Monday, September 20, 2021

Great Resignation: Top reasons employees are quitting right now

Many employees are contemplating leaving their jobs in the face of burnout, return-to-office plans, and other incentives to leave.

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Image: GettyImages/Prostock-Studio

Many companies are looking for ways to increase their staffing after a year filled with economic uncertainty and layoffs. According to West Monroe’s quarterly poll, 77% plan to hire within the next few months. According to West Monroe’s latest quarterly poll, 77% of executives plan to hire in the next few months amid employee burnout and a tight labor market. Deal sweeteners are also being used to attract top talent across all industries. A speculated Great Resignation is also possible as employees consider leaving their jobs to find better pastures. Are employees really quitting at high rates, or is the “turnover tsunami” still in effect?

“Our analysis supports the expected extension of the Great Resignation. Christy Petrosso (Workforce Logiq’s chief scientist and talent economist) said that as pandemic life in the U.S. recedes, people are leaving their jobs to seek more flexibility (and more income).

“It’s leading us to a dramatic increase of resignations, and as our benchmark study indicates, a dramatic uptake in the percentage worker now open to exploring other job possibilities or unsolicited recruit messages,” she stated.

David Niu (CEO and founder of TINYpulse) said he’s seen both ends of the spectrum in terms of workforce turnover. However, the company’s latest State of Employee Engagement Report “suggests” that leaders are expecting low turnover.

“On the opposite end, 39% of respondents felt it is’more difficult’ or’much harder’ to fill open jobs. He said that there was already a sense foreboding.

SEE: IT expense reimbursement policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Top reasons employees quit

Employees all over the world have switched to remote work in the last year. They set up home offices and adopted new virtual collaboration tools. Some employees prefer telecommuting, but not all workers.

Niu cited feedback from people leaders during a recent company survey and stated that the top reasons employees leave include “difficulties adjusting to remote work”, lower motivation, uncertainty about returning home, and lower commitment towards the organization. 

Based on insights gleaned from the company’s Petrosso stated that the top two reasons employees are willing to leave their jobs is a lack of career advancement and fear that the company will not be able to withstand setbacks.

She explained that there are many factors that can influence an employee’s decision to leave a job, such as “lackluster business stability, positive environments, or strong leadership.” However, it is important to note that specific job categories may also play a role in the reasons an employee leaves a company.

Petrosso said that IT workers see career growth as their main reason to seek out other opportunities. On the other hand, a lack of stability in the business world is driving software engineers to look for new jobs.

Reentry into the office could be considered.

Many companies have begun to bring back employees to the office after a year of remote working. But are employees ready to return to work? A blind survey was conducted earlier this year and found that 1 in 3 employees would quit if they could no longer work from home. These reentry strategies could play a role in the decision to quit for some employees who are at the edge of the turnover curve.

“Office reentry policies directly affect turnover. The highest attrition rate was associated with return to work plans that required 4 days in the office. Organizations that have return to work plans that require 1-3 days in the office were associated with lower attrition,” Niu said, citing data from employee engagement surveys.

According to Niu, hybrid work was rated the best for optimizing employee performance and reducing turnover. It also strikes a middle ground when it comes to limiting employee emotional exhaustion.

Many companies are worried about employee pushback and conflicts during office transitions, especially with the Delta COVID-19 variant.

According to LaSalle Network’s March Office Re-Entry Index (34% of respondents) foresaw “conflicts between staff and executives relating to “return-to-work” policies. The top conflict being employees wanting the ability to continue working remotely.

“Return to work plans that don’t offer flexibility for employees are another driver of attrition. There’s clear implications for leaders – listen to your employee’s needs and meet them halfway. Niu said that if you don’t listen, don’t be surprised when top talent starts to leave.

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Image: GettyImages/boggy22

Vaccinations, variants, and volatility

Even employees who aren’t actively seeking new jobs could be tempted to take the leap. Employers can easily modify their LinkedIn profile settings to let recruiters know that they might be interested in the opportunity.

Petrosso, citing Workforce Logiq’s latest flash report, stated that the data “offers proof that more U.S. profession and knowledge workers want to explore other job opportunities or unsolicited recruiting messages than ever before.” These numbers represent a spike for quarterly volatility of almost 70%, according to Petrosso.

“Our predictive analysis means that we can expect more workers to be receptive to changing jobs and unsolicited recruiting calls over the next 60-90 days – at a minimum,” she continued.

In the United States, 163 million people have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in the last six months. This represents nearly half of the population. However, inoculation rates vary greatly from one state or another. Petrosso stated that the company’s data scientists identified a correlation between employment volatility and state inoculation rates.

SEE: It can be difficult to balance remote work and children’s education. Here are some ways employers can help (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

She explained that states with low COVID vaccination rates experience the highest levels of employee volatility.

Per Petrosso. Mississippi had the highest volatility rise at 73% and lowest U.S. state vaccination rates in the second quarter.

“We don’t know why this trend is occurring, but it’s possible that unvaccinated people are less concerned by COVID (i.e. are less risk-averse), and so are more willing to change jobs,” she stated.

What is the best time for employers to anticipate the peak in turnover and when should they expect resignations to stabilize?

“All that we can do is to follow the data science. Petrosso stated that we can expect a higher level of retention uncertainty in the fall. He also noted the emerging Delta variant, uncertainty relating to the COVID-19 mutation, and possible future economic volatility in the U.S.

Experts say that the variant could cause COVID surges in areas where large numbers of people remain unvaccinated. Petrosso stated that the variant could have an impact on economic growth in states with lower vaccination rates.

Niu, in a similar vein, stressed the potential economic impact on the Delta variant. However, he said that other factors, such as “availability and other desirable jobs”, COVID-19 restrictions, and office reentry deadlines will also influence peak turnover rates.

“Given the many factors that drive the turnover peak, only the time will tell. Niu stated that if the Delta variant is not held at bay, the upcoming quarters would determine if this is either a turnover tsunami (or a turnover trickle).

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