The Great Resignation: How To Prevent Turnover By Improving Company Culture

The Great Resignation is a moment where employees are taking a stand for their values by quitting jobs with bad culture.

What Is The Great Resignation?

The Great Resignation is an ongoing economic trend in which employees are choosing to leave their employment en masse. The term "Great Resignation" (aka "The Big Quit") was coined in early 2021 by Anthony Klotz, who places discontentment and inability to maintain a work-life balance as contributing factors.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic led many to rethink where, how, and why we go to work.

While these narratives explain why employees are re-examining their options, they often miss the bigger picture outcomes of this quitting surge and what it means for organizations. 

Now, companies and their remaining workforce are burdened with unmanageable workloads and skyrocketing operating expenses associated with staff turnover.

According to USA Today, the number of people resigning from their positions hit an all-time high last November. It rose from 4.2 million to 4.5 million, surpassing the previous high of 4.4 million set just a month earlier. 

An extended period of reflection has allowed people to reassess what they value in life and wish to contribute to the world via their profession. Many people are making moves and quitting their jobs even as many businesses go forward with re-openings in a "post-pandemic" era.

There has been a shift in the attitudes and values of the workforce. Now more than ever, employers looking to keep top talent on the roster are forced to listen to their teams and prioritize their engagement and happiness.

The job market is flush with opportunities for anyone seeking employment. It only makes sense that people looking for work gravitate to flexible organizations willing to invest in wellness, career development, and highly sought-after company culture.

With the "Great Resignation" still gaining momentum, how much of an impact can you anticipate? The answer to that question depends entirely on your approach.

We often fall into old habits of trying to control work by directing rather than coaching, evaluating rather than developing, and holding back information rather than trusting our teams with transparency.” - Gary Beckstrand, VP O.P Tanner

Retention: The Data-Driven Approach

It's not simple to implement a genuinely data-driven retention plan, but it's well worth the effort to do so correctly, especially in today's battle for qualified employees. But, with a better understanding of your retention and turnover rates you'll be in a stronger position to attract top talent, minimize turnover expenses, and ultimately create more engaged and productive teams.

Here are a few tips to get you started!

1. Calculating Turnover

It's essential to understand how your turnover is affected by different circumstances. You can use EES software, like Culture Booster to gather data that highlights how much of your turnover is voluntary, as opposed to layoffs or terminations. This practice will allow you to identify where any retention issues are originating.

Consider the influence of resignations on essential company metrics. When people leave a company, other teams may lose vital skills or resources, impacting everything from the quality of work to time-to-completion and bottom-line income. It's critical to keep track of how increased turnover affects other vital metrics to get a comprehensive understanding of the expenses associated with resignations.

To determine your employee turnover rate divide the number of employees who have left the organization by the average number of employees over a given time.

2. Identifying The Cause

Once you've figured out what is causing your staff to depart, it's time to do a thorough data analysis to figure out just what's behind the problem. Consider whether any elements are contributing to the higher resignation rates. Examining metrics such as compensation, promotion time intervals, pay progression sizes, tenure, performance, and training possibilities might help you identify patterns and gaps in your company.

You can also view employees by categories like geography, function, and other variables to help you see how employee experiences and retention rates differ across various employee groups.

This data can assist you in determining which of your workers are at the highest risk of resigning, as well as which ones may be retained with targeted support.

3. Tailoring Turnover Prevention

With proper insight, you can begin developing highly customized programs intended to correct the most pressing concerns that your organization faces. For example, if you find that minority employees are departing your company at a higher rate than others, a DEI-focused approach may be required. Alternatively, if you discover time periods between promotions are contributing to a high rate of staff resignation, it's possible that your advancement policies need to be reviewed. 

Finally, you may find that a lack of adequate data infrastructure prevents you from making data-driven decisions after going through this process. Before launching any targeted campaign, you'll need to invest in an organized and user-friendly system for monitoring and analyzing the data that will assist you in making informed decisions about retention.

7 Ways To Improve Company Culture And Reduce Turnover

1. Optimize Work/Life Balance

While it's crucial to set high goals, you should also keep your expectations realistic and open to change. Employers shouldn't do it at the expense of an employee's personal life. Some ways to improve work-life balance might include hybrid work schedules, implementing wellness days, or more paid time off added into their benefits packages.

It's becoming more and more common for workers to suffer from burnout. Taking care of the health and well-being of your employees has become a vital precautionary practice. Reviewing the objectives you've established for your staff is an excellent place to start.

2. Support Your Team

Employees and leaders feel more successful, are more deeply connected to one another, and contribute to a stronger workplace culture when CEOs are mentors, actively advocate for employee development, and proactively connect their employees with the organization.

So how do you prepare leaders to support their teams?

Supervisors must first concentrate on developing the people who report to them. Leaders have a unique opportunity to advocate for and mentor their teams. Instead of being just the gatekeeper to their internal careers, organizations should teach managers to encourage and nurture their staff.

