We’ve all read the news. The talent market is stressed with workers quitting their jobs in record number. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 4.3 million Americans, or almost 3% of the workforce quit their jobs in January. Meanwhile, there are 11.3 million jobs to fill, with the U.S. economy adding 467,000 jobs in January, far above the estimate of 150,000 job openings. Unemployment rates continue to drop while global vacancies reach an all-time high (Employment Situation Summary - 2022 M01 Results (bls.gov). Add to that, an inflation rate of 7.9% (Consumer Price Index) that represents the biggest increase since February 1982. Cash also reappears as the classic recruitment tool (Tech Giants Turn to a Classic Recruitment Tool: Cash - WSJ). There is a lot of information for companies to digest here as the Great Resignation of 2021 gives way to the Great Reshuffle or Re-evaluation of 2022.
LinkedIn’s principal economist, Guy Berger contends that workers are switching jobs, rather than quitting, making the aptly named title, the Great Reshuffle (Jill on Money: The great reshuffle (mercurynews.com). In addition, 72% of tech employees in tech/IT roles are thinking about quitting their job in the next 12 months. This is significantly higher than a 55% rate of the overall U.S. workforce (The Great Resignation of 2021: Survey on why more and more tech workers are quitting their jobs | TalentLMS). The fact that the pandemic led to employee fatigue, social unrest and burnout hasn’t helped the situation (Tech industry data from Mercer’s Pandemic Spot Poll Survey series). However, there is an opportunity for companies to re-evaluate (the Great Re-evaluation) their retention plans, a term coined by IBM’s CHRO Nickle LaMoreaux (Great Resignation? At IBM, it’s the Great Reevaluation - HR Executive).
Let’s take a look at how to stop the talent exodus and stay ahead of the company attraction and retention plans. One of the most important ways to retain talent is to change the culture mindset into one of staying. Below is a six-point plan to get you started.
An analogy exists between the National Football League’s “draft and develop” philosophy to a company’s “build and burgeon” investments – both made on behalf of the players/employees.
- Learn your company’s attrition rate, also known as the employee turnover rate. This metric used to measure the pace at which employees are lost over a set of time and includes voluntary (i.e. resignation, retirement, etc.,) or involuntarily (termination) departures. Attrition rates vary by industry, however in Mercer’s upcoming Global Talent Trends data, it was reported that one-in-two tech employees are considering leaving their organization this year.
- Really dig into the data to understand, based on the statistics the real reasons why employees are leaving. A disconnect may exist between why employers think employees are leaving and the actual reason behind the talent departures. Leverage the attrition data to help change to a “stay” culture mindset.
- Listen to employees. Instead of exit interviews, conduct weekly stay interviews. This was mentioned during a recent Peer 150 Human Resources virtual roundtable (PEER 150 – Human Resources – Real Leaders. Real Leadership. (thepeer150.com). Some companies are conducting more employee listening/polling and reporting on the findings. The accountability of the findings is important in an effort to raise transparency throughout the company.
- Align the employee listening findings to business purpose and company mission. McKinsey reported that “employees want a renewed and revised sense of purpose in their work, along with social and interpersonal connections with their colleagues and managers (How companies can turn the Great Resignation into the Great Attraction | McKinsey ).”
- Conduct a skills inventory to learn what skills the company possesses today and what skills will be needed in the future. Be proactive in the use of this data to create personalized learning and development journeys that are owned by the employee. It was reported by Mercer that by 2025:
- 85 million jobs will be displaced by a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines; while
- 97 million new jobs will be created with the adaptation to the new division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms; and
- 50% of all employees will need reskilling
- Build a talent mobility marketplace where the skills, along with the flexibility of the hybrid and remote workforce take center stage. The HR departments or Talent Acquisition teams become talent brokers as they help to manage a global, distributed workforce. Picture this as a cloud-based talent mobility marketplace based on skills and demand without the confines of geography.
- Last, look to your alumni networks – those employees that have left. Communicate with them regularly, especially about the purpose-driven company with a culture mindset focused on staying. Invite them back into the fold by sending regular job/skills updates. Turn them into boomerangs (those who have quit at one point and then decided to come back). Data from LinkedIn shows that 4.5% of all hires are boomerangs (Why You Should Welcome Back Boomerang Employees (shrm.org). This includes attention on retirees, as well.
All of this points back to the importance of retention and building a culture mindset of staying foundation.