Developing Retention Strategies to Combat the Great Resignation

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Since the earliest easing of lockdowns, we’ve been gripped with a new panic. Not about deadly viruses or climate catastrophe, but about ‘The Great Resignation’, sparked by a record 4.3 million workers quitting their jobs in a single month in the USA.

While some argued that this fear was overblown and others hopefully looked forward to ‘The Great Re-Hiring’, the simple fact is, people are leaving their jobs at an unusually high rate, and not just in America. Only 15% of senior decision makers at UK businesses say that they have been unaffected by this trend, and the British Chamber of Commerce reported earlier this year that 79% of businesses were struggling to recruit new staff in the wake of this increased turnover.

We’ve reached a critical point, with now more job vacancies than unemployed people in the UK. Businesses are struggling through a candidate shortage, and few industries have been as impacted as the tech sector, where a Gartner study of over 40 countries found that just 29% of IT workers wished to stay with their current employer.

Several factors can explain these findings. The most obvious cause is burnout from increased workloads but can also be owing to a lack of employee training and development programs, workers feeling underappreciated, a lack of flexible working conditions, or toxic working environments.

With recruitment efforts beset by their own unique challenges in the present landscape, organisations looking to combat ‘The Great Resignation’ need to focus their attention on employee retention. To do this, businesses are going to need to dive into their data to understand why they are losing people and formulate new strategies to keep hold of their best talent.

Identifying the Reasons for Resignation

It’s important not to underestimate the value of company culture when it comes to retention. Research from Glassdoor shows that more than 50% of employees place more value on culture than even salary.

HR leaders have a valuable role to play in setting a company’s values and culture, which can be especially vital when onboarding new employees, helping to establish that understanding of what it means to be part of an organisation and it’s environment.

Culture and values also play a significant role in how employees work – whether an organisation allows their staff to work remotely – either partially or full time. A recent poll showed that 70% of industry professionals prefer remote or hybrid working, yet some organisations have been slow or reticent to adopt these working methods, either because of a culture that encourages office working, or because a lack of technology to facilitate that kind of working.

Indeed, technology plays a huge role in employee retention – and frustration, with 94% of employees citing poor workplace technology as a major reason for why they want to leave their jobs.

The right technology is also crucial for HR to gather and analyse data to understand the specific reasons that are causing employees to leave.

With an HR solution from XCD, companies can utilise key metrics and use them to identify trends and blind spots within the organisation that are creating unhappiness and employee churn.

Important metrics to consider around retention are:

  • Remuneration – the salaries, compensation, and benefits for employees
  • Time between promotions – the frequency of opportunities for employees to further their careers within an organisation
  • Performance and training – opportunities for performance reviews and professional development
  • Skill gaps – where they exist, and in what departments and how this is effecting performance and output
  • Demographic trends – where gaps exist in diversity and inclusivity initiatives, as well as common themes amongst those leaving the organisation

With this information available, companies can now create targeted strategies to solve these problems

For example, if you uncover that the time between promotions and salary increases correlate with high employee turnover, then businesses can review and adjust policies relating to professional development.

Equally, you can gain insight into employee behaviour – are employees who work remotely and only ever communicate within their own teams more likely to leave? Gathering this data allows businesses to understand the unique challenges they face and begin to create and refine strategies to deal with these issues.

The Importance of Retention Strategies

While some employee turnover is inevitable, implementing retention strategies can keep turnover rates low and businesses functioning at maximum efficiency.

Companies that can keep their employees happy and productive will generally see lower turnover rates than those companies that do not.

Developing retention strategies help businesses to manage:

  • Cost: Hiring new employees is generally more expensive than maintaining existing employees. There is also a loss in productivity while the new employee learns about their job.
  • Culture: If employees begin leaving the company, it can entice others to do the same. Additionally, potential employees may be reticent to take a job if they are aware of staff turnover.
  • Morale: It can be a challenge to maintain high morale when there are constantly new employees or vacancies in a company. Vacant positions can lead to remaining employees having to manage the work of several people, causing additional stress and tension.

Organisations can use data to develop retention strategies to retain employees by:

 Increasing salary and benefits

With insight into why employees are leaving, companies may find that frequently, those that are leaving are doing so to accept better compensation packages somewhere else. An easy way to retain these employees is to be proactive in increasing salaries or benefits through cost-of-living raises or annual performance-based salary increases.

Increasing employee engagement

People want to feel included. Are you providing a platform for employees to share their ideas and feelings about the company. Allow employees to make suggestions and implement changes based on their feedback. If employees that their ideas are heard, they will more likely stay in their jobs.

Developing employees

Stagnation can drive employees to leave their position in search of something new. Analyse the opportunities for learning and development. These opportunities can come through training, leadership, and by ensuring they are challenged to keep them invested in the company and growing as employees. Complacent employees may become bored and seek challenges elsewhere. Set SMART goals for staff and track and measure their development.

Providing consistent feedback

Provide regular feedback for employees on their work output, through consistent performance reviews. Often, employers or managers can assume employees know what they need to do to improve, but such a lack of communication and transparency can be harmful to employee progress. Explicitly stating areas in which employees can improve and recognizing the good work they’re doing can incentivize staff to remain with the company.

Want to learn more about how you can use data to combat ‘The Great Resignation? We’re partnering with cloud implementation specialists Cloudteam for a live stream, providing businesses with the tools they need to attract and retain the best talent. Sign up here.

XCD is the only HMRC-approved, single solution HR & Payroll solution available on the Salesforce platform. If you’re ready to see how we can help boost your employee retention, book a demo today.