The Great Resignation has become the blanket term that most news outlets use for headlines, but for many of you, it’s an ongoing concern. In two recent LinkedIn polls, we found that 53% of responders had left their jobs and a large percentage attributed the desire to leave to burnout and toxic workplace culture. But these are not the only reasons people are quitting in record numbers. So, what can employers do to help curb this trend?
We sort of agree with the latest New York Times assessment that quitting is contagious. Our take? Quitting is contagious right now because we’re all significantly burnt out. Pre-pandemic, our BFFs may have quit but we’d still think twice, weighing finances and responsibilities. These days loyalty to a company feels lost because we understandably want to prioritize life over work at all times. And if life feels impossible alongside work (due to burnout) quitting is inevitable. While companies can’t prevent a mass exodus of “just because” quitters, they can agree to make the physical and mental well-being of their employees a top priority. How? Think about improving benefits, raising wages, offering free talk therapy, considering moving to four-day work weeks, offering various hybrid or remote work options, or setting longer/realistic deadlines on projects due to a staffing shortage. If you work to decrease burnout and let employees know they need to rest, maybe you can help curb quitting. For employees, be sure that you weigh your options and try to work with an employer first before making a rash decision.
- Inadequate pay
A 2021 study found that 47% of people think they're underpaid. Unfortunately, the actual number is likely much larger since most workers don't have a clear idea of the average pay for their job. But, like all the issues we raise here, appropriate pay is a two-way street. Companies, of course, need to do their due diligence in recognizing peoples’ contributions before they quit. Employers also need to do a reassessment on what employees should be making today versus pre-pandemic, as the pay rate has increased for everyone. Employees, on the other hand, should also be raising the issue of inadequate pay by asking for a raise. If you feel you aren’t paid for the amount of work you’re doing, especially if you find yourself handling two or more jobs now that others have quit, you should raise the issue and ask for a raise before you decide to quit. That is, of course, if you want to keep your position at a company you love.
- Unfit or Unchanging Culture
So now that we've talked about pay... most employers believe that's the top reason behind the current trend of quitting. BUT, according to an MIT study, that's wrong — it’s toxic workplace culture. They found that, "A toxic corporate culture is 10.4 times more powerful than compensation in predicting a company’s attrition rate." But let's dive into this... We should clarify what we mean by toxic, since the word is so often overused in this context. Toxic culture is defined as having a blend of four things: (1) undelivered promises, (2) disrespect, (3) unfair or unpredictable policies, (4) these behaviors reverberate throughout the company unchecked. Toxic workplace culture that isn't addressed from the top and reinforced by a strong HR department will continue to wreak havoc on the company in multiple forms, including turnover. Employees can continue to help improve culture by working together to call out toxic behaviors, collectively follow up on what the company’s doing to change, and support one another through any difficult times.
With everyone quitting and simultaneously looking for new jobs, one thing is absolutely clear for the talent pool: basically EVERYONE would rather be fully remote or at least hybrid at work. In fact, Gallup found that 91% of all workers want to be remote. Employers need to reckon with this fact. Our advice? Talk one-on-one with your team to fully understand what everyone wants and needs before you make decisions. Reevaluate through the year, too, as everything around us changes. In terms of hiring, be fully transparent with candidates, as any incoming talent might see full remote work as a huge draw to your company. You don’t want people quitting down the road because you go back on your promise to “stay remote forever”. Employees should be a part of the conversation throughout the process, and, if there are any issues with company policy, raise your concerns! If you feel you’re not being heard, refer to reason number 3 on this list for additional advice.
To sum it all up, employers should keep an eye on hiring trends, hold space for employees’ concerns, and adjust their priorities accordingly. Some of the key points to pay attention to are committing to total remote or hybrid work environments, strengthening DE&I initiatives, making your benefits fit the 2022 lifestyle, and heading off burnout before it happens. Take this quiz to get some ideas on attracting and keeping talent. And, above all, keep listening to your employees.
If you find yourself in the situation of needing to hire more people to work for your amazing company, we can help with that!