How HR leaders can survive the big quit

The Great Resignation, the Big Quit – however you’re referring to it, there’s no denying that it’s an ongoing challenge for many organizations. With many employees voluntarily leaving their roles, businesses across the world are seeing a drastic increase in company turnover. So, what can employers do to make sure the employee experience they provide makes their workforce want to stay?

Understanding the great resignation

The great disruption has been proceeded by the great resignation. In 2021 the exodus began and in 2022 the trend continues to dominate. Figures suggest anywhere from 4.5m-10m employees quit their jobs and moved to pastures new last year, and more recent research is suggesting that high employee turnover will persist throughout he next 12 months.

It's a trend that's impacting every industry, every role type, and every continent. No matter what your business is, the big quit is affecting you. And the impact of high turnover comes at a high cost - upwards of $40k per departed employee according to Oxford Economics.  

So why are so many employees leaving their jobs? It's the question HR leaders are scrambling to answer. But the answer is not one-size-fits-all. 

Culture as the big quit antidote

Some suggest that employee burnout is a leading cause behind mass resignation; there is little doubt that stress levels have peaked over the last few years. Others cite inflexible working practices for companies that have failed to embrace hybrid working practices or adopted policies that don't align with employees' desire for optimal flexibility. It's also true that the prospect of higher salaries is tempting some employees to look elsewhere.

But above all else, the fundamental reason employees jump ship is simply because they are not engaged. When an employee feels valued by their employer, connected to their colleagues, and aligned with their business' mission and purpose they are more impervious to short term hardships and temptations. An engaged employee that feels an emotional connection to their employer is much less likely to look elsewhere. 

As such, creating and communicating a compelling company culture has never been so important. When it comes to retaining top talent and attracting new rising stars, employee experience is everything. 


What it takes to deliver a meaningful employee experience in 2021

Employee experience is no longer just a buzzword, it’s priority for business leaders. However, creating the right strategy continues to prove challenging. Here at Unily, our digital workplace experts have helped leading enterprises bring their EX-visions to life, and now they’re sharing their secrets in our new podcast.  

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Create a strategy for retaining talent

Employee experience in 2022 needs to be agile, exciting, and inventive. Having the tools and infrastructure in place to improve the work/life balance has proved to be a great starting point, but it’s not enough. Beyond flexibility, today’s employees want with the ability to learn, develop, and progress within their roles. They want to work for employers that share their values and offer a culture that inspires loyalty.

To get ahead of the great resignation, HR teams should be thinking about how to best promote an inclusive culture of belonging that gives employees equal amounts of purpose and opportunity. All of this in a changed workplace where old office-based strategies no longer work. So, how can they do it?

#1. Nurture employee growth with a focus on learning and development

One of the best ways HR can retain top talent is to ensure the organization offers the best opportunities for each employee to continue to learn, develop, and grow their skillset. According to research by Lorman, 74% of employees feel they aren’t reaching their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities.

Allowing employees to stagnate and become unhappy with the lack of skill progression will mean they look to moving to other companies to further their careers. Instead, HR should be making sure the organization offers a comprehensive learning and development (L&D) initiative to promote continual progression – research by LinkedIn showed that 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if there is investment in their learning and development.

In today's hybrid workplace, putting L&D back on the map requires a fresh approach. Today's employees have different expectations when it comes to how they want to engage with learning and flexibility is key to getting it right. If your L&D strategy relies on in-person workshops and lunchtime learning sessions, it's time for a rethink. Today's employees want to be able to access training at a time and place that suits them. 

To evolve learning and development opportunities for the flexible era of work, HR leaders are finding ways to promote training opportunities digitally. We're seeing enterprises transform their employee experience platforms into L&D hubs, leveraging features like quizzes, videos and integrations with third-party platforms to unify resources in a central and universally accessible space. By enabling this kind of self-service training, employees can develop their skills at a pace that suits them and refer to resources as and when they are needed. 

#2. Promote internal mobility

In response to the battle for talent, internal mobility is also on the rise with data from LinkedIn showing that promoting from within has risen by 20% since 2020. It only makes sense that organizations want their skilled and talented employees to stay with the company and giving the option for them to grow and improve internally is becoming important.

Increased engagement, lower costs, and a shorter hiring process are a few of the perks that are leading this shift – but greater retention is likely the biggest according to Mark Lobosco at LinkedIn, as employees at companies with high internal mobility stay 41% longer than at companies that don’t.

HR leaders should not just be thinking about how they can promote new job opportunities internally, but how they can promote the narrative of internal mobility and career growth to embed it in the culture of the company. Working with internal communications departments to share stories about employees who have risen up the ranks humanizes the concept of internal mobility.

