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Did you know that more than 40% of all employees were thinking about leaving their jobs at the beginning of 2021? According to an article written by Sloan MIT, workers in 2021 quit in unprecedented numbers between April and September 2021, more than 24 million American employees left their jobs, an all-time record.

Why now? It may have something to do with The Great Resignation trend that started in North America in 2021 and still continues to sweep the globe today, and South Africa is not immune.  According to René Richter, managing director of Remchannel who operates Old Mutual’s reward-management platform, reported that staff turnover has increased by 16% across all sectors. She continues to say “Whilst there are various reasons for labour turnover such as retirement, termination of contracts, and downsizing, the October 2021 Salary and Wage Movement survey revealed that the leading reason an employee left employment between April and October 2021 was due to resignation (60%).”

 

But what’s driving employees to take the leap and make such a drastic decision?

Covid had an immense impact on the global workforce, employees had to suddenly adjust to new work routines and shifting workplace expectations. Increased workloads, salary cuts and retrenchments as a result of the financial knock endured by many industries, are all contributing factors to the increase in resignations.

It was during this time that employees started to re-evaluate what was important and re-access not only their personal goals but career goals as well, with many turning their side hustle projects into full fledge businesses or pursuing their passion and changing careers altogether.

Although the employees who were retrenched did this out of necessity, paradoxically there were those who switched or quit their careers even during retrenchments. Factors contributing to this may have been attributed to burnout, lack of career growth opportunities, toxic work environment, poor management and/or leadership, failure to recognise employee performance, lack of job security, lack of fundamental employee benefits and stagnant remuneration among others things.

According to MIT Sloan Management Review, there are 10 elements of Culture that matter most to employees:

The 10 Elements of Culture That Matter Most to Employees

  1. Employees feel respected. Employees are treated with consideration, courtesy, and dignity, and their perspectives are taken seriously.

 

  1. Supportive leaders. Leaders help employees do their work, respond to requests, accommodate employees’ individual needs, offer encouragement, and have their backs.

 

  1. Leaders live core values. Leaders’ actions are consistent with the organization’s values.

 

  1. Toxic managers. Leaders create a poisonous work environment and are described in extremely negative terms.

 

  1. Unethical behaviour. Managers and employees lack integrity and act in an unethical manner.

 

  1. Benefits. Employees’ assessment of all employer-provided benefits.

 

  1. Perks. Employees’ assessment of workplace amenities and perks.

 

  1. Learning and development. Employees’ assessment of opportunities for formal and informal learning.

 

  1. Job security. Perceived job security, including fear of layoffs, offshoring, and automation.

 

  1. Reorganizations. How employees view reorganizations, including frequency and quality.

 

Taking the above into consideration, what can companies do to retain those that are still working within their organisation and what can they do to combat the great resignation trend? Businesses would need to re-access their current Corporate Culture, and create an environment that inspires, appreciates and values not only current employees but will also attract and retain new talent.

Below are 5 initiatives organisations could implement to retain employees during the Great Resignation:

  1. Recognise Employee Achievements – Take the time to celebrate and appreciate employee accomplishments. Recognising employee efforts would naturally elevate happiness levels and boost morale and confidence amongst your team, this would therefore encourage them to produce their best work and increase productivity. This could be successfully executed with an employee incentive reward programme.

 

  1. Provide growth opportunities within the organisation – Upskill and train employees in order for them not only to grow within the organisation but within a personal capacity as well. By making sure they are always aware of new positions and training opportunities, employees would feel empowered and engaged, thus boosting loyalty for the company brand.

 

  1. Focus on Employee Wellness & improve empathy – Employee Wellness and caring about the mental, physical and emotional health of your team is of utmost importance in the pursuit of creating a happy and positive work environment for the team. If your team feels like they are being taken care of, they will produce the best work and do whatever it takes to go above and beyond for your organisation. A healthy workforce is a productive workforce.

 

  1. Create a flexible working environment for employees – Now that employees have been exposed to remote working, the stringent confines of the typical 9 – 5 in office bums in seats are no longer seen as a necessity. During the pandemic companies and teams learnt how to run their businesses virtually. That being said, employees coming back to the office expect a degree of flexibility as the work-life balance has become an important factor in the lives of the employee.

 

  1. Engage and connect with employees and improve Corporate Culture – Implementing fun days and activities at work is a great way to engage employees, build team spirit and strengthen internal relationships. By creating a culture of inclusivity and fostering interpersonal team relationships you not only would improve teamwork but would also make meeting organisational goals a smooth and seamless process.

 

References:

More South Africans are quitting their jobs and experts warn it’s a ticking time bomb

10 Things your corporate culture needs to get right