Replacing skilled workers in your contingent or blended workforce often comes with high costs. The departure of proven talent disrupts workflow, removes institutional knowledge and can erode organizational culture; it requires the devotion of time and financial resources to recruit, hire and onboard new workers.
Nearly 50 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021, spurring the movement that became known as the Great Resignation.
Although the Great Resignation is more appropriately the Great Reshuffle, in which those who quit their jobs move to other organizations or pursue self-employment, it has yet to lose momentum. Job resignations in the United States alone have averaged just over 4 million per month in 2022. A Fortune article about the persistent Great Resignation cited independent surveys from Microsoft and McKinsey & Company that each found about 40% of workers were considering leaving their jobs by the end of 2022.
In response to the labor market changes wrought by the pandemic and Great Resignation, Procom created The Re-Imagined Recruitment Playbook, a guide to sourcing, screening, hiring and retaining talent. Amid the sustained wave of resignations and ongoing labor shortage, it is perhaps more important than ever for organizations to have a retention strategy.
Toxic culture fuels resignations in the workforce
According to an analysis by the MIT Sloan School of Management, most employees who quit their jobs since the start of the Great Resignation did so for reasons related to workplace culture. Factors included an employer’s failure to promote diversity, equity and inclusion efforts; disrespectful treatment of workers by management; and unpredictable workloads and work schedules.
Procom’s most recent Voice of Talent Report indicates that about 52% of workers are either “very likely” or “likely” to leave their current positions within the next 12 months, many for reasons related to culture. Yet the same report found that most workers are optimistic about their careers.
Talented workers know they have options in today’s labor climate and are not afraid to change organizations — or even industries — for positions that better align with their values and professional priorities. Toxic culture may fuel resignations, but talent satisfaction powers retention.
Organizations must adapt to shifting worker priorities and expectations to retain top talent. Following are a few approaches that can help organizations future-proof their workforces.
Embrace flexible work models
Work model preferences have swung dramatically since the pandemic’s onset, and employers who are capable of flexibility would be wise to consider remote work options.
Procom’s aforementioned Voice of Talent Report found that 65% of workers favor 100% remote work while only 2% prefer a 100% in-office model. Other workers expressed a preference for a hybrid model that blends remote and in-office labor.
While talent views remote work as a positive, it’s crucial for organizations to distinguish between remote and work-from-anywhere models. The Voice of Talent Report suggests that more than one-third of workers expect remote work to mean working from anywhere, but a true work-from-anywhere arrangement requires special considerations.
Depending on where employees live and work, a work-from-anywhere model may be accompanied by additional tax issues and regulatory compliance needs. However, remote work and work-from-home models can be effective for talent and employers when the workers reside in proximity to the organization’s physical location.
Provide growth opportunities
Due in part to the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic, today’s workers are forward-looking and interested in honing their professional skills.
Nearly 70% of the global workforce desires the ability to retrain or learn new skills through their employers, according to a report by the Harvard Business Review. Organizations that don’t already offer professional development opportunities may want to consider upskilling or reskilling programs, tuition or certification reimbursement, mentorship programs or other training options.
As the Harvard Business Review article notes: workers would generally like to stay with employers who maintain a positive culture and provide avenues for growth. Promoting from within rewards and helps retain dedicated workers who possess significant internal knowledge, demonstrating to a workforce that an organization is committed to individual growth.
Growth opportunities not only help retain valued talent but they can also be instrumental in recruiting new talent. Organizations that provide skills development opportunities and advance employees internally should emphasize these factors as part of their brand and culture.
Solicit and embrace feedback
To retain talent, it’s vital to understand how talent feels about their individual roles and the workplace culture.
Conduct regular anonymous and voluntary surveys that gauge employee satisfaction and reveal details that are critical to their retention. Different types of employee satisfaction and workplace culture surveys can be tailored to fit an organization’s unique products or services and work model.
Surveys should be short, succinct and give employees a voice in relevant issues such as workflow, organizational culture, work-life balance, management relationships, job workload and productivity expectations. The idea is to gather actionable responses that inform how organizations can improve culture and retention.
Organizations mustn’t stop at collecting feedback; they must also be intentional about implementing viable feedback. Employees want to be engaged and feel listened to, and responding to their evaluations sets the foundation for loyalty, retention and a future-proof workforce.
The Re-Imagined Recruitment Playbook
Over the past two years, we have captured hard won lessons learned across thousands of worker hiring engagements by our team of professional recruiters and distilled them into practical ideas that you can start using immediately. The Re-Imagined Recruitment Playbook is a step-by-step guide to help source, screen, select, onboard and retain talent in the New World of Work.