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How to Increase Employee Retention During the Great Resignation

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By
Devin Miller
February 16, 2022

The labor shortage is creating a major challenge for employers. Focusing on wellness, flexibility, and better benefits can help boost employee retention.

Key takeaways:

  • The Great Resignation is due to worker stress and burnout, a need for flexibility, and demand for better work conditions, among other reasons.
  • 6 ways to retain talent during the labor shortage:
  1. Start a mentorship program
  2. Focus on employee wellness
  3. Be more flexible
  4. Prioritize DEI initiatives
  5. Gather employee feedback and listen
  6. Upgrade your benefits package with an ESA

Employees around the nation are changing their job expectations. They are fighting against unfair working conditions and looking for better pay and benefits. A whopping 4.2 million Americans left their jobs in October 2021. A Qualtrics study found that 44% of employees say they plan to look for a new job in the next year.

The current labor shortage, which has become known as the “Great Resignation,” is creating many challenges for employers. Employees want to feel engaged by their positions and valued by companies, and salary and perks also play a big role.

Fortunately, there are steps employers can take to retain talent during this uncertain period. Here’s a look at some key factors causing the Great Resignation and what you can focus on to prioritize employee retention.

What’s causing the Great Resignation?

Your first step as an employer is understanding why people are leaving. There are many different factors at play, and some will depend on the industry you’re in. Here are a few key reasons people are resigning in record numbers:

  • Stress and burnout: People have been overly stressed with all the uncertainty and illness caused by the pandemic. This may put extra pressure on them at work and force them to reconsider their careers.
  • Overworked healthcare workers: The pandemic also put tremendous burdens on healthcare workers since the beginning of 2020. Healthcare workers may be looking for work in less demanding environments.
  • Remote work preferences: Offices all over the nation transitioned to remote environments at the start of the pandemic. Many employees saw the benefits, like a better work-life balance, saving time without a commute, and even greater productivity. Employees may not want to return to the office and might resign if they are required to come back unnecessarily.
  • Demand for better conditions: As an Atlantic writer pointed out this year, people have been holding onto jobs they weren’t satisfied with as a safety net since the 1980s, and that era is ending. Employees now want to find work with better pay, more robust benefits, and greater flexibility.

Employers should consider these changing priorities and shift their thinking. Small steps can be taken that will make huge impacts and encourage workers to stick around. Let’s look at six. 

Six ways to retain talent during a labor shortage

What can you do during the Great Resignation to keep your employees? It all starts with prioritizing people, not positions. People want to feel valued, encouraged, and recognized for their contributions. Here are a few things you can do now:

1. Start a mentorship program

One proven way to help workers feel supported is to offer mentorships. People need to feel that they have room to grow in an organization, so pairing them with someone higher up can help them talk about their career goals and outline a path for the future. Mentorship programs can benefit employees at every level and contribute to better company culture.

2. Focus on employee wellness

Burnout and stress are common reasons people leave their jobs. Instead of putting more work and pressure on employees, provide additional outlets for health and wellness. Bring in a yoga instructor once a week to lead a free class. Encourage time to relax or meditate. Send around resources for mental health, healthy eating habits, and exercise tips.  Consider offering dedicated mental health days as part of workers’ PTO so people can take off when they feel overly stressed, overwhelmed, or unwell.

Remember that financial wellness is employee wellness, also. Invest in programs and benefits that support employees in securing their financial futures. Show people that you care about them as holistic beings, not just workers in chairs.

3. Be more flexible

Today’s workers want flexibility. That may be in their work schedule and hours, office environment, or remote options. Listen to what is most important to them as they may be making big transitions. Instead of having outdated policies in place, consider reevaluating and taking on a new perspective that could help people create a work life they are satisfied with.

4. Prioritize DEI initiatives

Employees – especially those in the Millennial and Gen Z generations – want to work for employers that show their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). People want to feel not only that the work they’re doing is purposeful and meaningful, but that the company is also showing a commitment to these important areas.

Studies have shown that fostering a climate of diversity allows a company to draw from more knowledge and experience in decision-making, improving overall effectiveness and problem-solving strategies. There are more opportunities for creativity and team performance improvements, as well.

You can start by creating a committee or team dedicated to DEI work, and make sure you bring in differing perspectives and experiences to collaborate. Create a set of goals and talk about what needs to be improved in the organization. Encourage discussion and make sure people across the company have a chance to give their ideas.

5. Gather employee feedback and listen

Employee feedback is invaluable when you’re trying to prioritize the needs of your workers. How can you really know what they need, after all, without asking? 

Make sure managers are having one-on-one meetings with their subordinates and inviting them to share. Hold company town halls where people can ask questions to leadership directly. Send around surveys that assess employee preferences. And, always make sure you are listening and hearing what they’re expressing. People want to feel like their voices are being heard.

6. Upgrade your benefits package with an ESA

Many Americans continue to struggle with their finances, and inflation is putting even more economic stress on households nationwide. Employers can continue to be competitive and foster positive work climates by offering more support in this area. 

One effective way is helping people save for unexpected circumstances. It may be more challenging than ever for people to have enough saved in emergency savings. An employer-sponsored Emergency Savings Account (ESA) not only encourages workers to save but also makes it extremely simple for employees to build their emergency fund between the employer match and the ability for employees to auto-save from their paycheck.  

SecureSave helps you support your employees to create a healthy financial future. We prioritize making our solution easy for employers to add to their benefits package. You can implement this benefit at any time, with limited paperwork and management required..

Start supporting employees with SecureSave so they’re never worried about a financial hardship they can’t afford. Sign up today. 

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Devin Miller

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Devin Miller