How to Improve Employee Retention During the Great Resignation

Updated October 6, 2023

Workplaces countrywide are experiencing turbulent times as employees are resigning en masse at unprecedented levels. The Great Resignation, or the Big Quit, started in early 2021, with experts quoting various causes, such as poor wages and the rising cost of living.

As reported by SHRM, 4.5 million people resigned in November 2021, breaking the previous record set in September 2021. A further 4.3 million workers resigned in December. Workers are leaving their jobs at the slightest whim, with no end in sight.

It would seem employee satisfaction is at an all-time low, so this article examines ways to stimulate employee retention. Hopefully, these tactics will improve job satisfaction and stem the tide of high employee turnover.

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Employee Retention Strategies During The Great Resignation

Companies are having a hard time stopping the high attrition rates, which has all to do with keeping employees engaged. Even before the pandemic, Gallup researchers recorded employee engagement levels at 35% in 2019. No prizes for guessing that engaged employees are likely to stay longer at a job.

Further, a Forbes article says nearly 69% of companies had a challenge finding the right talent. That led to job vacuums and overworked employees, the perfect recipe for high attrition.

Considering the taxing recruitment and onboarding process that follows resignations, it pays to stop the high turnover. Here are the best employee retention strategies to keep top talent and improve employee retention rates.

1. Introduce Employee Recognition Program

To boost your employees’ morale and make them feel wanted, introduce an employee recognition program to appreciate and reward:

  • Exemplary performances.
  • Significant personal or professional development.
  • Team members’ special events, such as birthdays.
  • Brilliant and innovative ideas.
  • Excellent feedback.
  • Team players

Honest, authentic, and personalized thank-you notes, congratulatory messages, and tokens of appreciation mean a lot to your best employees.

2. Offer Competitive Perks and Salaries

Job seekers and employees alike are attracted and retained by competitive pay packages. Competitive salaries are equal to or greater than most other benefits you could provide.

Task your human resource personnel to review every employee’s annual salary and offer competitive perks. To make your salary offer competitive, include benefits and allowances such as:

  • Healthcare insurance covers
  • Commuter allowances
  • Child care for full-time employees
  • Vacation reimbursement
  • Retirement plans
  • Stipends

3. Incentivize Loyalty

There’s no running away from it–you have to pay over the odds to keep your best employees. Introduce length of service awards to reward long-serving workers. Even if you have one in place, it pays to shorten the timeline before one qualifies for an award.

Take this further by recognizing employees’ anniversaries and milestones. Apart from keeping the never-ending recruitment process at bay, paying well will buy you some form of loyalty.

4. Provide Development Opportunities

Employees are always looking for career development. You can satisfy your employee’s desire to upskill by paying for online courses to learn new skills. Similarly, you can provide mentorship, cross-training, peer coaching, and management and leadership training.

Additionally, provide clear guidelines for ascending the corporate ladder. It will improve workers’ job satisfaction and employee engagement as they know exactly what is needed to advance their careers.

An added advantage of employee training is that it will improve the skills they can use to better your organization. Supporting your employees’ career advancement will curb the urge to resign as they will feel part of the company’s future.

5. Re-evaluate the Company’s Culture

A toxic work environment is a turn-off to current employees and new hires alike. Amid the Great Resignation, rework your workplace culture by implementing the following:

  • Create flexible schedules by introducing remote work options for a healthy work-life balance.
  • Prioritize your employee’s well-being by resolving issues leading to job dissatisfaction.
  • Assess and change problematic leadership approaches.
  • Introduce work shifts where employees get paid per hour.
  • Listen and implement your employees’ feedback.
  • Give regular paid time-off to prevent employees’ burnout.

6. Initiate Stay and Exit Interviews

Exit interviews let you know why your company is experiencing a high employee turnover rate and take action.

On the other hand, don’t wait to understand why employees leave your company, seek employee feedback through stay interviews.

You can conduct successful and effective stay and exit interviews if you have meaningful interactions that connect you to employees. Without a collaborative work environment where your employees’ voices get heard, it will be challenging for them to open up.

Final Word – Improving Employee Retention

Sometimes preventing employees’ from leaving is beyond your control, but you can prevent a mass exit within a short period. Losing top talent and a high employee turnover rate will affect your company’s overall growth and reputation.

To improve employee retention during the great resignation, focus on the little things that matter most. That could be higher wages, better allowances, healthy work-life balance, incentivizing loyalty, and career advancement opportunities.

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