Americans are quitting their jobs in droves. According to Generocity, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that four million employees resigned in April, followed by another 3.6 million who resigned in May. Entrepreneur cited a study by Professor Anthony Klotz from Texas A&M University stating that the current resignation rate was a record-breaker since 2000 when it was first measured by the BLS. This means many employers are now posting job ads and need recruitment marketing software. Many, however, are reporting difficulties in finding applicants as job seekers have more options to choose from.
Reasons for Employee Resignations
The resignations were not impulsive decisions. Several studies show that employees have long been dissatisfied and planning to quit. They were biding their time during the height of the crisis and waiting for the right opportunity. This explains why they are not grabbing the first available job. They are now more discriminating, and they know what they want from a job.
The Microsoft Work Trend Index done in January 2021 shows that 41 percent of employees across 31 countries were considering quitting their job. SHRM cites the February 2021 Engagement and Retention Report by the Achievers Workforce Institute, which surveyed 2,000 employees working in Canada and the U.S. Among them, 52 percent planned to quit, of which 36 percent cited the need for a higher salary and better benefits. A fourth wanted to improve their work-life balance, 16 percent wanted more appreciation for their output, eight percent sought improvement in the corporate culture, five percent sought alignment with their values, and five percent wanted stronger work relationships.
According to TechRepublic, a March online poll on Blind among 3,050 users showed that 35 percent would rather quit if their employer ended the work from home arrangement. Eleven percent had already arranged with their companies to work from home permanently.
It looks like the resignations of April and May are not the end of it, either. BusinessInsider reports on the Monster survey of June 14 showing that 95 percent of U.S. employees were considering quitting, as well, with burnout as the top reason. A large majority, or 92 percent, were willing to shift to a different industry. Two in three believed that they had access to other job opportunities.
Measures Employers Must Implement
Forbes cites the opinion of Onyx Therapy Group CEO and mental health specialist Dr. LaNail R. Plummer on how companies must heed their employees’ need for full-time remote work or hybrid options. He states that quitting is a way for employees to prioritize their needs and health, both physical and mental. When companies force employees to work in the office again, it shows that the company does not value what is best for its employees.
Forbes also emphasizes the need for companies to ensure work boundaries when employees are working from home. They must not expect their employees to work more than their usual hours even if they work on a flexible schedule. Doing so will lead to employee burnout and resignation.
Forbes questions why the U.S. does not mandate paid vacation leaves which other developed countries require. It urges employers to give their employees time off to rest and recharge, noting research stating that this will increase productivity.
SHRM shares insights from the CEO and president of management consultancy Eagle Hill Consulting, Melissa Jezior. She noted that, unlike previous decades, today’s employees do not stay with one company throughout their career, so companies must aim to extend their tenure and make them feel great about it so that they will recommend the company to others.
She adds that companies must take special care of top performers and conduct regular discussions to see if they are satisfied or have any problems. This is important to prevent them from thinking of quitting and starting to look for other jobs. By catching employees’ concerns early, the company can find solutions to retain them.
Jezior adds that mentoring, training, and promotions are additional retention measures. Dividing positions into levels, such as having an assistant position below it and a senior position above it, gives employees room to grow and a feeling of achievement with each advance.
Find the Right Fit
Both employers and employees need to find a complementary fit. The pandemic has made employees realize that life is finite, and they need to spend their time wisely, including their time at work. They now seek the kind of work aligned with their values, their need to spend quality time for themselves and their family, their need for growth at work, and fair compensation and benefits.
For employers to find and retain the right talent, you must rebuild your business models around your greatest assets – your employees. Giving good salaries and benefits, offering options to work from home permanently or do hybrid work, encouraging diversity, fostering inclusiveness, and conducting regular training that concretely prepares people for promotions must make up your fundamental principles. These will build employee loyalty and will ensure retention.