Can Your Organization Ride Out the Resignation Wave?Our last blog highlighted how companies are driven by profit, even when their mission statement says something different. That is an important factor that we can look at as one of the reasons for the current “resignation wave” that is sweeping across the US. Will your company be able to ride out this wave? Maybe, maybe not…it probably depends on many factors. Lately many HRM (Human Resource Management) professionals have been talking about retention and why employees are leaving.

Reasons for Leaving

How many times have you heard that employees leave managers more often than they leave companies? Well respected scholar and economist W. Edwards Deming once said, “A bad system will beat a good person every time.” What Deming was trying to convey was you need to understand the importance of a good system and not to waste time blaming certain people for failures. An excerpt from Deming’s website goes on to say, “So if a bad system will beat a good person every time what can you do? You have to focus not on trying harder within the current system, but on changing the system so that success is built into the system.”

Currently, there is much discussion in the workforce regarding work-life balance, flexibility, as well as pay and benefits, none of which sound like people are leaving due to a bad manager, but recognizing they have an opportunity to improve their employment condition within the current job market. So what can you do as an employer to change the system in order to retain or attract top talent?

Steps to Take Now

As an employer, trying to satisfy a customer and doing so with a substantially reduced workforce is a major challenge. The old saying (slightly modified) comes to mind “when you are up to your neck in alligators, it is hard to remember your original intent was to drain the swamp.” We have a lot of nerve suggesting you take a step back to look at a long-term strategy when you are in a struggle for survival. As the US Bureau of Labor Statistics chart in the last blog showed, some industries have had a significant exit rate for years. For example, the leisure and hospitality industry averaged a 76% separation rate between 2016 and 2019.

“Turnover costs organizations in both time and money to recruit and train new employees—not to mention the loss of institutional knowledge and reduction in productivity while positions remain vacant.” This statement was written by Kathryn Tyler in her article entitled “How to Ride the Great Resignation Wave.” Replacing half or more of your workforce per year is detrimental to the business and negatively impacts customer satisfaction – how can that be good for business at any time?

In the same article, Tyler talks about some things employers need to focus on in the resignation wave:

  • Address employee concerns
  • Make sure the job descriptions are realistic and comprehensive
  • Onboarding must create a strong connection to the company
  • Utilize “stay” interviews – not just exit interviews
  • Communicate frequently and make communicating easy

These are valid and good suggestions – but many of you reading this may be asking “how?” This question leads to the next – as an employer do you have the tools to facilitate any of these suggestions?

Tools to Take on the Resignation Wave

Do you have an actual person that is focused on human resources? Do you have software that can facilitate onboarding and that tracks ongoing reviews with audit capabilities? Do you have self-service functionality so employees can access things like their benefits, leave requests, or to apply for other jobs within the company? If you are missing these technical and human “resources,” Tyler’s suggestions will be difficult to implement.
One more quote from the Tyler article – “It’s not about reducing turnover, but rather about elongating tenure.” Do you recognize what is being stated? It is not about tactics to reduce turnover, but more about creating a strategy to prolong tenure. We will explore this topic further in the next blog.