As we emerge from the pandemic and face ‘the new normal’, many employees are resisting returning to the office, saying they would rather quit, and many employers are struggling to find top talent. This is not what experts would have predicted during a time when prices are increasing due to inflation and many jobs are available to help pay for these increasing costs. But the statistics tell us that voluntary turnover has hit a 7-year high. In fact, it is expected that more than half of employees in North America will soon look for a new job. Turnover has increased in all industries, for all types of positions, and at every level of organization.
Experts have labeled it ‘turnover tsunami’ and ‘The Great Resignation’, both terms implying doomsday-like consequences associated with these current turnover rates. Certainly, if a company lost a top performer, this could indefinitely affect productivity and the company’s future. But when any employee leaves it is costly – estimated at $16,500 replacement cost for an employee earning $50,000/year. These costs arise from taking time to deal with the departure, having to recruit, interview, hire, onboard, and train someone new. Meanwhile, the company has lost valuable expertise and knowledge, there is a loss in productivity, and customer satisfaction has likely suffered. The employees who are left behind feel less loyalty and lowered morale, and they suffer more burnout with a new, increased workload. Finally, it destroys employer branding when the word gets out that turnover at Company X is high.
What is the reason for the current increase in turnover rates? Cynics thought it had to do with government benefits that were offered during the pandemic, but the labour force was unaffected when those ran out. Other practical reasons have been proposed for the flood of turnover we’re now seeing, such as: wanting better work-life balance and flexibility, health and/or family reasons, no career development, wanting better wages and benefits, seeking better working conditions that includes a lighter workload, feeling disconnected with the company and its culture, poor leadership with lack of communication and direction, and lack of recognition.
Others have looked deeper than this and thought, why now? Why after living at home with family for 2 years during a pandemic, are so many quitting? And another label is born: The ‘pandemic epiphany’, or the change in our attitudes toward work and how we value our time. Perhaps working from home created a new distribution of work-life balance that woke us to the realization that there is more to life than work, that we are not defined by our work, and that our family and health are the most important thing. With this awakening, anyone with a bit of savings opted to leave a mediocre job, and the tight labour market only made it easier.
Is there anything that employers can do to increase employee retention and decrease turnover? Yes! Estimates indicate that up to 75% of the reasons for an employee leaving were preventable. Here are 6 tips for employers to deal with increased turnover:
We realize that increased turnover is a concern for all leaders. Know that we’re here to work with you and create solutions that work best for you and your organization. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.