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Blog Sep 09, 2021

It’s not just a theory and it’s certainly not your imagination. The phenomenon that Texas A&M University professor Anthony Klotz has called “the great resignation” is taking place as we speak. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “quit rate” is the highest it’s been in 20 years, with four million Americans quitting their jobs in April alone. 

Whether you call it “the great resignation,” “the turnover tsunami,” or “the big quit,” this massive trend is nowhere near over. A survey conducted by Microsoft indicates that a whopping 41% of the U.S. workforce is planning to leave their jobs in the next year. But what does the research tell us about why people are quitting? And what, if anything, can you do about it?

Greener pastures

You’ll hear many different reasons behind the big quit, but common themes start to emerge. For starters, people want greater flexibility. Some of them like working remotely and want to stay there. Some realize just how much of their family life they’ve been missing out on and are looking for more balance. Others have experienced personal loss and have come to understand that there are more important things than a high salary, including health and wellness. Some are looking to add more meaning to their personal and professional lives. 

But ask any of these people why they are quitting and many of them will just say they are burned out. According to research conducted by Monster, 69% of remote employees are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home. These people are under so much pressure, they don’t even feel they can take time off to decompress. The vast majority of remote workers – almost 60% – are taking less time off than they normally would, and 42% aren’t planning to take any time off at all.

A recent Gallup poll asked employees what they look for most in an employer. Respondents across all generations ranked “the organization cares about employees’ wellbeing” in their top three. But widespread burnout would suggest that employee wellbeing is not a priority for some organizations. Given this research, the exodus is hardly surprising. 

“Many talented workers are leaving for workplaces that align with their personal belief system and show an authentic concern for individual employee wellbeing,” explains Gallup consultant Iseult Morgan. “People want a good job and a life well-lived.”

Stemming the tide

The bad news is that no company is immune to losing their people. The good news is that you can do something about it if you act proactively and not wait until folks are filing out the door. Just don’t rely on perks and salaries as a long-term solution. No amount of free bagels will keep someone from quitting if they are feeling burned out, unsupported, unheard, disconnected, or stagnant in their career. Your in-office benefits don’t mean much to your remote workers, anyway.

“Money matters, but only to a certain degree. Perks matter, but only to a certain degree,” says Jeff Haden, corporate thought leader. “You can’t buy great employees. But you can definitely earn them.” 

How do you earn them? The first step is making a commitment to employee wellbeing, in whatever form that may take for your company. We suggest you start here:

  • Take the “temperature” of your employees via conversations and surveys. How are they feeling? What are they saying? Encourage people to communicate. Listen with real empathy. 
  • Find out what their biggest concerns and needs are, understanding that everyone is struggling in some way. Make it safe for people to complain or criticize how things work. 
  • Recognize that what matters to your employees is going to vary from person to person. Be prepared to personalize the employee experience as much as possible. 
  • Empower managers to take care of their people. Now is not the time to let red tape get in the way of improving the workplace. Let go of “the way you’ve always done it.”
  • Take a hard look at your employee wellness benefits. Are you offering programs that promote mental, physical, social, and emotional wellness? Are you taking steps to nurture personal relationships? Are you acknowledging and rewarding your people?

“Leaders have the power to create a nurturing, supportive environment that leaves people invigorated,” says Michael McFall, Forbes Councils Member. And companies who take advantage of this power will be the ones who survive the great resignation. “Fostering a workplace that celebrates and supports people is the foundational element for companies that will retain great people and attract new ones.”

An opportunity to evolve

For some companies, “the big quit” may actually be an opportunity – a chance to evolve how you support your employees. It may be the catalyst you’ve been needing to try something new and place new focus on what’s truly important to your employees. But you don’t have to figure it out all on your own. 

AccessElite can help by providing employee wellness programming, events, and experiences that nurture health and wellbeing across all dimensions, for all generations, and for all types of companies. We even offer tools that can give you insights on the health and happiness of your employees so you can address employee needs more proactively. To learn more, visit us at https://accesselitenow.com, or reach out to connect@conciergekeyhealth.com.

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