Strategies to Mitigate ‘The Great Resignation’

Talent retention — specifically retaining the best people — ranks as employers’ greatest concern in 2022, according to Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Outlook Study

Seven in 10 surveyed organizations said employee turnover will increase over the next year and 39% said the increase will be moderate or great. 

More than 85% of organizations say they are operating in a hybrid work model, with a mix of on-site and remote employees, according to our hybrid work research. About 84% said that talent attrition will correlate to some degree to the type of work environment. 

The majority of organizations (61%) prefer offering full-time remote work if it’s feasible based on the position and function of the employee or having employees work at a central location two to three days per week. However, about one-quarter of organizations (23%) still grapple with their long-term policy on a hybrid workforce. 

Organizations are at a crossroads. They are mired in the Great Resignation and adjusting to a new era of work. 

They can respond by trying to patch up current processes or take a fresh and honest look at where they want to be as an organization and how to transform to reach their goals. 

Employers should consider a holistic, strategic approach to creating and sustaining work environments wherein their talent will want to stay.

  • What type of culture change is needed to engage employees so they want to stay with the organization? 
  • What level of flexibility and autonomy can we provide employees so they want to stay while enabling business innovation and growth? 
  • What type of leaders do we need to thrive in the future of work? 

Based on our ongoing research on the future of work, talent retention, diversity, equity and inclusion and leadership, here are three recommendations for adjusting to hybrid work while creating an environment more likely to retain talent. 

Put Culture First 

Our research shows organizations’ top priorities for adapting to hybrid work are redesigning workspaces and systems and improving technology. Improving organizational culture is a relatively close third, and that and other strategic approaches are where we believe employers should concentrate their efforts. 

Improving technology and redesigning work systems are important and necessary tools. But there are much larger issues involved in creating a work environment where today’s talent wants to stay while the world is constantly changing around them. 

Creating a culture in which employees can thrive tops the list. To truly adapt to the future of work:

Begin at the end by looking at the organization and culture you want. 

Then take steps to understand your current state. 

Then move to bridge the gaps. 

Technology and other tools can help, but your path to a better future is to focus on improving the culture you ask your employees to work in. 

Prioritize Flexibility 

The workplace of the future is full of unknowns. But one thing is certain; in the wake of the pandemic, employees want more flexibility and autonomy than they had before COVID-19. 

Flexibility and autonomy will look different depending on the organization and industry but employers who focus on enabling employees to be productive in ways that align with their personal lives — rather than controlling their location and movement — will undoubtedly achieve more success. 

Flexibility and autonomy will be different in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing and retail than in industries dominated by knowledge workers. But giving employees as much flexibility as possible in how they approach their work is critical. 

For example, we know healthcare organizations and manufacturers are experimenting with four-day workweeks. In addition, some manufacturers are looking to accelerate automation, which can lead to reskilling some workers into oversight roles that offer more flexibility in how and where they work. 

Even when you can offer remote work, part-time or full-time, take a good look at potential hot-button issues such as compensation and home office expenses. For example, our research shows that 40% of organizations believe that employees who choose to work remotely should pay their own office expenses. Is that the best strategy to build a good work environment and retain employees?

Develop Inclusive Leaders 

With all the ambiguity associated with work, leaders must build strong relationships with their employees. They should collaborate, rather than dictate, and be empathetic and adaptable to employees’ needs whenever possible. Working with inclusive leaders who listen builds trust that is compelling. You know the adage, “Workers don’t leave organizations, they leave managers.” It can work the other way around. Workers will stay longer if they trust their managers and believe they have their best interests at heart. 

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