Career and Workplace

Read This Before You Hear "I Quit"

We probably all knew this was going to happen. Cooped up at home for nearly two years, we were forced to adapt and in turn re-evaluate priorities in both life and work,  driven to reconsider what is truly important and to assess whether minimum requirements from work were being met. Where they were not, we opted to leave.

McKinsey & Company surveyed employees and employers in Australia, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States to find that 40 per cent of the employees are “somewhat likely to quit in the next three to six months”. And among employees who said they were at least somewhat likely to leave their jobs within this period, almost two-thirds added that they would do so without lining up new jobs.

“Fifty-three percent of the employers said that they are experiencing greater voluntary turnover than they had in previous years, and 64 percent expect the problem to continue—or worsen—over the next six months,” McKinsey noted. The quitting game is indeed afoot, it seems.

According to McKinsey, the leisure and hospitality industry is most at risk for losing employees, yet many healthcare and white-collar workers say they also plan to quit. Almost one-third of educators who were part of the survey said they are somewhat likely to quit too.

Even more interesting is the reasons for quitting. The top three factors employees cited were that they didn’t feel valued by their organisations (54 percent) or their managers (52 percent) or because they did not feel a sense of belonging at work (51 percent).

With employees parting ways, growth and innovation are taking a hit, demanding introspection as well as investment in serious employee retention efforts.

If you are an employer that is not yet convinced, consider the results of the EY 2021 Work Reimagined Employer survey, which culled insights from more than 16,000 employees across 16 countries. The survey found that more than half the employees would consider leaving their job post-Covid-19 pandemic if they are not given some form of flexibility in where and when they work.

“The job roles most likely to move jobs include managers/leaders, those with technology or finance roles, and caregivers. Those most likely to stay in their current roles include baby boomers, individuals with 10+ years of tenure, and those in government or education roles,” EY said in a press release.

If you are a CHRO and feeling somewhat uneasy right now, you are not alone. Human resource professionals everywhere are tasked with finding a solution for this growing issue.

Effective talent retention has come to the fore, with forward-thinking business leaders taking the time to listen, before anything else. Here’s how to get started.      

Do everything to retain the best

Where vacancies about, your best employees, those responsible for the majority of your business’ success, are being spoiled for choice. With job-hopping far more prevalent amongst millennials, employers must do more to keep them.

Survey your employees to find out how engaged they are. 

A little homework goes a long way, in this respect. Poll your employees concerning areas such as job satisfaction, engagement levels and work-life balance. The idea is not to single out or punish any individual employee, rather, this is a discovery process to help you improve the job fit and workplace environment for them.

Working from home with pets

Provide what employees want and need

Many employers think that only a higher salary is going to keep their employees happy. That is no longer true, as employees have made it clear, they value work perks such as training and career development opportunities, work-life balance and flexible working far more than an inflated paycheck and bonuses (although those are still welcomed).

The Covid-19 pandemic has made people, in general, realise what is truly important. They need to care for loved ones, invest more into their family time, value their free time, and work on personal interests and pastimes. Very few are willing to settle for less, and employers need to get on the bandwagon if they want to retain their best talent.

Empower your team

You’ll need to empower managers to make the right decisions, especially where remote and hybrid working are concerned. Invest more in professional development. Not only will upskilling improve effectiveness at work, but it will also instil a sense of agency in your top performers. Think about opportunities that would benefit everyone, rather than a selected few.      For example, data literacy is a crucial skill that benefits the entire organisation.

Provide personalised digital support services

Employee well-being is no longer a “nice to have”, it is gradually becoming a “must-have” to foster greater employee engagement and productivity. According to the Willis Towers Watson 2019/2020 Benefit Trends survey, 60% of organisations in the Asia Pacific are expanding their focus on well-being initiatives in the near future.

There are multiple research articles on the Web that show that mental, as well as physical well-being, are essential to create employee engagement. Employees with good mental health can better cope with stress, anxiety, depression and are more resilient.

One way to deploy a wellness programme in your organisation is via personalised digital support services, one that empowers your employees to take better care of their own well-being and be more conscious of their overall health, including their eating, exercise and sleep habits. The happier your employees are, the more likely they are to enjoy their work as well, which turns out to be a win-win situation for both you and your employees at the end of the day.

These are just some of the measures that you as a CHRO can take to ensure that your people are genuinely happy working with you and your organisation. While the great wave of resignation is upon us and is likely to persist, it does not mean you have to sink along with it. Do right by your people and your organisation will more than stay afloat in this competitive world.

Written by:
Sharmila Ganapathy
14 February 2022