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The Reality of the Great Resignation

It’s been almost 2 1/2 years since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. No one could have expected what was to come, especially the effects it would have on the job market. With the pandemic coming to a close, the Great Resignation went into overdrive. Did you know a record 47.4 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021? Additionally, there was a record 4.5 million job resignations in March 2022 alone. With more jobs available than workers to fill them, the pandemic has led to an imbalance between supply of workers and employer demand.


Impacts of the Great Resignation

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 11.3 million open jobs have been accounted for in the United States as of May 2022. The pandemic has made people reevaluate their purpose in life, how they spend their time and who they spend it with. Others have no option but to stay home to take care of their families.


  • The employee quit rate has risen to around 2.9%. This equates to around 4.4 million people voluntarily leaving their job. Typically, the average quit rate is in the upper 1% range, meaning that the rate is currently 50% higher than normal! The main reasons people are quitting include accepting a higher paying job, flexible work arrangements (ex. remote work, contracting and outsourcing), better or safer working conditions or new titles. Other reasons include vaccine mandates or being required to return to the office.


  • Millions of women left the job market since the pandemic hit. The main reason? To care for their children due to school and day care closings. Over two years later, the closings continue with children having to stay home for weeks at a time due to quarantine. The pandemic also greatly affected industries dominated by women of color. Think food service, leisure, hospitality, and retail. Many quit or were laid off and decided not to return to those industries.


  • Over 3% of retirees have returned to the workforce, representing a staggering 1.7 million retirees returning in the last 12 months alone. Retirees are mainly returning due inflation and rising costs of living, stock market decline, and the desire for social interaction on a regular basis coupled with the ability to find part-time or remote work.


Retaining Employees During the Great Resignation


Due to the Great Resignation, it’s important now more than ever for employers to re-evaluate their employee experience. Employees want to be part of a high-performing team with healthy cultures, and some semblance of work/life balance. If companies want to drive retention, compensation is not enough to make employees stay. Check out the following helpful tips to retain top talent at your organization.


  • Connect with employees on a regular basis: Emphasize people-first practices including a rewards system with special perks such as additional paid time off or multi-week sabbaticals, spot bonuses, or donations to a team member’s favorite charity. Another way to connect with employees is by simply taking their ideas seriously and making them feel heard on a consistent basis.


  • Listen to employees: Schedule time to get input from team members regarding what is working for them and what is not. It’s important to create a safe space where employees feel comfortable addressing their concerns. Listening doesn’t stop there – a plan of action based on employee input should be developed and communicated to the team.


  • Show appreciation: Employees want to feel appreciated and valued for their contributions at work. In fact, almost 80% of people leave their job because they feel unappreciated. Recognition can take many forms with verbal or written acknowledgment being equally effective as monetary or tangible gifts.


  • Conduct stay interviews: Stay interviews help to reduce turnover while increasing production and satisfaction among workers. Ask employees what would make them consider taking an opportunity outside the company. The answers may surprise you! Additionally, this creates a natural opportunity for both listening to employees and showing appreciation!


  • Offer growth and opportunity: Career professionals want to see a clear path for growth at their company. Employers can do this by creating mapped out career paths, learning and development programs, and providing professional development or tuition reimbursement. Developing an intern program with the potential for direct hire is also a great way to attract and retain young career professionals.


Need guidance or have questions on how to retain employees? The EctoHR professionals are always ready to help with retention initiatives for our clients. From employee engagement surveys to implementing modern company perks, we want your employees to be engaged, feel heard, and most importantly, be happy where they work!


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