The Great Resignation (aka the Big Quit) defined 2021 and 2022, causing employee churn on an unprecedented scale. In 2023, are we out of the woods?
With persistent headwinds and mass layoffs hitting the headlines, you’d be forgiven for making the assumption that people are planning to hold onto their jobs in 2023. But with unemployment remaining low in the EU and US, and a talent shortage in the rebound of the post-pandemic economy, skilled workers still have the upper hand in the current market.
All this might help explain why, in the US, more than half of workers (61%) are considering handing in their resignation in 2023. While fearful of layoffs, 95% of respondents were confident about their career prospects. Preventing employee churn, especially in light of talent shortages, is as critical as it was at the height of the great resignation.
There are many different factors causing employee churn and not all apply to each company. Companies that want to retain talent will have to be proactive to find out what’s causing dissatisfaction amongst their workforce, and take immediate steps to keep valuable employees.
Read on to find out how you can gauge employee satisfaction and identify issues quickly and accurately.
What Is the Great Resignation?
The Great Resignation describes an economic trend in which millions of workers voluntarily quit their jobs. The trend began in early 2021, a time characterised by wage stagnation, rising living costs and safety concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic.
Typically, workers choose to jump ship when they feel they can be better compensated elsewhere. But the Great Resignation defies other periods of high resignation rates as it occurs at a time of economic instability and labour shortages.
Causes of the Great Resignation
There are many hypothesised causes of the Great Resignation. Not all apply in every situation so it’s important for companies to conduct their own research into employee satisfaction – we’ll discuss how later. Here are some of the ongoing issues cited as reasons for voluntary resignation.
A Gallup poll found that, globally, 7 in 10 people report that they are struggling or suffering.
While many news articles and politicians attribute the rise of mental health problems (such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders) to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gallup’s global Negative Experience Index indicates that emotions such as sadness, anger and stress have been steadily on the rise since 2014.
In an attempt to address employee stress, some companies are offering mindfulness courses and other wellbeing treatments. But these solutions are akin to using a band aid to fix a broken bone. Without first identifying the source of stress and unhappiness, how can you meaningfullly address the problem?
Workers may be stressed and anxious for any number of workplace issues such as lack of support from management, workplace bullying, feeling overworked, undervalued, stagnated, etc.
Companies must first identify the issues within your company that are affecting stress and unhappiness and make concerted efforts to address each one.
Obligatory return to the office
Remote working was a necessity for many businesses during the pandemic. While some employees missed the social connection that comes from face-to-face interaction in the office, others welcomed not having to commute to work, freeing up money and time for a better work-life balance.
As restrictions lifted, employers were keen to get their workers back in the office despite workers’ increased productivity when working from home.
But some of those that embraced remote working resisted returning to the office, leading them to quit their jobs. Meanwhile, a survey conducted by insurance company Breeze found that 65% of employees would be willing to take a 5% pay cut to be able to continue working from home.
While there is little consensus over whether remote working should continue, employers should consider the preferences of their workers before obligating a hard shift to in-office work.
In a recovering economy, companies are more at liberty to offer raises and wage hikes. But is it enough? Between cost of living, inflation and years of wage stagnation, workers are still left feeling undervalued, and struggling to make ends meet.
Failing to fairly compensate your workers could cost you more in the long run, since the cost of employee turnover can be double the worker’s annual salary.
Employers need to make smart choices when it comes to offering raises or new opportunities for their valued employees.
Will it end soon?
The ball is very much in employers’ court as to how long this trend lasts. Some commentators, including the professor who coined the term “The Great Resignation” believe that this trend will plateaux in 2023, in large part owing to employers’ response to the phenomena.
According to HR Digest, companies that took the great resignation seriously in 2022 and invested in employee development increased employee retention by 58% and increased productivity by 24%, evading the overall trend completely.
Employers can’t afford to remain complacent and inactive in the hopes that this phenomenon will blow over in a changing economy.
What can you do?
Discover why your employees are leaving
Don’t wait for exit surveys to discover what’s causing job dissatisfaction. It’s time for HR teams and managers to proactively find out the issues impacting their employees. The great news is that there are technologies out there that can help you objectively determine employee sentiment and the specific topics that are most affecting them.
Symanto AI technologies help you to read between the lines of written communication such as in email communications, chat transcripts, employee reviews (in, for example, GlassDoor) and survey responses.
Using innovative natural language processing (NLP) technology, Symanto’s APIs can pick up on emotions and sentiment in written text and assign them to relevant topics so that you can get an objective assessment of employee satisfaction.
Symanto technologies enable you to make the most of open-ended questions and qualitative data so that you can have more open and frank communication, allowing employees to direct the conversation and reveal honest opinions without being directly asked.
Keep valued employees satisfied in their roles
Symanto’s unique psychology AI goes a step further. From written text you can discover the key personality traits of each of your employees to find out what motivates them.
Personalities and occupational behaviour intersect in interesting ways. For example, people who think in facts (as opposed to possibilities) are better suited to jobs relating to practical analysis such as applied science, finance, and law.
Following the Myers-Briggs personality model, Judgement (J) types could prefer working on individual projects owing to their need for order and organisation, while Perception (P) types could prefer working on multiple spontaneous projects.
Extraverts tend to stay the longest in highly stimulating work environments, while introverts prefer working in peace and in their own heads.
Understanding your employees on this deeper level can help HR teams and managers anticipate what’s causing job dissatisfaction and look for solutions to keep employees engaged and happy.
Get Started With Symanto
Find out how Symanto can prevent your business from the impacts of the Great Resignation in 2023. We’ll connect you to the technologies that best suit your business’ needs. Get in touch with us for more information today.