Last November, when 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs, the labor market went into a tailspin. It was a record high that left a gaping hole in the labor market, with more job openings than new hires.
This wasn’t the first time a spike in voluntary turnover led to stiff competition for talent, but this time was different. Instead of the previous pattern of workers leaving for better jobs in the same industry or field, we witnessed people leaving for totally different roles, while many others left the workforce. It wasn’t the usual percentage of people leaving to enter a new stage of life—to start a family or retire. This was an unprecedented exodus caused by fallout from the pandemic.
The phenomenon, dubbed ‘The Great Resignation,’ is the result of people re-evaluating their priorities. They’re putting their physical and mental health and wellbeing, and their families, before work. For that reason, they are choosing non-traditional jobs or work arrangements, and the flexibility (in work hours and location) that affords them a better work-life balance. They’re also growing less tolerant of problematic work environments.
Is The Great Resignation a threat or an opportunity?
It’s both. On the surface, it’s an obvious retention challenge, but a mobile workforce means there’s talent for the taking—a headhunter’s dream. To mitigate the effects of this wave, employers must strengthen their engagement and retention efforts, but also prepare to cast their nets to attract and recruit.
Data insights are the best way to do it.
Attract and Recruit
1.Enhance your Employee Value Proposition
What is your EVP? Why should they work for you? You’ll want to incentivize potential candidates to join the organization and stay long term so your EVP might need some sprucing up.
The changing job market motivates employers to get creative to meet these new employee needs and attract talent. The best way to do this? Use data and technology tools to understand and respond to those needs and enhance your EVP.
2. Smarter Recruitment
Get smarter about how you use candidate data. For example, candidate data can help to determine retention potential based on employment history. Analyzing data on length of stay in previous roles, frequency of promotions, and length of time in the field/industry can hint at their level of commitment.
3. Broaden the talent pool
The explosion in remote work means the world is your oyster. With the removal of geographical restrictions, you’re no longer constrained by the local talent pool. This makes for faster recruiting, and the flexibility will boost retention rates.
How else can you rethink the talent pool?
Explore alternative talent sources. If you can’t find full-time employees, consider contractors and freelancers. The gig economy is exploding and presents an opportunity to improve your workforce contingency plans by creating a talent cloud. This is a pool of pre-approved freelancers who have the skills you need and understand your business and systems.
Engage and Retain
Keeping your employees isn’t hard. Give them more of what makes them happy, and address their pain points. Sounds straightforward, right?
1. The first challenge lies in obtaining reliable data on employee sentiment.
Data analytics takes the guesswork out of employee listening. Gathering real-time employee feedback, and doing regular employee engagement and pulse surveys will collect valuable data that, when merged with performance data, will give insight into where employees’ heads are and their likelihood of leaving.
Recruiters say that the decision to quit is a six-month process during which the employee evaluates where they are and what they want to do. During that time, there will be signs of disengagement in the form of slow responses to communications, project delays, etc. People analytics detects these symptoms as notable changes in productivity. If employers can identify and act on these signs, they can pinpoint a dissatisfied employee and head off a resignation with a stay interview where they ask, ” how can we improve your work life?”
2. The second challenge lies in the question, once you have the data, “What are you willing to do to keep them?”
- Monitor what competitors in the industry are doing because you will lose employees to your competition who have adopted remote or hybrid work models and are offering a more flexible workplace. This is big, and your unwillingness or inability to create a more flexible workplace will also affect your ability to attract and recruit talent.
- Employees want to feel appreciated and valued, that their leaders have a genuine interest in them as people and not just a dispensable cog in the organization’s machine. They want recognition. Traditional reward programs that only offer material or financial rewards for longevity and milestones won’t cut it anymore. Creating a supportive and appreciative culture will do more for retention than pay and benefits. Employers have the power to create a company culture that is welcoming, one that fosters an employee experience that inspires commitment, dedication, and loyalty.
3. Predictive analysis to reduce turnover.
The first step is building employee profiles. Collect and analyze employee experience data that covers the duration of the employee journey from hiring to exit. It will help better understand employees’ day-to-day experience. This data can help track and predict future behaviors while also detecting changes in engagement caused by lower morale, for example. Based on these predictions you might need to stage “stay interviews” to understand employees’ discontent before they decide to resign.
Predictive analytics is also useful for modeling quitting trends based on information collected from exit interviews, and/or pulse surveys, to identify pain points.
Understanding the effect of the great resignation on your organization is the first step to mitigating its effects. It’s also an opportunity for the company to become more agile by seeking ways to pivot and increase resilience. Descriptive analytics will tell you what happened regarding attrition; diagnostic analytics will give insight into why it happened. Predictive analytics will forecast what will happen and prescriptive will present ways you can avoid those events.
Many organizations have optimized their people analytics to deal with the Great Resignation and benefit from the movement of labor.
Contact us. We can show you how to do it.
Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.