The ‘Great Resignation’ Part One: What Steps Is Your Organization Taking to Retain and Entice Employees?

Recognizing the strain resignations are placing on their workers and ability to produce goods, many organizations are addressing employee turnover proactively.
What if your organization experienced as much as 50 percent employee turnover this year? What if that number was 70 percent or higher? As an EHS or quality professional, that would be a nightmare and these days, not an impossible scenario.

If you’ve read our new e-Book, “The ROI of Safety: Making the Business Case for Safety and Health,” you’ll know—if you didn’t already—that the actual hard costs of injuries are but a drop in the bucket when it comes to the combined total of hard and soft costs related to serious workplace injuries and fatalities. Recruiting, onboarding, training, retraining, production slowdowns, disrupted supply chain schedules and more can double or even triple the actual medical cost of an injury.

The same is true of the “Great Resignation.” We’ve all heard that many employees did not return to their jobs when pandemic-related layoffs ended. These workers decided to return to school, moved to different locations or changed careers entirely. Others either continued working the entire time or returned as scheduled, only to start searching for new jobs as soon as the economy opened up. One thing is certain: People are re-evaluating their career (and life) choices and it’s proving costly for employers: fewer shifts, closed locations, forced closures, significantly higher recruitment costs, slowed production and shipping times, increased training costs and more.

Employee Turnover Is Staggering

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, from April through June 2021, a total of 11.5 million workers quit their jobs. Even more alarming, new surveys reveal that anywhere from 50 percent of employees to an incredible 95 percent of employees included in a Monster.com survey are looking for or would be open to a new job.

Imagine if employee turnover at your organization was 50 percent in the next 12 months? What if that employee turnover number was 70 percent or higher?As an EHS or quality professional, trying to onboard that many new employees in safety and quality management systems would be a nightmare and these days, not an impossible scenario.

Employers who insist on business as usual after the pandemic are learning a hard lesson: Employees are speaking up with their feet, by walking out the door.

Dr. Gleb Tsipurski, in his report, Why Smart Quality Professionals Deny Serious Risks in a Post-Pandemic World (and What to Do About It),” notes: “When a threat seems clear to you, it’s hard to believe others will deny it. Yet smart people deny serious risks surprisingly often.”

He cited the example of a manufacturing company of 1,300 employees that conducted a strategic pivot to thrive in the post-COVID world. “While doing a pivoting audit, I learned that the company’s quality leader was strongly opposed to the company’s plan of strategically pivoting for the post-COVID world of having a hybrid-first model with some remote options, despite my advice on the benefits of flexible work options,” said Tsipurski. “He wanted to have everyone return to work, not only inspectors who had to be there for effective inspections for the whole pandemic, but the 31 back-end quality staff who successfully worked remotely throughout the pandemic.”

Continued Tsipurski, “The quality leader appeared oblivious to what employees preferred after the pandemic, as well as to the dangers of poor decisions on employee retention, morale and wellbeing.”

Other leaders, recognizing the strain resignations are placing on their workforce and ability to produce goods and supply services, have responded proactively. To combat employee turnover, many organizations have:

  • Offered bonuses
  • Allowed remote work for the first time ever
  • Increased pay—sometimes, in the case of minimum wage workers, doubling starting and existing hourly wages
  • Allowed more flexible schedules and coworking solutions, and
  • Acknowledged the importance of providing emotional support.

Are these strategies working? In some cases, they might be missing the mark, or at the very least, not hitting the bullseye.

According to Monster.com’s survey, employees are blaming burnout and a lack of growth opportunities for leaving their jobs and careers in some cases, not necessarily compensation or the opportunity for remote work. But one strategy could be the golden ticket to retaining employees suffering from a perceived lack of growth opportunities: career transparency.

Other articles in this series:

The ‘Great Resignation’ Part Two: How Important Is Career Transparency?

The ‘Great Resignation’ Part Three: Employee Retention Should Start Before the First Day on the Job

This entry was posted in EHSQ and tagged , , , by Sandy Smith. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the Global EHSQ Content Lead for Intelex Technologies. Formerly the Content Director for EHS Today, she has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. Her work as a journalist and editor has been recognized with national and international awards. She has been interviewed about occupational safety and health for national business publications, documentaries and television programs; has served as a panelist on roundtables; and has provided the keynote address for occupational safety and health conferences.

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