You may have heard the whispers: that as COVID-19 recovery takes shape, business leaders in every sector are fearful of an impending Great Resignation, one that could see as many as one in four workers quit their jobs.
It’s an alarming notion, especially given the skilled talent shortage that already has many CHROs looking anxiously toward the future — and especially since all of us are still contending with the profound organizational shifts that have been sparked by the pandemic.
Throughout the marketplace, we see indicators that these concerns are well-founded. But there is no need to panic: with some foresight and targeted strategic interventions, there is a great deal that organizations can do to protect themselves from a devastating talent drain at this crucial time.
Why We Believe There’s Real Cause for Concern
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw leading indicators of a forthcoming surge in departures. Over time, we’ve seen that employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a strong indicator of long-term employee stickiness, and in the early months of the pandemic we saw deep dips in eNPS measurements across industries.
This foreshadowing has been increasingly backed up by anecdotal evidence: Our contacts in a wide variety of HR departments are reporting a spike in resignations. Several studies including the one from Tech Republic indicate turnover is predicted to range from 26% to 40% globally. The Microsoft Work Trend Index found that 40% of people want to change jobs this year. A survey of workers in the U.K. and Ireland put the number at 38% and a similar U.S. survey found 26% of workers are planning to leave their current job over the next few months. The jobs numbers also make it abundantly clear that employers are facing a serious challenge when it comes to filling open positions: In April, the most recent month for which numbers are available, the number of U.S. job openings surged to 9.3 million, an increase of over 12% from the month before.
What’s Needed to Stem the Tide?
Historically, most organizations have invested in Employer Branding primarily as part of external Talent Attraction efforts — marketing the company to potential candidates who fit a target profile.
The discrepancies between the messages candidates receive when they’re interviewing and the realities they find once they’ve been hired are what eventually drive a significant portion of employee resignations.
When a company’s employee value proposition (EVP) isn’t also a reality on the ground — experienced by (and communicated to) staffers who have already been hired — employers risk losing talent. Even worse, they risk earning a reputation for speaking to candidates and their own employees with empty words.
This is why Employer Branding campaigns should always include significant internal-facing elements meant to strengthen company culture and educate employees about all they have to be grateful for. (In fact, we often find that companies that invest solely in external Employer Branding campaigns are extremely disappointed in their ROI.) These kinds of internal communications initiatives are more vital than ever before, now that so many employees have found themselves at an inflection point.
After all, workers have had an incredibly challenging 15 months, with as many personal shifts and readjustments as businesses have seen at the organizational level. They are reassessing their needs and expectations, and reconsidering from scratch the value they place on many kinds of work-life flexibility.
Many of these workers are feeling dissatisfied with how they’ve been cared for by their companies during this challenging time. Of the U.S. workers planning to leave their jobs after the pandemic, 42% graded their current employer with a “C” or less for their ability to keep culture and employee connectedness going during the pandemic.
How You Can Boost Retention Now
The good news is that there are ways you can take action immediately to head off the losses that could come with a wave of resignations. We have found that an integrated employer brand campaign that builds pride and ambassadorship among employees not only boosts hiring efforts but also increases staff engagement by 40%.
- Refresh your EVP. For businesses and individuals, much has changed. It’s time to revisit your employee value proposition and consider what your employees want and need now — and how you can serve them.
- Re-Recruit Your Talent. This is the time for an internal employer brand marketing campaign. Get your staff excited about what they can accomplish with you and how they will be supported. (This can do more than head off resignations; it can help boost morale at a time when many are suffering from burnout.)
- Amplify Your Message. Campaigns have impact when they’re more than words. Make sure your leadership and their direct reports are aligned with your campaign through training, the sharing of key messages, and the establishment of KPIs that create organization-wide impact.
- Boost Your Internal Recruitment. Make sure you’re approaching internal recruitment for openings with as much enthusiasm as external recruitment. Employees stay at companies when they feel surrounded by opportunities for growth and transformation. By advertising internally for positions and sharing employee stories of growth, you can boost both your applicant pool and employee satisfaction.
Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands and high-performance cultures.
From C-Suite to Employer Brand and Talent Acquisition leadership, we partner with our clients to transform their organizations and design the most compelling workplaces of the future.
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