It was Anthony Klotz who coined the term “The Great Resignation” to refer to the idea that a significant number of people will leave their jobs post-pandemic.

Due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, many employees who would have otherwise quit their jobs stayed put … As the pandemic subsides, these would-be quitters who ‘sheltered in place’ last year will likely enact their plans to leave.

Klotz on NBC NEWS

Now it seems the data is confirming this prediction. In April 2021 alone, nearly 4 million people handed in their resignations in the United States. And it is happening across industries and all levels of organizations around the world. Take for example this Microsoft study that reported that 41% of employees were likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year and no less than 46% planning to make a significant pivot or career transition.

Now what?!

Employee turnover causes high operational costs and a lot of emotional tension for those who stay. Given that the “Great Resignation” is already sweeping workforces around the globe, how badly should you expect it to impact yours? And what can you do to mitigate the effect on your teams?

Chances are your organization has already experienced or is currently experiencing higher-than-usual levels of turnover. And although it’s too late to change the minds of employees who’ve already left, you can still improve the experiences of employees who’ve chosen to stick around.

Here are 5 ways you can retain talent and reduce future attrition:

1. Listen to your employees

Engagement starts with understanding your employees. Done right, smart surveys can uncover critical insights about where your employees are experiencing the most friction. It’s good to note that not all employees can be “saved”; not every pain point can be resolved quickly enough to make a difference in an employee’s decision to leave or stay. But with the right technology and the right level of personalization, a large number of employees can be covered.

That’s precisely why deploying an employee listening platform can be so helpful for weathering “The Great Resignation.” By collecting and analyzing feedback from your workforce, you can pinpoint why people are or will be leaving and take action on the areas (e.g., remote work options) that will have the greatest impact. Wenite’s Employee Wellbeing Platform makes it easy to understand different employee wellbeing dimensions such as engagement, leadership, stress, relationships, diversity and inclusion, turnover and burnout prediction, and more.

2. Normalize flexible way of working

The pandemic has proven that remote work is working. As a result, many employees feel it’s reasonable to expect the option to work from home at least some of the time. If your employees feel like their voices aren’t being heard, they’ll be more likely to leave – especially if there’s little-to-no justification for going back to the office full-time.

Equally important is making sure that the workforce has the right tools and systems at their disposal to do their work appropriately in a more hybrid or remote setting. One way to find out would be to get data and insights on thing such as preferred way of working, available resources, workspace comfort etc via smart surveying.

3. Clearly communicate what’s next

Lack of clear communication can be a significant factor in turnover. A McKinsey survey found the following: “Employees feel they’ve yet to hear enough about their employers’ plans for post-COVID-19 working arrangements. Organizations may have announced a general intent to embrace hybrid virtual work going forward, but too few of them, employees say, have shared detailed guidelines, policies, expectations, and approaches.”

Now that countries are reopening and the job market seems to be hotter than ever, employees may choose to leave for a company that offers more clarity on the new way of working and their commitment to employee wellbeing.

4. Invest in growth & development

The pandemic left many people feeling stagnant and ready for anything new and exciting. If you haven’t already, now is the time to proactively and transparently create pathways for employee growth and development. If internal career pivots are possible, make sure employees are aware of them. Encourage managers to dig deeper into their direct reports’ goals during their 1-on-1 conversations and empower them with the tools and resources they need to achieve their goals.

5. Put employee wellbeing first

Last but not least, put employee wellbeing at the heart of your organization. We may be biased on this front, but we sincerely believe that companies can ward off the worst of “The Great Resignation” by holistically focusing on employees’ wellbeing at work (as well as off work). People choose to join a company for various reasons, but company culture, values and the way people are being cared for are why people ultimately decide to stay. When people feel well, they will do well. And when they do well, the company will do well.

So could employee wellbeing be the key to higher retention, increased productivity and more profits? Let us know your thoughts!

Colin Verhaegen

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