Updated: 33 minutes ago Posted: 1 hour ago
After 21 months of whiplash by the pandemic, more and more employees have gone on strike. Twenty million American employees leave their employment between April and August 2021. Then, 4.3 million employees resign in August 2021, a figure 40% higher than in August 2020, and 20% higher than in August 2019, before the pandemic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which began reporting resignations in 2001, that 40% figure sets a record high.
Polls suggest this tsunami of employee resignations will only increase. In March 2021, Gallup reported that 48% of U.S. employees surveyed were either looking for jobs or looking for new opportunities. In August, consulting firm PwC’s survey of 1,007 full-time and part-time U.S. employees reported 65% were looking for a new job.
The question for employers: what to do about it. Employers who understand this can retain their talents and better attract exceptional employees.
Is increasing wages the best answer?
Many employers find it difficult to fill jobs. In today’s job market, where jobs are plentiful, employees have the edge. Many employers, struggling to attract talent, have raised wages and are offering “thank you” bonuses to employees who choose to stay.
According to management consulting firm McKinsey and Company, these quick fixes fall flat. They reduce the working relationship to a transactional one, forgetting that employees are human and emotional. In addition, there is often another employer capable of offering higher wages.
In my last book, Responsibility management, I prove that employers who take care of their employees reap the rewards. Yes, employees want higher pay and better benefits, but they also want to feel valued. Employees are not faithful to employers who are not loyal to them. Employees report that employers have not received this message. According to recent McKinsey surveys, 54% of employees declared they did not feel valued by their employers.
What tells employees that they are valued? Three intangible advantages are in the foreground: flexibility so that they can take care of themselves; to be listened to and to feel connected with colleagues and managers. According to a Harris poll commissioned by Catalyst and CNBC, 76% of employees want to their place of work to make the work flexible at all times. McKinsey’s survey reveals that 52% of employees who quit don’t feel valued by their managers. McKinsey research also shows that 51% of employees who quit said they did not feel a sense of belonging at work.
[How companies can keep the best parts of work-from-home culture — and avoid the pitfalls]
Quality managers thus play an inordinate role in retaining employee loyalty. According to Gallup, it took a pay raise of at least 20% to hire employees from a manager who hired them. According to a study released Oct. 13 by Catalyst, a nonprofit focused on issues of working women, 57% of white women and 62% of women of color who felt valued by their employer and that their manager respected their personal situation rarely thought of leaving.
Finally, we all listen to the same radio: WIFM or what’s in it for me? As an employer, can you offer your employees training, professional development and career paths? Can you recognize each stage of your employee’s development and added value? For example, Waffle House appoints junior staff as grill operators, more experienced cooks as “master” grill operators and its top operators as “rock star grill operators”.
What does the tsunami of employee resignations mean to you as an employer? Know that even your most satisfied employees can feel empowered by the increasing options available to them and reassess their job choices. Decide how to keep your valuable employees so you don’t have to look for new ones. Ask them what matters to them.