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Blog>Trends>How Employers Are Taking on the Great Resignation and a Turnover Tsunami

How Employers Are Taking on the Great Resignation and a Turnover Tsunami

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Key Takeaways

  • 58.3% of respondents had left their job in the past six months or were planning to do so in the next six months.
  • 41% of employees had asked for a raise in the past three months.
  • 36.4% of employers said they approved a raise after being asked, while 49.4% refused.
  • 29.2% of employers were fearful of losing additional staff in the next six months.

What is the Great Resignation?

As the working world continues to adapt to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a vast transition on the horizon: the Great Resignation. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, you’ll soon encounter its rippling impacts. This term refers to the upcoming forecast of employee turnover and it is significant. Empowered by the ability to work remotely and embrace a better work-life balance, employees are hesitant to return to the old way of working.

This increased potential for employee turnover serves as an eye-opening nightmare for employers across the country. Seeking out ways to mitigate the number of resignations will undoubtedly be a priority for employers in the coming years. Through our research, we investigated what steps employers are taking to prepare for this shift and how it plays into what employees value most. By surveying 200 employers and 800 employees, we seek to uncover insights about how employees and employers alike are preparing for the impending Great Resignation.

An Increase in Two-Week Notices

Turnover is an expected aspect of any business, but a variety of conditions has led the usual trickle of turnover employers usually face to evolve into a tsunami. We explored how employers are handling these exits, including reported reasons for employees’ departures and their company’s ability to backfill.

Average number of employees employers have lost in the past six months

Recent months have brought an increase in nationwide attrition rates. When polling employers, they reported that an average of four employees had left their company in the past six months. Nearly a third of them anticipated losing even more employees over the next six months. Experts attribute this shift to employees finally picking up where they left off on job searches they started in pre-pandemic times, thus leading to a potential mass exodus.

What exactly is inspiring these employees to turn in their two-week notices? The majority — approximately 70% — shared with their employer that they had found a better opportunity elsewhere. After that, more than half chased a role offering more money. Employee burnout and seeking a better position (each coming from almost 50% of respondents) were the third and fourth most frequently given reasons on the list. There was good news: 85% of employers had been successful in hiring new talent. Evolving tools, such as increasingly effective productivity measurements and flexible hybrid work policies, allow employers to stay competitive in terms of attracting new talent while also continuing to achieve business objectives.

Adapting to Evolving Employee Needs

While employers continue to notice the trend of employee attrition building into The Great Resignation, what steps are they taking to mitigate the loss? Unfortunately, an unwillingness to adopt changes in the workplace and effectively adapt can have serious results, including dips in productivity and, of course, loss of employee talent. It is crucial that companies and their leadership continue to take steps to prevent turnover while implementing incentives to attract new talent.

How employers are preventing employee turnover

In this post-pandemic world, the days of commonplace office practices for many businesses, including daily commutes and limited schedule flexibility, are long gone. These changes bring forward a new set of employee expectations when it comes to company offerings: employees are leaving to find workplaces that align closer to their personal beliefs, and prefer companies that promote employee well-being. Importantly, well-being includes many different parts of life such as enjoying one’s career, good social connections in the workplace, financial security, physical health, as well as feeling part of the community at large. As their employees leave to seek out other opportunities, employers are split on how difficult it has been to replace them. While 39.2% shared that they found it easy to source new talent, 41.6% confessed it had been a challenge, demonstrating that some continue to struggle with the fallout from mass employee resignations.

Optimistically, more than half of the employers surveyed shared that they are confident in their strategy for reducing turnover. What are their tactics for successfully preventing future attrition? The top response was allowing flexible scheduling, with almost half reporting this as a successful retention technique. As employees continue to wear multiple hats, including teaching their children remotely and handling the stress of COVID-19, flexibility within their schedule is a must.

Next, 28.2% of employers shared that they have hosted team bonding events in an attempt to boost employee satisfaction. Remote working and burnout can lead to disengagement, thus resulting in decreased productivity and ultimately, resignation. Organizing both virtual and in-person bonding events grants the opportunity for employees to build stronger connections with each other.

In terms of attracting new talent to the workplace, nearly half of employers had offered flexible scheduling as an incentive. Providing the opportunity to work remotely took second place on the list, with 27.2% of employers offering it. Employers must be sensitive to their employees’ current and future needs to ensure they stay competitive in the market.

How employers are handling raise requests

Every employer faces a common challenge: how to handle an employee’s request for a raise. When asked for a salary increase, just under half of our respondents stated they were unable to meet the employee’s request. Unfortunately, denied requests for salary increases can leave employees feeling rejected and undervalued, thus opening the door for them to potentially quit the company. To mitigate this, some employers may choose to offer alternative incentives to keep employees happy. Examples include additional paid time off, a new job title, or maybe even a better desk at the office. While it is not financially possible to move forward with every raise request, non-monetary recognition can go a long way toward ensuring employees remain loyal to the company.

What Can the Company Do to Keep You?

Employers can offer a multitude of incentives to remain with a company, but ultimately it is the individual employee’s decision to stick with it or leave and seek out another opportunity. By surveying the employees themselves, we sought to uncover what aspects are most important to them and how this impacts their decision about whether or not to resign.

