Employee Retention During The Great Resignation

The pandemic’s impact on employee retention

What’s one of the most urgent concerns on the minds of business leaders across the country right now? It’s no shock that employee retention tops the list. But how is it related to the post-COVID mass exodus phenomenon called “The Great Resignation?”

A term created by Texas A&M University Associate Professor of Management Dr. Anthony Klotz, “The Great Resignation” is a topic weighing heavily on the minds of employers these days. It refers to the onslaught of pandemic-induced shifts and changes over the past year, and it’s been difficult for everyone, employers and employees alike. But the need for organizational leaders to design more compelling employee retention strategies is urgent, especially if they want to keep their most valuable asset: their employees.

Employee retention has always been within HR’s close purview. But following the aftershock of the global pandemic, it now demands significantly more attention. In today’s uniquely complex work environment, many factors have contributed to an employee-first dynamic, and employers no longer hold all the power.

So whether you’ve heard it referred to as the Great Resignation of 2021, the Great Covid Job Churn or the Turnover Tsunami, it all revolves around one thing: retaining your talent. It’s why employers can no longer turn a blind eye to the bottom-line detriment of losing their top-performing employees.

How are the Great Resignation & employee retention related?

According to a recent survey conducted by global employment site Monster.com, a mind-boggling 95% of employees want to jump ship to find something better following COVID-19. In addition, the survey uncovered the main reasons employees are leaving their current jobs in droves:

  • Lack of flexibility – After 16 months of working from home, employees want more freedom to remain working from home at least a couple times a week, versus commuting to the office, Monday through Friday. Associate Professor Klotz contends that “…humans have a fundamental need for autonomy and freedom that remote work provides. [Remote work] can be very appealing, and the flexibility is a boon to caregivers and working parents.”
  • Quality of life & wellbeing – The majority of employees who enjoyed an improved quality of life during remote work aren’t willing to return to the monotony of a desk job.
  • Fatigue & burnout – Other workers are just plain burned out. They’re working too many hours, balancing child care and/or distance learning … or both. 
  • Poor management – For some, the decision to leave an organization was the direct result of employers treating them poorly at the onset and throughout the pandemic.

Whether it’s pursuing a dream job, learning a new skill or becoming a stay-at-home parent, nearly all employees are ready to see what else is out there.

Some employees are choosing to step away from the workplace for good, rather than going back to the office after over a year of remote working. Moreover, CNBS.com recently reported a genuinely staggering fact from the U.S. Labor Department: “4 million people quit their jobs in April [2021] alone.”

Riding The Great Resignation wave

As employers react to heightened employee demands, expectations and sensitivities like never before, it’s evident workers now have a stronger say in the matter. To navigate these troubling waters, the answer is clear: employers must increase their focus on employee satisfaction and well-being if they want to positively impact employee retention.

It’s time to get onboard (pun intended) or face the consequences. If employers don’t recognize the trend and act now before it’s too late, they’ll watch their talent walk right out the door. In this critical time, the companies that retain top talent are the ones that will come out ahead … and succeed in the long term.

2021: the year of employee experience

Time’s up! Employers can no longer ignore the reality that their employees need more, plain and simple. Because of this evident fact, employee experience has never been more critical or top of mind. And as well it should be; it’s long overdue. In fact, Software Advice Senior Content Analyst, Sierra Rogers, reports that 64% of HR leaders are making employee experience a higher priority for their organization.

For employers to sustain the momentum of the post-onboarding process throughout an employees’ tenure, people leaders need to take a fundamental approach to reversing the negative impact of retention, as well as how to combat it successfully in the future.

The changed priorities of this new era put employee experience at the forefront, prioritizing the health, wellbeing, satisfaction and work-life balance of workers. It must be fused into an organization’s infrastructure authentically by the people, processes and technology. Most may think it’s the sole responsibility of Human Resources to ensure new hires turn into long-term employees. But that stance is dangerously too short-sighted, especially during “The Great Resignation.” Employee retention is everyone’s responsibility.

A new era of onboarding

The good news? The “old days” of onboarding – an arduous, time-consuming paper process fraught with inefficient workflows, potential compliance risk and other antiquated methods – are over. Gone for good, if we really want to get down to brass tacks.

For the betterment of employee onboarding, we must lean into the digital transformation at hand. When the onboarding process is automated at scale, HR and leaders alike will be empowered (and excited!) to deliver meaningful, consistent experiences that truly set the stage to focus on your people and not the process itself.

The changing dynamics of today’s world of work include:

  • A remote and digital reality The immediate need to provide a fully digital, seamless end-to-end experience.​
  • A new model of distance – The introduction of procedures and protocols, while maintaining efficiency from afar.
  • A threat to employee wellness – Increased instances of loneliness, isolation and issues with mental health.
  • A need for real engagements – The desire for clear, consistent and candid communications at a human level.
  • A new age of expectations – The demand from employees for more meaningful experiences and progressive change.

How is retention tied to onboarding?

Statistics show time and time again that a powerful onboarding process translates into employee retention down the road.

Based on research conducted by Glassdoor, companies equipped with a strong onboarding process can improve new hire retention by up to 82%. Additionally, employers could see a productivity improvement that exceeds 70% with a solid onboarding program. When organizations take the necessary time – along with a concerted effort – they’ll reap the financial rewards of retaining their newly hired employees.

After over a year of masking up, social distancing and being confined to our homes, we’ve had ample time to think about what we really want when it comes to work, our careers and our life.

Retaining your new hires

Our own in-house subject matter expert on employee experience, Danielle Balow, Associate Director of Click’s Consulting Practice, strongly confirms the need for change. “As our teams at Click continue to invest in education on HR trends and internal employee development, the message on retention is clear. Employee loyalty is becoming a relic of the past; it’s finally become a two-way street for employers and employees.”

Balow says most employees won’t stay with their employer because it’s the right thing to do. “What we’re finding is that employers need to invest in their talent and showcase the things that make their organization unique and appealing for employees.”

Safeguarding your most valuable asset
“The Great Resignation” has everything to do with getting employee onboarding and ongoing employee retention right. To retain your greatest asset – your people – it’s time for a scalable, mobile-first solution. That’s where Click’s end-to-end employee experience platform comes in.

Discover how our seamless, automated onboarding and ongoing employee experiences will elevate the employee journey to meet new hire engagement expectations. Connect with our team to learn more!

Growth & Retention