report from early this year found that workers are willing to take a pay cut of up to 20% if it means they can work remotely.
5. Strengthen Your Company Culture
Company culture took a hit during the pandemic. As workers come back to the office, it’s important to prioritize company culture to help employees reconnect with one another and with company values. Achievers found that 66% of employees would be more engaged if employers improved company culture.
Strategies to improve company culture:
- Hire for culture fit.
- Prioritize diversity and inclusion efforts.
- Give employees choice about how and where they work.
- Nurture a culture of feedback.
- Recognize employees.
- Keep communication lines open at all times.