Stemming the tide of the Great Talent Attrition

Mar 31, 2023

Employers can’t fix what they don’t understand. When coping with the “Great Resignation” – or in other words the tide of the Great Attrition – senior executives must understand WHY employees are leaving. The risk prevails that otherwise satisfied employees may also be tempted to quit as their options expand.

CEOs may be tempted to take solace in the fact that 60% of the employees (survey, McKinsey quarterly) are not at all likely to quit in the next 3-6 months. By contrast, the top three factors employees cited as reasons for quitting:

  1. they didn’t feel valued by their organizations (54%) or
  2. their managers (52%) or
  3. they didn’t feel a sense of belonging at work (51%).

Attrition could get worse, since employees are willing to quit without a job lined up.

  • Among the employees in the survey, 36% who had quit in the past 6 months did so without having a new job in hand.
  • 40% of the employees in the survey said they are at least somewhat likely to quit in the next 3-6 months.

Having more “location agnostic” positions to choose from could prompt otherwise satisfied employees to start second-guessing their commitment to the companies, particularly if executives mishandle the transition to a hybrid-work environment – or stubbornly fail to offer one at all.

If companies make a concerted effort to better understand why employees are leaving and take meaningful action to retain them, the Great Attrition could become the Great Attraction.

Rather than take the time to investigate the true causes of attrition, many companies are jumping to well-intentioned quick fixes that fall flat: they’re bumping up pay or financial perks, like offering “thank you” bonuses without making any effort to strengthen the relational ties people have with their colleagues and their employers.

Companies are struggling to address the problem, and many will continue to struggle for one simple reason: they don’t really understand why their employees are leaving in the first place.

Expanding childcare, nursing services, or other home- and family-focused benefits could help keep such employees from leaving and show that you value them as whole people. It highlights how employees were far more likely to prioritize relational factors, whereas employers were more likely to focus on transactional ones. Failing to invest in a more fulfilling employee experience and failing to meet new demands for autonomy and flexibility at work – some employees are deliberately choosing to withdraw entirely from traditional forms of full-time employment.

Example of an organisation:

They encouraged connectivity among employees by offering coffee gift cards to those who signed up to participate in 1:1“coffee chats” with employees they didn’t know – a perk that improved connectivity and helped people expand their networks.

Further research results:

  • among survey respondents who took new jobs in new cities during the past months, almost 90% didn’t have to relocate, because so many more companies are allowing remote work
  • businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry are the most at risk for losing employees, but many healthcare and white-collar workers say they also plan to quit
  • options are increasing, and with more and more employers offering remote-work choices for hard-to-source talent, these employees could change their intentions
  • 25% of white-collar employees who quit said they had done so without having a job lined up

‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The choice is yours

The Great Attrition is happening, it’s widespread and likely to persist – if not accelerate – and many companies don’t understand what’s really going on, despite their best efforts.

Start turning attrition into attraction. Employees are tired, and many are grieving. By seizing this unique moment, companies could gain an edge in the race to attract, develop, and retain the talent they need to create a thriving postpandemic organization. Employers need to listen. Only then can employers properly reexamine the wants and needs of their employees – together with those employees – and begin to provide the flexibility, connectivity, and sense of unity and purpose that people crave. Yes, they want pay, benefits, and perks, but more than that they want to feel valued by their organizations and leaders. If you don’t have leaders who motivate and inspire their teams and lead with compassion, you need them – desperately.

You are not sure whether you are on the right track with your culture & retention activities or whether your employee benefits and perks are good enough for your employees?

Contact us and we will be happy to arrange a non-binding dialogue to provide you with the best possible support in analysing and implementing a sustainable culture and retention strategy.

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