A recent survey conducted by Bankrate found that 55% of people in the workforce expect to search for a new job over the next 12 months. If you’re an employer, you’ve likely already experienced symptoms of this Great Resignation.
We’ve helped a wide range of clients achieve their talent goals before and throughout the pandemic, and have seen this unfold firsthand. We’ve had the unique opportunity of watching this issue develop, digging deep into the cause behind it, and working with our clients to make sure their employees stick around for the long haul.
With that said, we’re sharing the top reasons why today’s employees are leaving their current roles we’ve seen in our work. In learning more about them below, you can hopefully gain an idea of how to address potential problem areas in your organization and boost retention as a result.
1. Opportunities for career and personal growth
The importance of career and personal development has really exploded since the pandemic. Having had time to mull over where they are in their lives, and what they want from work, many employees are reconsidering if they’re satisfied in their current roles.
Even in scenarios where people like the team they work with and projects they are involved in, they might feel that they are being held back when it comes to their role progression and skill development.
To counter this, you can develop clear performance criteria, deliver immediate feedback, and take interest in employees’ career and personal goals. With an idea of what an employee wants from their position, you can tailor their experience and ensure you’re providing meaningful growth opportunities.
For many, the days of hectic commuting are a thing of the past. Having become used to remote work and the freedom that has come with it, forcing people to return to entirely on-site work can be a risky play for retention.
Aside from pure convenience, remote or hybrid work options lend to today’s heightened desire for a better work-life balance too. As the world continues to open back up, people want to get back to traveling, enjoying time with friends and family, and other personal plans; the easier you make it for your employees to fit this in around their work schedule, the better.
Of course, there are going to be roles where remote work isn’t an option. More generous vacation time, family support benefits, and mental health days can be crucial in retaining people in these roles.
Compensation is another area that employees have had the chance to reevaluate, especially those in higher-risk industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.
In these industries, there are fewer remote work options, which can increase the chance of COVID-19 exposure, and the nature of the work itself and its processes is constantly shifting. Combined, these factors have made a lot of people reconsider whether they want to be doing the same work they were doing before the pandemic for the same amount of money.
There is also currently an industry-wide push to rehire roles lost during the early stages of the pandemic. But with far fewer people applying for jobs than the number of jobs available, compensation offers are skyrocketing to try to win over the limited number of talent available.
For these reasons, if your compensation isn’t meeting these new expectations, you risk losing employees to competitors who can. If you’re unsure if you’re meeting expectations, one sure-fire way to tell is if you’re offering more counteroffers than usual to get employees to stay.
And oftentimes, if you’re at a point where you’re making counteroffers, it can be too late. Compensation is one of many factors candidates and employees are weighing, which is why it’s important to check in with employees and ensure they’re being taken care of to better support your retention efforts.
4. Poor change management
Some employees, especially those who have been at a company for a long time, are having a tough time adjusting to their company’s new internal structure. If your company has recently experienced layoffs, changes in management, or other major changes in internal structure, this may be the reason you’re losing people. Internal change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if employees feel like they’re losing autonomy or ownership over their work through these changes, this is where it can lead to lower engagement.
And in many cases, when an employee is looking to leave their current situation, it comes down to their relationship with their superiors. As the saying goes, “people don’t leave bad jobs — they leave bad managers.” Loss of ownership and autonomy over projects, as well as unclear expectations due to changes, can play a big role in people wanting to leave.
Major change can also plant a seed in people’s minds that more change is inevitable in the future, which could cause them to start looking at other, more stable companies to avoid being caught by surprise.
For changes in management, regular feedback meetings can identify and address any discontent before it develops into a bigger issue. Constant communication and transparency can also go a long way in reassuring employees unsure of your company’s future.
In the 2021 CareerArc Future of Recruitment Study, over half of job seekers cited poor or diminishing employer brand and reputation as one of the reasons for leaving a previous job.
This means that if you’re not prioritizing culture at your workplace, you’re likely losing people to employers who are. While your culture should be unique and differentiate you from other companies, there are three values that the study found to be especially important to employees: safety protocols, diversity initiatives, and work-life balance.
Employees want to experience and benefit from this culture personally, but they also want the public to know about it; after all, working for a company with virtuous traits reflects well on them! This is why it’s important to also promote your culture and maintain a positive presence on social media and employer review sites like Glassdoor.
Ultimately, understanding the reasons why employees are leaving your company will require your own research, whether through employee surveys, market research, or other sources. But in working with our clients, we have found the five factors above to be the most common, and therefore most important to address first.
For more help with keeping employees motivated and around for the long haul, get in touch with our expert team of hiring professionals today!
ML6 is a recruitment and talent advisory firm located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). We provide customized solutions to support our clients throughout the employee lifecycle. We help our clients attract and retain talent by advising on people programs, processes, and best practices.