Employees' perspective and sentiment toward employee turnover

Of the employees we surveyed, over 70% shared that employers should seek to change or improve benefits in order to minimize employee turnover. As workers continue to struggle with increased mental health challenges amid the pandemic, offering a richer benefits package is an effective method of securing job satisfaction. Benefits such as additional time off, mental health days, or health insurance that covers visits with therapists can all help when it comes to retaining employees. Over 41% of employees said that their employer had already implemented this suggestion. From a generational perspective, 3 out of 4 Gen Xers valued improved benefits above all else. With this group representing one-third of the workforce, this preference cannot go unnoticed by employers.

Next, employees suggested their employer should allow for flexible scheduling (64.7%) and accommodate a hybrid or fully remote working model (62.3%) in order to prevent turnover. Unfortunately, the number of employers offering these changes does not align with employee wishes. Only 37% of companies have recently allowed for flexible scheduling, while less than 40% have allowed remote or hybrid working.

We can assume that this inflexibility has contributed to one particularly staggering figure of this survey: 58% of respondents had recently left or were planning to leave their job soon. Interestingly, only 19% of employees agreed that hosting a team bonding event was an effective method of reducing employee attrition. Therefore, while 28.2% of employers surveyed said that they had offered these types of events, it seems that team building activities are unlikely to be enough to keep employees on staff.

Employees' reasons for recently leaving or considering leaving their job

Next, we asked those employees that had recently left or considered leaving their jobs to tell us why. Almost 52% of employees responded that the requirement to spend long hours in the office as they did in pre-pandemic times was a deal-breaker. Specifically, younger generations are more adamant about their resistance to returning to the office. More than half of millennials and Gen Zers surveyed confirmed this desire to work remotely.

Approximately 41% of employees pointed to landing a better and sometimes more advanced opportunity outside the company as their reason to leave. Additionally, a further 35.1% cited their refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine as the final straw. This response was then broken down by generation, with Gen Xers being the most likely to quit their job over vaccine-related disagreements at 38%.

Underpaid and Overworked

The idea of asking for a raise is an anxiety-inducing concept for many employees. Several thoughts compete in one’s mind, including how much to request, how to prepare for the conversation, and what your next step is if you are refused.

Percentage of employees who have asked for a raise in the past three months

Of those surveyed, two out of every five employees had recently requested a salary increase from their boss within the last three months. Gen Zers were most likely to make this request, while millennials were least likely to do so. Additionally, women were 10% less likely to suggest a raise than their male counterparts. This data aligns with the nearly 60% of women in the workforce who have never negotiated a salary offer. However, once you have mustered up the courage to submit this request to your supervisor, preparation is key. In an effort to improve their chances as much as possible, more than 61% of employees shared that they research other opportunities first. This strategy includes reviewing similar job titles and their current salaries, as well as digging into the pay rate for roles comparable to your own in your area.

Another successful tactic is to clearly outline the benefits you bring to your company. Around 47% of those surveyed confirm that clearly presenting the value you bring to an organization is a solid strategy entering these types of discussions. Finally, employees suggested an approach that could result in a long-term solution. Over 15% share that they threatened to quit if their salary requests were not met. Many experts strongly suggest against this tactic, considering the posing of threats to negatively impact your overall stance in the negation, which is likely why this is the lowest reported strategy in play. Overall, making the effort to prepare and research in advance serves as the most effective technique for employees entering salary negotiation discussions.

What Now?

As both employers and employees continue to navigate a world impacted by COVID-19, the ability to communicate needs and understand motivations will be the path toward a mutually beneficial professional relationship. Companies undoubtedly seek to reduce employee turnover, incentivizing their employees to defend against the Great Resignation that many experts see on the horizon. The ability to adapt to ever-evolving employee needs, including the demand for increased flexibility and a focus on well-being benefits, will help mitigate the attrition levels.

Similarly, employees have an opportunity to openly communicate what they value most and hold their employers accountable. Employees should also understand that while other non-monetary methods of recognition exist, owning their development by taking salary negotiation conversations into their own hands can increase their chances of success. In order for the symbiosis of the employer-employee relationship to function and reduce future attrition, each side must understand and accept the needs of the other. If you are part of the growing number of people looking to move on, Joblist is here to help. Start looking for your new career today, with millions of new possible careers uniquely matched to your preferences.

Mentioned In This Article

Methodology and Limitations

This study uses data from a survey of 800 employees, and 203 employers in the U.S. Employee respondents were gathered through the Amazon Mechanical Turk survey platform and employers through the Prolific survey platform, where each were presented with a series of questions, including attention-check and disqualification questions. 52.7% of employees identified as men, while 47.3% identified as women. Employees ranged in age from 19 to 80 with an average age of 35. 22.3% of employees were Gen Zers, 27.1% were millennials, 25.8% were Gen Xers, and 24.8% were baby boomers. Participants incorrectly answering any attention-check question had their answers disqualified. This study has a 3% margin of error on a 95% confidence interval.

Please note that survey responses are self-reported and are subject to issues, such as exaggeration, recency bias, and telescoping.

Fair Use Statement

As many members of the American workforce will be impacted by the onset of the Great Resignation, we are confident there are some valuable insights in this article. We welcome you to share them with friends, family, and co-workers for any non-commercial purpose. We only ask that you provide a link back to this article when doing so.

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