When a record number of employees started quitting their jobs in 2020, the movement was called The Great Resignation. The steep rise in resignations was a temporary trend, but even in 2022, 44% of workers still identify as job seekers. Companies are experiencing historic employee attrition rates, so now hiring and retaining top talent is priority number one.
While the resignation continues, employers must learn that long-term management solutions and changes in workplace culture will ultimately build trust for their current, and future, employees and lead to less employee turnover.
Here are a few actionable ways that employers can work to create ideal work environments that increase employee retention:
Listen to your employees
Quitters aren’t leaving the workforce; they’re getting different (often better) jobs. The solution for employers is simple: be the better job for your employees.
According to a Pew Research Study, the top two reasons U.S. workers left their jobs in 2021 were low pay (63%) and no opportunities for advancement (63%). Workers also reported feeling disrespected (57%), childcare issues (48%), and a lack of flexibility to choose when they put in their hours (45%).
While it’s no surprise that workers are leaving their jobs for more pay and upward mobility, employees clearly have ever-changing lifestyles that require work environments built on trust, respect, and autonomy and that allow them to work in any way they want. By allowing workers to, for example, set their own hours or location of work and strive for their ideal work-life balance, employers are communicating to employees that their needs are extremely valued and that they will continue to listen and adapt as those needs change.
Create a personal environment
It’s important for employers to constantly anticipate the needs of their employees by encouraging frequent and honest communication. Each employee has their own unique story that drives them to feel valued and make decisions. It’s human nature to want to be wanted, so if you ‘want’ your employees, show them by valuing their individual needs and creating a personalized work experience or set of policies that align with those needs.
Encourage innovation, growth, and risk-taking
Managers who demonstrate humility and normalize vulnerability practice what organizational psychologist Adam Grant calls psychological safety. When management encourages transparent and honest communication within teams, employee confidence thrives. If employees feel psychologically safe at work, they’re more willing to take risks and create innovative solutions, and they “strive to improve themselves and protect their team,” says Grant.
Cultivating a psychologically safe environment allows employees to be authentic and build meaningful relationships with coworkers, in turn creating the right conditions for successful collaborations and teamwork. These values strengthen an employee’s investment and loyalty toward their team and their employer, making them less likely to seek out a new job.
Embrace the future of work
Letting go of old processes is not always easy. Embracing the future of work requires employers to adopt new technologies to measure productivity and promote innovation and adapt to new ways of thinking about the employee experience. Providing the flexibility employees want means recognizing and responding to their personalized needs. If you are listening to your employees’ needs and laying the foundation for an open, honest, and communicative environment, you’re telling your employees that they, as individuals, are valued and prioritized.
Creating a work environment and processes that empower people to work in any way, gives people the autonomy they want without sacrificing accountability and performance. A desire for more autonomy and flexibility, along with wanting to feel respected and valued, are two of the top reasons employees leave the workplace. Employers should address these needs head on, or risk losing their most valued employees. Give workers what they want by giving them the ability to work in any way, and win their loyalty.