Millions of workers have voluntarily left their jobs over the last 6 months in a mass exodus deemed “The Great Resignation.”
Across the country, millions of employees are burned out and unwilling to endure stagnant compensation and inconvenient hours. Parents have been forced to leave the workforce in order to care for children stuck at home, and fears of contracting COVID-19 have prompted workers to abandon positions they believe could put their health and safety at risk.
Discrepancies between employees’ personal values and their workplaces’ culture can also be to blame — recent research reveals that more than half of workers are willing to quit their jobs if their organization’s core values do not align with their own personal values.
With that in mind, employers who hope to avoid Great Resignation fallout must consider how their organization’s culture aligns with the needs of their employees.
“People want their employer to be a force for good in their lives—at home and at work,” said Cheryl Fields Tyler, founder, and CEO of Blue Beyond Consulting. “Employees are showing they’re not afraid to make a change if their employer’s values don’t align with their own.”
Here are four points to consider to minimize turnover and equip your organization for success in 2021 and beyond.
Extend remote work options
Remote work is no longer a privilege. For many employees, it’s a requirement.
Employees are burned out, tired of long commutes, and unwilling to face the potential health risks of in-person work — so much so that surveys suggest nearly 40% of workers would consider leaving their jobs if their employer refused to allow flexible work options. For Millennial and Gen Z workers, that figure increases to 49%.
Many organizations are acquiescing to these demands— tech companies like Twitter, Square, and Spotify are allowing employees to work from home forever, while Microsoft and Salesforce will allow employees to split their time between home and the office.
“The ability to work from home or at the very least have flexible work arrangements continues to be very valuable for workers during the pandemic,” Daniel Zhao, a Senior Economist and Data Scientist at Glassdoor told CNBC. “When you look at the highest-rated industries for work-life balance, like tech and real estate, many of those jobs can be done from home, and workers have really appreciated that flexibility.”
Evolve and encourage paid time off (PTO)
Americans were already overworked prior to the pandemic. U.S. employees put in more hours and take fewer vacation days than workers almost anywhere else — and the pressure cooker of stress created by the pandemic surely didn’t help the situation.
On Glassdoor, the percentage of workplace reviews mentioning “burnout” rose by 100%, while reviews mentioning mental health skyrocketed by more than 140%.
It’s no secret that many employees have been pushed to their breaking point, working overtime and operating in overdrive to make up for staff shortages. Increasing the number of days or reasons for workers to use PTO, or even possibly offering unlimited vacation days, can help encourage overworked employees to take time to rest and reset.
“Many companies are paying attention to this aspect of benefits for their employees and changing the formal policy structure,” Michelle May Griffin, an HR Consultant in Tampa, FL told the Society for Human Resource Management. “The hope is the employees will feel heard, cared about, and receive the best resources the company can provide.”
Prioritize manager training
Transitioning from the office to remote workplaces is easier said than done. No matter how technologically savvy your employees and managers are, remote work environments require creative management, proactive communication, and a commitment to instilling your organization’s culture in the virtual world.
To prevent frustration and burnout among remote employees, managers must be specifically trained to lead hybrid teams and prepare for the unique challenges of virtual work. That includes equipping managers with the tools to mitigate challenges like isolation and lapses in communication that are specific to remote work.
“Remote employees are more likely to feel disconnected in a hybrid work model so it’s going to take more effort from managers to help bridge this gap. However, if you start with a strong foundation and keep everyone on the same page, half your work is done right there,” says Philipp Zeiske, CEO of Zeitholz.
Take care of Human Resources (HR)
HR teams are shouldering more than their fair share of pandemic-related stress. From supervising remote workers to reimagining the recruiting process, navigating fluctuating health and safety protocols, and managing employee well-being — the list of challenges encountered by HR professionals during the pandemic knows no bounds.
HR professionals are in the unique position of having to help employees through the tribulations of COVID-19 while facing burnout of their own. That’s why it’s particularly important for employers to take care of their HR teams first and devote extra time and resources towards fulfilling their needs.
“Ask yourself how these people like to be recognized, and choose an approach that will thrill and delight them,” says Larry Dunivan, CEO of HCM software company Namely. “I’ve talked to way too many HR leaders in the past six months who are overworked, overstressed, and under-recognized. Make sure you’re doing your part.”
By prioritizing the well-being of your HR team and ensuring that they are well equipped to do their jobs, you can build a strong foundation to mitigate the fallout of this historic time.
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Need HR help for a low monthly fee? Contact us today. The information contained in this article is not a substitute for legal advice or counsel and has been pulled from multiple sources.
The information contained in this article is not a substitute for legal advice or counsel and has been pulled from multiple sources.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lia Tabackman is a freelance journalist, copywriter, and social media strategist based in Richmond, Virginia. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, CBS 6 News, the Los Angeles Times, and Arlington Magazine, among others. She writes weekly nonprofit-specific content for 501c.com.