Leaders that communicate with employees rather than to them elevate the employee experience and help to establish a healthy workplace culture.

3. Give Great Feedback and Recognition

Giving helpful feedback as a manager is part of your responsibility. Effective leadership assists staff in developing and preparing them for advancement, and feedback is an essential aspect of this process. 

Of course, how you give feedback has a big impact on whether or not others take it to heart. Some workers dread the concept of feedback, but it's a great way to stimulate skill development when feedback is relevant and delivered respectfully. People also want to feel valued and acknowledged, so it is possible to trigger these feelings by providing well-intentioned, constructive criticism.

The act of telling someone what they need to do differently does not generally improve a relationship or that person's performance. It would be best if you worked with employees to determine where they need to grow and how they can acquire those skills or develop those qualities. 

4. Have Regular Meaningful 1-on-1s

One of the most effective practices for improving culture in the workplace is to conduct one-to-ones, which are frequent meetings between staff and their directors. The most powerful form of one-on-one is focused, regular, and allows both people to speak freely.

The outcomes of these meetings can result in motivated employees with higher morale, engagement, and productivity. Holding regular 1-on-1's with team members is a proven approach to break free from harmful practices and establish a modern corporate culture.

5. Encourage Career Development

People grow, learn, and often seek new challenges to keep them engaged as interests change. They are more likely to remain in their jobs if their professions can adapt with them.

Career development is a term used to describe actively designing a job to provide new challenges and better suit someone's needs and interests.

As a boss, you have the ability to assist your staff in developing more out of their jobs. You can start by asking them for suggestions on where they'd want to create or what skills they wish to acquire.

Now is the time for organizations to consider the human aspect of the workforce and assist team members in getting the most out of their jobs and their lives. That way, companies are cultivating teams of motivated, enthusiastic individuals who are happy in their roles.

6. Ensure Positive Employee Experiences

Understanding and improving your intended workplace culture begins with understanding the employee experience.

A company's overall employee experience is determined by the various feelings of its employees when combined. These feelings can be prompted by conversations, emails, team interactions, leader communications, or anything relating to work processes. When developing company culture, one should remember that employee experience is a culmination of all interactions with your company, both the good and the bad.

So what are the keys to creating good employee experiences, ones that encourage higher levels of engagement and enthusiasm?

Instead of large-scale efforts that only target the critical touch points in your employees' lifecycle, focus on the small micro-experiences that have a significant impact on them every day. Micro-experiences might be as simple as conversations between coworkers about various subjects, the physical spaces they work and meet in, or the regular emails they receive from HR.

These day-to-day interactions and processes provide some of the greatest opportunities to improve corporate culture. Creating pleasant experiences, for example, includes:

  • Allowing staff to express ideas, air concerns, and make meaningful contributions
  • Sending enthusiastic, appreciative, and supportive messages to employees.

You have the option of creating peak experiences rather than attempting to fix unfavorable ones. It's simpler to produce fantastic everyday moments, and they'll have a more long-term impact.

7. Open Communication And Transparency

People's interactions with one another are an essential element of a company's organizational culture. It isn't only the substance of conversations that matters but also how executives and teams communicate. Organizations are moving toward a more team-based leadership style that includes greater transparency and feedback.

What is the benefit of a team approach to transparency?

It addresses how leaders interact with their staff and how they can talk more openly with each other to promote greater trust throughout an organization. This openness encourages collaboration, coaching, and inspiration. On the other hand, organizations that don't prioritize transparency risk damaging their company culture.

As a leader, you can help your team be more transparent by encouraging them to conduct an honest team review following projects where they may discuss their success and failure as a group—without singling out individuals. Sharing candid, critical feedback with each other dramatically improves the prospects of establishing a psychologically safe corporate culture.

Key Takeaways

Organizations have learned a lot from the Great Resignation. There is no magic-pill or quick fix for improving company culture. Culture is a living, breathing entity composed of individuals working towards a common goal and it necessitates a high level of dedication from  executives and regular assessment.

However, if you're looking for innovative ways to improve your culture, here are a few steps to get you started: 

  • Identify if and why staff members are leaving. 
  • Take care of the health and well-being of your employees as a vital precautionary practice.
  • Actively advocate for employee development, and proactively connect their employees with the organization.
  • Provide relevant, well-intentioned, actionable feedback to employees. 
  • Consider the human aspect of the workforce and assist team members in getting the most out of their jobs and lives.
  • Improve work lives by first focusing on micro-experiences that have a significant impact on individuals every day.
  • Understanding candid feedback with each other dramatically improves the prospects of establishing a psychologically safe corporate culture.

In tough economic times, employee retention will be easier for companies that promote a mentally healthy working atmosphere. Companies must pivot from a work-life to a life-work attitude and focus intently on employee retention methods in a competitive labor market, especially in the context of The Great Resignation.