Love's Travel Stops, has embraced this tact to great success. Using their employee experience platform as the vehicle for promotion, the American travel stop enterprise created Love's Ladder, a page dedicated to sharing the stories of employees that have progressed from junior retail positions to more senior and corporate roles. The stories serve to inspire other employees and reinforce the growth opportunities available at the enterprise, helping to drive retention and reinforce a culture of recognition.

'Love’s: Leveraging digital technology to foster an inclusive culture' case study flat pages

Case Study

Love’s: Leveraging digital technology to foster an inclusive culture

With more than 30k employees across the United States, The Love’s Family of Companies needed a way to connect team members on the road, at their desks, and working on the shop floors. By debuting a new, mobile-optimized employee experience platform, the enterprise created a digital headquarters that has proven engaging and accessible for all.

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#3. Give recognition where it’s due

Underappreciated and undervalued employees will always be less engaged than those that feel like they are recognized for the hard work they put in. Deloitte’s research found that employee recognition is highly correlated with improving employee engagement and job performance. But in a workplace where facetime is at a premium, the ability to pass on thanks suffers. To combat this, HR leaders need to rethink reward and recognition strategies in line with digital ways of working. Many digital recognition tools exist - but how do you drive adoption and embed recognition into the employee experience?

Rewards and Recognition Software

Celebrate your people and encourage them to do the same with peer-to-peer recognition features that let no good deed go unnoticed and spark friendly competition.

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Unily customers use native recognition features that embed a culture of appreciation into daily work. With the employee experience platform already being the accepted place where employees go to access tools and knowledge and learn about what's happening around the company, it becomes the natural place for employees to go to recognize each other's success. Kudos allows employees to pass on thanks to their colleagues and kudos leaderboards add an element of competition. Badges offer a means for more significant achievements to be recognized, while social feeds and stories provide a place for the celebration of employee achievements. 

Recognition shouldn't just be top-down, although encouraging leaders to publicly recognize employee efforts is important; it is equally as important to ensure peer-to-peer recognition is facilitated. A digital-first approach can help make this part of the fabric of work once again.

Badges on a profile page on mobile

#4. Create a culture of belonging

Research from Built In found that almost 40% of employees want to leave their jobs because they don’t like the culture. Now that the hybrid workplace is here to stay, the emphasis on having an inclusive company culture that encourages a sense of belonging has grown with it.

Think about the gaps in culture that have formed as a result of the rise of remote working. The answer to filling these isn’t forcing everyone back into the office but finding new ways of creating a reimagined culture that doesn’t rely on physical closeness.

Social networking tools, digital recognition, central platforms for knowledge sharing, collaboration and communication: HR teams need to be invested in the quality of digital tools and working with IT and internal comms teams to execute a strategy that nurtures digital culture. The rise of employee experience technology over the last few years isn't a coincidence, it’s a necessity for preserving healthy culture in a workplace where connection is screen-deep. 


Creating a culture of belonging in the hybrid workplace

The future of work is hybrid – but what does this mean when it comes to workplace culture? We’ve partnered with strategy consulting firm Gagen MacDonald to bring you actionable ways to build a culture of belonging in a hybrid world. How can you use a powerful tool – technology – to bridge culture gaps and establish a culture of inclusivity?

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#5. Recognize the value of employee voice

Companies that have built a culture of trust report employees with 40% less burnout and 76% more engagement levels, according to Harvard Business Review. To truly build an authentic and trusting culture, HR must first recognise the importance of listening to their employees and giving them the opportunities to voice their opinions.

The best way to cultivate a sense of trust is to show employees that their voice is valued. The CIPD suggests that, “for employees, self-expression in voice often results in feeling valued, increased job satisfaction, greater influence and better opportunities for development.

Hybrid working practices mean HR needs to be more concerted in their efforts to enable employee voice. Getting a pulse of the employee mood is harder when office interactions are limited. So how can employers ensure there are ample opportunities for all employees to be heard? 

Now is the time to review where, when and how employees have opportunities to feedback on their experiences and exercise their voice. Social networking tools, feedback forms, regular polls, surveys, Q&A forums; these should all be part of the working experience. If you're going to survive the big quit, now is the time to act to understand what your employees need in their own words.

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Level up culture with an employee experience platform

In today's world, creating a compelling employee experience that keeps employees engaged and aligned means adopting high-quality digital tools that meet the needs of the modern workforce. To find out how Unily's #1 employee experience platform is transforming culture for 3.5m+ employees around the globe, get started with free demo today.

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