How to retain employees at the time of the “Great Resignation”

The Covid-19 pandemic has given many of us the opportunity to rethink our career options. In fact, in the United States, many have left their jobs at an unprecedented rate in the past year. Some four million Americans left their jobs last July and a record 4.4. million people, or 3 percent of the workforce, left their jobs last September, according to the United States Bureau of Statistics. The reasons for their move include the search for better pay, the pandemic and the choice of remote work.

“The Great Resignation” will continue until next year, according to various media. About 48% of the U.S. workforce is actively looking for a new job opportunity, 2021 study finds Gallup survey.

Employers in industries such as retail and hospitality have historically faced high turnover rates. But the availability of remote work coupled with workers rethinking their work-life balance have become important factors for employees when considering their employment prospects.

I have worked for years with remote employees in an industry where many of my colleagues face high turnover, and have found that we can retain our employees and retain our team. Here’s what I know about relationship maintenance:

Be a good listener

How many times have we heard of employees quitting because they don’t feel appreciated or because an employer hasn’t listened to their concerns? The first step in retaining your employees is to listen to their concerns, as well as their comments. This can be developed through an open door policy and regular catching up with your team to hear their concerns, feedback, and how your organization could improve their work experience. One of the most common reasons I hear from people for resenting their work is that they don’t feel included in their organization or that their opinion doesn’t matter. This brings us to the next important point.

Establish a transparent working environment

Develop an internal communications framework where your team stays informed about your business news, future plans, and how the business is operating. Don’t leave room for rumors, as this can have a negative impact on morale and performance.

Employees first

The more you invest in your employees, the more they will invest in your business is one of the wisest advice I have received.

If you take care of your staff, they will take care of you. Just as important as investing in your business and its infrastructure is, you also need to invest in your team: the people who will help you achieve your business goals. This investment translates into the training of your employees and the development of their skills. Help them achieve a work-life balance. Set your guidelines, but also be flexible when needed. If working remotely a few days a week helps your employees and doesn’t compromise on the job at hand, then give them the opportunity.

Celebrate your employees’ accomplishments and milestones and make them feel appreciated. Small actions can go a long way. A cost effective way to do this for businesses on a budget is to reward them with certificates, celebrate their accomplishments through social media channels or the company newsletter, paid time off, or an office lunch.

Create a work environment they wouldn’t want to leave

Last but not least, employees often leave their jobs because of a toxic environment. It’s your job to create an environment where employees feel at home and wouldn’t want to leave even if competitors show up. This environment is one that is flexible, where they grow up, where they are valued and where they are heard.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning UAE writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @manar_alhinai.

Update: November 21, 2021, 3:30 a.m.


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