More than 38 million workers quit in 2021. How can your company navigate the Great Resignation and win?
The Great Resignation. The great reset. The big quit. Whatever the name, it means people are leaving their jobs at an unprecedented rate. According to the U.S. Labor Department, 4.5 million U.S. workers left their positions this past November alone. That means 3% of all workers voluntarily joined the ranks of the jobless. Among those in professional and business services, quits increased from 730,000 the prior month to 798,000 in November 2021.
Clearly, people are ready for a change. Is your company prepared to manage this wave of resignations?
The Great Resignation continues at a blistering pace.
While workers were leaving, employers had 10.6 million job openings. That translates to 1.5 available jobs for each unemployed person: the most on record for the last 20 years. And this trend is here to stay.
According to a Microsoft® survey:
- 41% of workers are considering leaving their current role within the next year
- 46% are planning a major career transition
If finding quality employees concerns you, a partner like Kelly® Science, Engineering, Technology & Telecom is a powerful resource in attracting and retaining the market’s best talent.
A shrinking workforce gives power to employees.
A rebounding economy means growing consumer demand is creating more job openings. At the same time, a perfect storm of forces—including the pandemic and baby boomers reaching retirement age—has led to a contraction of workforce participation. This gives power to the employees! To succeed in this environment, employers need strategies to retain current staff and attract new talent.
Retaining and attracting talent today.
On top of a contracting workforce, the pandemic gave many workers pause to consider what they really want from a job. So, what can employers offer to retain and attract talent? Here are four places to start.
1. Competitive compensation:
Companies are increasing salaries and supplementing wages with bonuses, tuition assistance, and student loan repayment. If you need convincing, look at the numbers:
- The Conference Board® forecasts a 3.9% jump in wage costs for firms in 2022, which includes pay for new hires—the highest rate since 2008.
- According to Grant Thornton®, more than 50% of human resource leaders in the U.S. said their company expects average merit increases of more than 5%.
- Those who switched jobs saw wage gains of 4.3% in November, compared to 3.2% for those who stayed, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve®. Increasing your current employees’ compensation can be a powerful tool for retention.
Remember, make certain there is equity in compensation between new and existing staff, so your current employees feel valued and are less likely to look elsewhere.
A separate Grant Thornton survey found that 51% of workers would forgo a 10% – 20% salary increase for greater work flexibility. But when it comes to flexible work arrangements, there’s a disconnect between what talent wants and what employers are offering. Company practices lag employee desires for remote and hybrid work.
Remote work preferences: companies vs. employees
As pioneers in connecting people and work, we are proud to have been on the forefront of this movement. Since 2016, Kelly® has seen great success with the Kelly Anywhere program that encourages remote and hybrid work, fosters collaboration, and provides technology to support teamwork.
Finally, the importance of work-life balance can’t be overemphasized. A recent Joblist® poll showed that 13% of workers quit because their jobs didn’t provide adequate work-life balance. Some organizations are experimenting with a four-day workweek or sabbaticals to address this issue and to help retain highly skilled workers.
The best employers value employees as whole people—with lives and responsibilities outside of work. They are offering personalized benefits to fit the employee’s stage of life. This “whole person approach” increases employee satisfaction and, as a result, retention. Consider the following:
- Providing benefits to address stress and mental health issues—often exacerbated by the pandemic—and burnout is increasingly important to employees.
- Parents dealing with last-minute school and daycare closures appreciate the flexibility to pivot—meaning to work from home or to work during off hours. According to the Care@Work® survey, even before the pandemic, 66% of working parents said their productivity has suffered due to juggling childcare and work responsibilities. And 52% of working parents said they hide their childcare issues because they worry that employers and colleagues won’t understand.
- Additionally, many of today’s workers are part of the “sandwich generation,” and find themselves responsible for their children as well as their parents. For them, flexible schedules—including the ability to take leave to care for family—are extremely valuable and build loyalty.
2. Career growth:
Upskilling and job training are powerful mechanisms to help retain talent—and an area where many employers are falling short. There’s a real opportunity here to benefit both employee and employer, while increasing satisfaction and job loyalty.
Percentage of employees who say their current employer is helping them improve their skills to do their jobs better:
3. Culture that enables employees to thrive:
Healthier, happier employees are more likely to stay! To this end, companies need to set up formal and informal feedback mechanisms: managers should regularly meet with employees to assess their attitude and engagement. Additionally, exit interviews are a good way to gain more valuable insights. At Kelly, seeking feedback is a priority and managers monitor employee engagement on a quarterly basis. Soliciting feedback isn’t enough though— it’s imperative to act on what you learn so your staff knows they are being heard.
Ensure your company’s purpose is clear. Talent is looking for meaningful work that aligns with their values. A significant 20% of workers surveyed by Joblist quit jobs to pursue new career paths and passions. To increase employee satisfaction, share your company vision with employees and empower them to help you achieve it.
Where to find new talent.
How can employers build a workforce that’s agile and resilient in the face of change? There’s not one answer—however, thinking differently is a good place to start. Your next great hire may come from one of the following talent pools.
1. New sources:
Take an honest look at your hiring practices and draw on new, untapped, and underrepresented groups for the talent you need:
A commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) should be a core value and a real part of company culture, so that diverse talent feels valued and engaged. This means much more than paying lip service to DE&I initiatives. Employees are looking for proof, and senior executives must be held accountable. A good practice is to monitor the number of diverse employees—from entry level to senior manager to the boardroom—and to build a support system to help diverse talent move up.
At Kelly, employee-led Affinity Groups successfully bring together employees with similar backgrounds and interests (women, veterans, LatinX, Rainbow Alliance, Bla@k, and more) for professional and personal development, networking, and mentorship.
Hiring and retaining more women, just like other DE&I initiatives, requires a true corporate commitment. According to McKinsey®, for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted. Companies must do better. Kelly is constantly sourcing the market’s best female leaders and we have the resources to help you tap into this vital pool.
COVID-19 has created a volatile business environment with circumstances changing day to day. Having a flexible labor strategy—including contract staffing—becomes critical to business continuity. As a leading provider of technical contract and direct-hire talent, Kelly brings unmatched experience to help you manage a contract workforce.
2. Strategic outsourcing:
To meet your labor needs, take advantage of strategic outsourcing opportunities. When it comes to proven outsourcing expertise, look to the high-performing, specialized partners at Kelly. With our Business Process Outsourcing and Project Services solutions, you can turn over responsibility for non-core functions or specific projects and focus on what matters most—your core business.
Utilizing technology, such as HelixUX from Kelly, gives managers full visibility into talent channels—including gig workers, independent contractors, temporary workers, and even full-time hires—all in one place. It’s a convenient portal for talent sourcing and engagement, as well as ongoing support, reporting, and information—so you’re always compliant, up to date, and advancing a total talent solution.
The experts at hiring experts.
Navigating today’s challenging labor market requires a thorough understanding of the situation, retaining current employees, and strategically attracting new talent—all while keeping focus on your core expertise. At Kelly, hiring is our core expertise. We’re the experts at hiring experts. Let us show you how a partnership with Kelly Science, Engineering, Technology & Telecom will help your organization succeed.
We’ve got work figured out.
In calm or chaos, you can count on us for guidance. Because we’ve been around, and we’ll be here for you. We know a thing or two about the future of work—and we can’t wait to help you discover what’s next.
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