The Great Resignation: Be A Place Where People Want to Land, Not Leave

By this point, your organization may be feeling the impact of what many are calling “The Great Resignation”. On the surface, millions of employees are reevaluating their worth and leaving jobs in favor of higher pay, more flexibility, personal work preferences, or better growth opportunities.

At a macro level, the available workers to available jobs ratio has flipped on its head. In today’s environment, there are far more available jobs than workers. Add the fact that employment is no longer location-dependent (thanks to remote work) we’re now dealing with an ultra-competitive job market that is forcing employers to change their approach to both recruitment and retention.

If your company is struggling to keep talent, you’re not alone. “The Great Resignation” has been impacting companies of all sizes and across most industries over the last year, and now we’re seeing this movement carry into 2022.

In order to prevent further business disruption, executives and leaders must remain focused on transforming their business into a place people want to land, not leave. There has never been a more important time to evaluate employee satisfaction and invest in making your organization an enjoyable and rewarding place to work.

One of the most common reasons companies seek out business consultants is to help reshape company culture and transform the business into a place where employees want to be. If you’re looking to do the same, we recommend focusing on the following areas:

Define Your Compensation Philosophy

When it comes to employee retention, comp isn’t the only thing that matters, but it does matter.

Remote work and inflation have drastically changed the way companies are thinking about compensation. Regardless of its location, your business is now probably competing over a talent pool with companies in the Bay Area and New York City, where the standard of living costs are higher. Often, companies in these areas can afford to pay employees more. Also, consider that inflation is at an all-time high, and many employees are expecting higher cost of living increases this year.

If your organization has not recently reevaluated your compensation philosophy, now is a good time to do so. We recommend conducting extensive market research to understand average salaries across all positions and departments. Use this research to structure or reshape your employee salary bands. Be transparent with your employees about how you define these bands. Help them understand where they are and where they can get to via strong performance and company growth. 

Even if salary increases aren’t an option this year, having a defined and transparent plan can help set expectations with your employees and give them the necessary information to map out their future.

Don’t Punish Those Who Stayed

One of the most difficult aspects of “The Great Resignation” is it negatively impacts your loyal employees. As workers head for the door,  those who remain loyal are left to bear the brunt and fill in the gaps. This translates into a significantly expanded workload, which in turn leads to higher levels of dissatisfaction and…more turnover.  Remember, some short-term salary supplements for those loyal employees suffering under added workload may be justified.  If so, work out a clear plan for when salary supplements are granted, and when they might be reversed (such as when a new colleague is hired and takes away some of the added workload).

It’s important to appropriately manage how your existing workload is distributed across your remaining team, even if it means sacrificing short-term business gains. You need to incentivize loyalty, not punish it. Reconsider how you delegate work and temper your own expectations. There will likely be growing pains all around as you attempt to find and retain new employees. Short-term pain and sacrifice might be necessary from a business perspective, but don’t pass it on to your workers. Remember, the current situation is only temporary until you’re able to restructure work and get the business back on track. 

Create Growth Opportunities

Besides compensation, growth is one of the most important elements of employee retention. If your business is experiencing high levels of turnover, use the gaps in your org chart to create new growth opportunities by promoting from within. Rewarding your loyal top performers with new challenges will help keep them engaged and motivated.

You can also use this as an opportunity to listen and understand your team’s perspectives on how to make these roles better. Your employees have unique and highly valuable perspectives. Ultimately, you want to do everything you can to help create positions that help your employees feel good about their work, day in and day out. To achieve this, you need to be creating roles that truly provide a sense of value for employees and the company.

With so many employees leaving, this could also be a golden opportunity to restructure your organization. Reshape teams, create new roles, and realign leadership. Shuffling things up a bit can often provide a much-needed spark.

Promote Your Purpose

Employees want to feel a part of something bigger, so if you’re not spending enough time communicating your organization’s mission and integrating it into your company culture, it might make sense to start. Be clear on your value statement and morals. Be transparent on how you conduct business, and how that adds value to society (a key factor driving many job changers).

Your end goal is to attract talent that shares your passion for your cause, so make sure you’re incorporating it into your brand, your marketing materials, and social media, as well as sharing these details during your recruitment and interview process.

Adopt Flexibility

Most companies are still grappling with how to permanently adopt flexible work arrangements. It’s a real challenge. Remote work is here to stay, so in order to attract and retain talent, your organization has to learn how to effectively and efficiently function across a remote workforce.

While remote work is convenient, it does introduce new problems:  Collaboration and colleague interactions can easily suffer when working remotely. In order to succeed, you need to appropriately set expectations, coach managers on how to adjust their leadership approach, and adopt the right tools. Figuring out how to successfully adopt flexible work arrangements is a top reason why companies have turned to business consultants over the past year.

Combating “The Great Resignation” isn’t easy. The current state of the job market has forced many organizations into a period of transition. The concern we hear from many company executives is that company performance is suffering as a result.

As a company leader, the best thing you can do to navigate this change is to focus your time, energy, and resources on creating an environment where employees want to work. As is the case with most matters involving company culture, the transformation process starts with you.

If your organization is struggling to retain talent, contact Lilly Consulting Group today.  As experienced business consultants, we have the tools and experience to guide you through organizational changes necessary to enhance your company culture.

Subscribe for more insights: