Why are Employees Flocking Organizations?
Since April 2021, more than 19 million US workers—and counting—have departed their employment, a record rate that has wreaked havoc on businesses across the country. Companies are battling the issue, and many will continue to do so for one simple reason: they don’t understand why their employees are leaving in the first place. Rather than taking the time to investigate the root causes of the attrition, many businesses resort to well-intentioned quick fixes that fail, for example, increasing payor financial perks, such as offering “thank you” bonuses, without making any effort to strengthen employees’ relationships with their coworkers and employers.
What’s the result? Employees detect a transaction rather than gratitude. This transactional relationship serves as a reminder that their actual needs are unmet.
Company leaders put their organizations at risk by not understanding what their people are fleeing and what might gravitate them. Furthermore, because many businesses are treating the situation in the same way—failing to invest in a more meaningful employee experience and failing to meet new demands for autonomy and flexibility at work—some employees are deciding to leave traditional full-time employment entirely.
Employers need to make a deliberate effort to understand better why employees are leaving and take practical steps to retain them. Companies may gain an advantage in the fight to attract, develop, and retain the people they need to build a solid post-pandemic organization by grasping this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
This, however, will not be easy because it will necessitate organizations and their executives to understand their workforce. It demands leaders to have a much more profound empathy for what their people are going through. Moreover, the compassion to act and change due to that empathy. Only then can businesses, in collaboration with their employees, properly review their employees’ aspirations and requirements and begin to deliver the flexibility, connectivity, and sense of unity and purpose that people crave.
Many senior executives will be asked to rethink their leadership styles along the way. The abilities that made leaders effective before the COVID-19 pandemic—strong coaching, mentoring, and team building—are now considered standard practice for the challenges that lie ahead in the months and years ahead.
Executives who believe that staff churn is decreasing or that it is exclusive to specific industries are mistaken. In a survey, 40% of employees said they are somewhat likely to leave within the next three to six months. Eighteen percent of those polled claimed their plans are “probable” to “almost certain.” These findings were consistent across industries and across all five nations we studied (Australia, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States). Employees in the leisure and hospitality industry are the most likely to leave, but many healthcare and white-collar workers say they intend to go as well. Even among educators, who are the least likely to indicate they will leave, over a third said they are at least somewhat inclined to do so.
The Achievers Workforce Institute, the research arm of Achievers, an employee recognition software firm based in Toronto, commissioned a study in February. Here are some Key Findings2:
- In 2021, half of the employees will be looking for a new job.
- In 2021, 52 percent of respondents plan to look for work, up from 35 percent in 2020. Better pay and perks (35 percent) and a better work-life balance (35 percent) are the most common reasons for looking for a new job (25 percent). Work-life balance (23 percent) and recognition are the top reasons for staying in current employment for businesses seeking retention tactics to minimize this increased turnover3 (21 percent).
More than pleasant perks are needed to improve employee engagement.
Employee retention requires high levels of employee engagement. According to a statistical analysis conducted by the Achievers Workforce Institute, individuals who are engaged are much less likely to look for work. However, only one-fifth of respondents (21%) say they are really engaged and intend to stay with their employer for a long time. Employee engagement, on the other hand, requires more than free lunches and ping pong tables.
Two-thirds of employees (66%) would be more involved at work if their employer improved company culture, and more than half (52%) would be more engaged if their employer enhanced diversity and inclusion
Employee engagement is fueled by manager recognition.
One-fifth of employees (20%) say they are disengaged at work because they feel underappreciated for their accomplishments, and two-fifths (40%) think their boss is only “average” at recognizing their efforts. More than two-thirds of employees (69%) believe that recognizing their boss more will strengthen their relationship. More than a third of employees (34%) do not feel valued by their bosses at work, with Gen Zs (43%) most likely to feel unappreciated.
Employers solicit feedback, yet the majority of them do not acton it.
Three out of five employees (60%) say their employer has asked for an opinion on how to enhance the employee experience during the epidemic, 52 percent on how to improve business culture during the pandemic, and 51 percent on remote/hybrid work preferences after the pandemic. When it comes to taking action based on employee feedback, however, more than a third (34%) of employees believe their manager/employer is “comfortable” with doing so discussing the feedback, and making a few adjustments as a result. Another 18 percent of employees claim their boss/employer is “terrible” at responding to criticism and that they never act on it.
Employees’ concerns about productivity are intensified by remote employment.
Half of those who work from home are concerned that their manager or supervisor may question their productivity while working remotely (51 percent). This concern may lead to employee burnout. Nearly half (44%) of employees claim that they have logged into work sooner or stayed online later because they are concerned that their manager/supervisor questions their efficiency while working remotely.
Employees are dissatisfied with their workplace.
Since the pandemic, nearly half of employees (46%) say they feel less connected to their employer or colleagues, compared to only 38% who say they feel more attached. Furthermore, 42% say business culture has deteriorated since the outbreak, with most employees blaming a lack of communication (26%) or a lack of effort to make remote staff feel connected (25 percent).
1Mckinsey and Company, 8 Sep 2021, Aaron De Smet, Bonnie Dowling, Marino Mugayar-Baldocchi, and Bill Schaninger, Great Attrition or Great Attraction? The Choice is yours, Accessed 1Dec 2021, https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/great-attrition-or-great-attraction-the-choice-is-yours
Accessed 1 Dec 2021, https://www.achievers.com/resources/white-papers/workforce-institute-2021-engagement-and-retention-report/
2The Achievers Engagement and Retention Report, 20-21, Accessed 1 Dec 2021, https://www.achievers.com/resources/white-papers/workforce-institute-2021-engagement-and-retention-report/
3SHRM, 12 Mar 2021, ROY MAURER, Turnover “Tsunami” expected once pandemic ends, Accessed 12 Dec 2021, https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/turnover-tsunami-expected-once-pandemic-ends.aspx
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