Whether you’re an employer who has been on LinkedIn in the past year or are simply keeping your ear to the ground in your company, you’re probably aware that people are leaving their jobs in droves. This trend is called the “Great Resignation” and has gained traction because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
By the numbers, the Great Resignation has been a mass migration of workers to be reckoned with. One survey showed that 41% of workers were considering changing professions or quitting this year. Another showed that some 55% of the workforce said they’re likely to look for a new job within the next 12 months.
With over 100 million people driving for work-related activities, know that driver retention has been and will continue to be impacted by the Great Resignation. Drivers keep companies moving and losing out on trustworthy personnel behind the wheel is nothing to shake your head at.
No matter the role of the worker, those quitting may have more in common than you think, including what’s bringing them to quit. While there are many more, here are three reasons workers are joining the 11.5 million workers who have quit their jobs so far.
Three reasons people are quitting
Employee burnout has been high over the past few years, but the pandemic has exacerbated such feelings, with 61% of those surveyed stating that they are experiencing some level of burnout. While the root cause of burnout is not always clear and varies person-to-person, the past year has shown that an overwhelming number of employees are experiencing it.
Burnout is contagious. A recent study conducted asked employees whether their managers seemed burned out. Of those with a burned-out manager, 73% said “many” of their team members also seemed burned out. Such attitudes have the power to seep into the foundation of your organization and reduce retention even further.
Employees are making decisions to leave based on employer treatment (or lack thereof) during the pandemic. The numbers show that workers chose to stay at companies where they felt supported and ran from those where they didn’t.
The pandemic may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for those who were on the edge of quitting due to poor treatment to begin with. A Stanford study showed that many companies who were already deemed “bad environments” doubled down on decisions that didn’t support workers.
Employment opportunities have increased
Drive through the center of the city you live in, and you’re guaranteed to see many “help wanted” signs posted in windows. Even though one-third of companies are currently offering sign-on bonuses and another third have paid referral programs, it’s clear money isn’t working.
To workers in the current environment, money seems to matter, but only to a certain degree. Perks, too, but once again – only to a certain degree. What matters is how employees are treated, and now workers are choosing to avoid those jobs with poor reputations.
While the Great Resignation is happening across all sectors, certain industries are faring worse than others. Which are they?
4 industries impacted most by the Great Resignation
Manufacturing has seen a surge in resignations since the beginning of the pandemic and it’s due in part to the economy opening back up. Since manufacturing is a salary-sensitive industry, movement in labor is a given. Companies know this and are raising their pay to attract labor, which has created a competitive market for talent where the worker holds the power.
Hospitality workers were on the front lines of the pandemic but were not receiving benefits or raised pay, causing perspective to shift. Several roles were either displaced or made redundant due to the pandemic and employees moved to new occupations during shutdowns.
When at these new roles, they found transferable job skills. It’s worthwhile noting that this sector also has one of the largest employment recovery opportunities due to many workers moving to employment that wasn’t ideal who are looking to regain their old hospitality jobs.
Caused more by burnout than anything else, the migration of moving from working in the office to fully remote created high stress and uncertainty for technology-industry employees. With many companies not yet clear on their work from home policy and others choosing hybrid models, these workers feel more empowered than ever to find companies that are fitting their lifestyles.
According to one nurse recruiting agency, the turnover rate for staff nurses increased by 2.8% in 2020 to hit almost 19%. Hospitals are seeing vacancies like no other, with a near 10% vacancy rate. The same is true for physicians, with 54% surveyed stating that the pandemic caused them to change their employment plans. Of those, half plan to leave their current employer and 36% are planning to retire early or leave medicine entirely.
Should companies be concerned?
If you’re reading this and saying to yourself, “my company isn’t any one of those listed industries, I have nothing to worry about,” you may want to reevaluate. Consider this – is running the risk of losing your company’s most valuable resource – your employees – worth it? We think not. Here’s why.
The true cost of hiring – money, time and morale
Think of the costs related to replacing lost employees. For some industries, like transportation, the struggles and cost associated with truck driver retention are not unfamiliar. But all companies need to know that it’s more expensive to lose and replace an employee than to put in the extra effort to keep them.
How much more expensive? Well, it’s reported that on average, it costs a company six to nine months of an employee’s salary to replace him or her. Take for example an employee making $60,000 a year. That comes out to anywhere from $30,000-$45,000 in recruiting and training costs alone.
Think of the time expense as well. It takes six to nine months to fully onboard someone to be fully effective. To do so, resources must be allocated as appropriately – often including time from those in human resources, managers and individual contributors within the organization.
Employee turnover lowers morale, adding yet another hidden expense to take into consideration. Over 70% of employees say that having a friend at work is the most crucial element in maintaining a happy work life. To top it off, 50% of employees with a best friend at work said they felt a stronger connection to their organization. If one employee chooses to leave, your remaining employees could be impacted more than you realize.
So, how can you combat the Great Resignation at your company?
Five employee retention tips to beat the Great Resignation
Talk with your employees
Employers need to talk to their employees to proactively limit the amount of turnover. Studies show that, if three close employees leave, there’s a high chance that anyone in their circle leaves as well.
Speaking to employees before they’re out the door ensures that you can find ways to gauge employee happiness and address burnout. This in turn makes retention efforts easier – after all, the cost of a staff turnover can add up very quickly as seen above.
Understand the different hats your employees wear
Employees often wear many different hats in their role. One good example is driving. Whether that as a function of their job, as their primary responsibility or even just for the life-saving Wednesday morning coffee run, many of your employees are drivers.
Drivers serve a critical function at companies, acting at times as the first face a customer meets, a brand ambassador or even a touchpoint. Often, these employees are faced with stressful situations behind the wheel – it could be hitting black ice on the road, not having enough room to unload goods from the back of a vehicle or navigating a parking lot.
Showing an understanding for these out-of-job-description efforts only makes your employees feel more appreciated.
Ensure there’s a clear standard from the beginning
Creating a clear onboarding program for your employees provides you with the ability to ensure expectations are level-set from the start. After all, nothing leaves employees feeling unsteady like unclear expectations.
Instead, set up uniform trainings and educational sessions all employees go through. Know that employee confusion will be reduced while at the same time fostering an upfront sense of enablement and shared knowledge.
Create a positive company culture
A report from February 2021 showed that two-thirds of employees planned to leave their jobs because of poor or negative company culture. Culture plays a large role in the satisfaction employees feel, and they know when a company does just more than talk the talk.
Identify the top elements that make up your company culture. Take safety, for example. Many companies strive to impart a culture of safety. Ways to do so include communicating transparently, recognizing safety accomplishments and emphasizing safety amongst employees. Once done, these efforts have the potential to pay off exponentially.
Ensure workplace conditions are ideal
If you do have employees back in the office, on-site or traveling as part of or as the primary function of their job, it’s integral to ensure workplace conditions are ideal. It’s hard to argue that workers will be happier with their jobs if their workplaces foster positivity.
If employees are in a warehouse, ensure all OSHA standards are met and employees are appropriately trained. If an employee is in an office, respect Centers for Disease Control guidelines relating to the pandemic. If you have a fleet of commercial licensed drivers, enhance the post-hire experience.
How can you avoid your employees falling into the Great Resignation?
Don’t give employees a reason to quit and start today in evaluating how you can better retain your employees. The Great Resignation is a great steppingstone for employers to bring about meaningful, long-term change in the workplace while investing in employees.
Knowing many of your employees are drivers, one of the best ways to get started is by understanding the stressors they’re facing day-to-day. Download our infographic to learn more.