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How to Retain New Employees: The Other Side of the Great Resignation

Turnover isn’t a new concern for employers, but a Great Resignation, that’s a major threat to businesses of all sizes and industries.

The COVID-19 pandemic set off an avalanche of issues coming to light in the U.S. workforce. One of the most notable has been the nearly unprecedented churn in our labor market, and we now find ourselves in a Great Resignation.

Hopefully, by now employers are waking up to the myriad of reasons their employees are leaving, but many are still unaware of the reasons their employees are choosing to leave. Here are some of the top reasons why U.S. workers left a job in 2021 according to Pew Research:

  • Low pay (63%)
  • No opportunities for advancement (63%)
  • Feeling disrespected at work (57%)
  • Child care issues (48%)
  • Not enough flexibility to choose working hours (45%)
  • Unsatisfactory benefits and paid time off (43%)
  • Wanting to relocate to a different area (35%)
  • Working too many hours (39%)
  • Employers requiring a COVID-19 vaccine (18%)
Although this may feel overwhelming to employers, there is good news—talent retention and the reasons for which people left were caused by something the employer had control over.

Employers have a choice—either own their responsibility to create a workplace that retains top talent and change the things within their control, or maintain the status quo and become accustomed to volatile turnover rates.

WELCOA continuously and actively works toward helping companies build the type of workplaces where employees feel motivated and engaged to contribute, thus reducing turnover rates. It all starts with evaluating and reflecting on the current state of your organization and employees and changing the things within your control that you know can make a big impact.

Here are seven things companies and organizations can start working toward to retain top talent and begin creating a culture their employees can thrive in.
  1. Committed and Aligned Leadership – Ensure that leaders throughout your organization are deeply committed to the well-being and satisfaction of employees. If you have a leader who is making demands of employees with no regard for their well-being, it’s going to be a major barrier to creating any sort of retention culture.
  2. Collaboration – Creating a formal or informal team that is dedicated to building and sustaining a successful initiative toward workplace well-being is an important step. If you’re reading this, you’re not alone. There are likely others in your organization that want to help do the work toward creating a better workplace. Find those people and work together.
  3. Collect Meaningful Data – You can’t measure your impact without first measuring your current state. Gather data from employees on what matters most, and what’s keeping them from feeling satisfied with their workplace experience.
  4. Craft an Operating Plan – Capture your organization’s goal for this initiative and document details to serve as a roadmap to guide your efforts and investments.
  5. Choose Initiatives that Support the Data – If you’ve gathered meaningful data from your employees, this is your chance to show them you are listening. When employees express their dissatisfaction with working hours, don’t “reward” them with a happy hour after working hours. If they express the need to work from home, don’t throw pizza parties at the office. Choose initiatives that support their real needs.
  6. Cultivate Supportive Environments, Policies, and Practices – Now don’t stop reading here. This is some really important work that can benefit your organization in the long term. Supporting efforts toward satisfied employees includes evaluating policies, practices, and environment to sure you’re cultivating a workplace that helps foster satisfied employees.
  7. Evaluate and Iterate – Don’t let this be a one-time project. Continuously gather data, analyze the evolving needs of the company and the employees, and iterate this process as you go. It can only benefit you to maintain a focus on retaining talent and creating a workplace culture where employees want to stay.

This is just a high-level overview of what can be done to improve retention in the workplace. For a full step-by-step guide including toolkits, planning templates, checklists, meeting guides, and everything else you’ll need to implement this kind of change, check out our proven Well Workplace Process:

Step 1: Complete the Well Workplace Checklist
Discover what your organization needs to implement a successful wellness program centered around whole employee health.

Step 2: Complete the Full 7 Benchmarks Process
This is WELCOA’s credible framework, based on research and expertise, for building and sustaining successful wellness programs.