By Steve Taplin
According to a Microsoft survey of 30,000 workers globally, 41% of workers are considering quitting or changing their professions this year. In April, a record 4 million people quit their jobs, with another 3.9 million in June. This is what has been dubbed the "Great Resignation."
Why the Great Resignation is happening
The pandemic has facilitated a shift in priorities for most people. It has served as a wake-up call for most workers as they have been somewhat less engaged at their workplaces. This has given them a chance to explore the infinite opportunities available. This could be a dream job, better pay, more flexibility, better culture, or even a more suitable location. The motivations are numerous, and as most organizations are requiring employees to go back to the office, people are re-evaluating their options.
The relationship between the Great Resignation and employee retention
According to a recent survey by Monster, a whopping 95% of employees, motivated by the Covid-19 pandemic, want to seek a change in terms of their job and life in general. The survey has unearthed the following as the core reasons for this shift:
More flexibility: After working from home for months, employees are seeking more flexibility and freedom in terms of where they work from. Most people — especially young folk — want to work from home for a couple of days a week instead of commuting every day of the week.
Better quality of life and wellbeing: Most employees have enjoyed an improved quality of life while working from home during the pandemic. Hence, they aren't willing to resume the monotony of the office environment.
Burnout and fatigue: Sometimes, employees experience fatigue and burnout when balancing a 9-5 with family life.
Bad treatment: For some, the decision to leave their jobs is due to poor treatment by their employer throughout the pandemic.
While employee turnover is normal, the Great Resignation can blindside companies if they do not seek to understand and address the individual motivations driving this shift.
Why employee retention is critical in the technology industry
It has been reported that resignations in the technology industry have increased since the onset of the pandemic. A major problem with the technology industry is the scarcity of talent, with the industry giants having snatched a huge chunk of the best talent. The tech industry is very competitive, with companies competing for the same talent. Even with the economic shifts caused by the pandemic, it's imperative that technology companies focus on retaining their current talent. With the specialized nature of this industry, losing talent not only comes at a high cost but also means losing unique skills and talent that may be hard to find. You may also lose employees to your competitor's advantage.
How can companies combat the 'Great Resignation'?
1. Extend remote work opportunities
For most employees, the past year is proof that they don't have to be at the office to be productive. While most may be missing the opportunity to socialize with their fellow workmates, a huge number have no intention of working from the office every day of the week. One survey indicates that 39% of employees surveyed would consider quitting their job if their employer doesn't avail an opportunity to work remotely. And the figure goes up to 49% for Gen Zs and millennials. This has forced companies like Twitter to offer an opportunity to work from home perpetually.
2. Invest in supporting your distributed workforce
Even for organizations that extend a remote work option, transitioning to a hybrid work environment can be challenging. Though the technological infrastructure may be in place, lots of shifts are required to successfully support this new way of working. The first step should be training managers to lead hybrid teams successfully.
3. Re-evaluate career development policies
World-changing events like the Covid-19 pandemic are enough to make anyone re-evaluate their priorities in life. You may not be able to retain every employee, but you can take significant steps to help employees make meaningful career decisions. As an employer, employees should feel free to discuss their career and life goals with you.
It's important to note that employee turnover is inevitable. However, it is a problem when companies are unable to retain their best talent, which is bound to negatively impact their bottom line. With industries like technology being heavily impacted by the 'Great Resignation', every company must devise strategies to retain talent.