HR and the Big Disconnect; Understanding why employees are leaving

There’s no end in sight to the turnover tsunami.

Is the Great Resignation going to slow down in 2022? It doesn’t look that way. According to a new survey, 48.1 percent of employees were looking to leave their jobs in the next 90 days. (Source: talent marketplace platform Gloat)

Many employers are at a loss. They’ve offered hybrid and remote work options, focused on worker safety and are listening to employees more. What’s the real problem here?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) sought answers. The leading HR industry organization conducted a study of executives, HR professionals and U.S. workers to understand the mass  exodus. What they found: there is a huge disconnect between why employees are actually leaving and why executives believe they are.

Although the resignation numbers may be disheartening, there are plenty of employees who are happy with what they do and the companies where they work. Still, they are questioning if there are greener pastures elsewhere. Employers can make positive changes now to keep their talent before the revolving door wreaks total havoc on their businesses

The misunderstanding

SHRM’s survey uncovered how wide apart executives and workers are in their thinking. The research asked participants for the most common reasons U.S. workers were searching for new jobs. About one in four executives cited COVID-19 safety concerns and relocation to an area with a lower-cost of living as top motivators. These were bottom of the list for employees.

Here’s the biggest disconnect: 53% of workers said better compensation was a key factor. Just 26% of executives mentioned pay.

Another troubling issue is the domino effect. More than half of U.S. workers said colleagues had left the company in the past six months and they had to work harder as a result. This had most who stayed wondering if they were paid enough and if there were better opportunities for them too.

It’s no wonder so many are feeling burned out and dissatisfied. Consulting firm Willis Towers Watson reports that nearly all companies recognize stress and burnout as a threat for their workforces but only one in three businesses has an action plan to address it.

Positive change

If you strive to be a best-in-class employer, here are three HR focus areas for 2022:

Compensation, rewards and benefits – Consider spot bonuses to employees who have stepped up to fill the gap when co-workers have quit, new or additional merit increases, and referral bonuses. If you’ve lost staff, it may be time to restructure positions, promote your top people and provide them with greater compensation while automating or outsourcing other functions to save on payroll.

Don’t discount the value of benefits too, especially financial wellness support. Three out of four Americans rank their finances as their top stressor. Popular financial wellness benefits include retirement savings plans, safety net insurance, emergency savings funds, student loan repayment and financial planning or coaching.

Growth opportunities – Have you made career development within your ranks a priority? Are you letting your people try on new hats and develop new skills? The Gloat survey said the majority feel their employers are not taking their future aspirations seriously enough and one in three can’t envision a future at their current employer.

“A desire to grow and do new work is the second most common reason people switch jobs,” the researchers concluded.

Upskilling and cross training your people has benefits beyond retention. It promotes teamwork, allows you to be nimbler with assignments and shields your organization when workers are out sick or on vacation.

Mental health and worklife balance – The two go hand in hand, right? It’s not enough anymore to offer Employee Assistance Programs and mental health coverage as part of your medical benefits. Don’t get me wrong; these are important and valuable. Just as important: proactively cultivating your workers’ mental health. This starts at the top with the right management thinking and practice.

Do you express appreciation to your employees? Do you recognize and call-out wins during meetings? Do your managers really know their people and ask them how they are doing? Beyond these basic norms, are you encouraging team members to take no-work mental health days? Are you giving your people the flexibility to spend time working out, attending their children’s events and working when they can be most productive?

The newest management buzzword is life-work integration. As Ariana Huffington writes, “Life-work integration is about embedding well-being into the workflow itself. It’s about well-being as a set of guiding principles that we can design our day around. It starts with asking ourselves what our non-negotiables are, what are the things in our lives that are critical components of who we are and who we want to be, and that allow us to show up as our best selves.”

If you truly want the best from your employees, if you care about their well-being as well as your bottom line, 2022 is the year to adjust your thinking and your business norms. An expert HR advisor like NEMR HR can guide you.   Chat Live with us to learn more or Email Us.