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3 Common Reasons Employees Quit at the Height of the Great Resignation

Jan 27, 2022| Reading time: 10min

BY Kerrel Brown

Senior Marketing Manager

The Great Resignation presses on.

The number of workers who quit their job increased in November to a series high 4.5 million, according to the U.S. Bureaus of Labor Statistics’ recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary.

By understanding the reasons behind why employees quit their roles in search of better opportunities, you can ensure you have the right strategies in place to retain your top performers and attract the right talent.

What’s at the Heart of Workers Heading Towards the Exit

What’s causing this mass exodus?

As the “war for talent” rages on, companies can’t afford to lose their most valuable asset, their people. This makes it imperative to understand what employees value most from their job and employer.

We went straight to the source to find out. Representing various job levels and function areas, we asked employees who left a previous position for greener pastures what led to their resignation.

1. Opportunities for advancement and growth

The benefits of a highly motivated workforce are plentiful, including but not limited to better performance and increased productivity. Part of these employees’ sense of satisfaction and motivation comes from continued job progression and development.

One may assume the larger the company, the more abundant the opportunities for advancement. Leo Rondeau, a Director of Professional Services, found that this was not the case. At a previous position, while roles were opening, internal mobility was limited to set locations and teams. Leo identified this as a driving factor behind his resignation, “My last position was at a large international company and the opportunities just weren’t appearing the way we had originally expected them to. I was working in a smaller location and the expectation was if you wanted to grow, you had to go to one of the locations where the opportunities are.”

Not limited to new roles or title changes, employees are also prioritizing growth in the form of tackling new challenges.

Already holding the position of Director of Content Marketing, Sharon Rusinowitz resigned at the height of the Great Resignation and accepted a role with the same title. When evaluating whether she would stay or go, Sharon said “I had a really great opportunity to join an early stage startup that was growing fast and would provide me a lot of room to grow in new ways as a result. Being able to take the next step in my career was super important to me.”

What you can do to respond

By investing in skills development and creating career paths, you can give current employees visibility into their professional development and progression – allowing them to see a future with the company.

Key to this strategy is transparency and ongoing communication. Having the most detailed plans and programs in place are only as useful as they are accessible to the entire org. For greater adoption, reinforce with managers the need for regular discussions about career goals and encourage possible opportunities for professional development.

2. Company culture centered around values

More than ever, employees are yearning for a connection to what’s driving the direction of the company. For many, that comes in the form of company values and culture.

As a Customer Success Manager, Victoria Bergeron stated, “Because I’m in a customer-facing role, it’s really important to work for an organization that’s genuinely trying to make operations easier for its customers and providing quality service, while caring just as much about their employees. So I was in search of an organization whose culture prioritizes a healthy work-life balance.”

Further reflecting on how she came into her current role, Sharon says, “The really powerful thing about the company that was in front of me was the culture and the mission, in terms of its focus on helping people. And that’s something that the company lives both internally and externally. After a year and a half in the pandemic and seeing the toll it was taking on people in so many different ways and walks of life, that was something that I found to be important and something I knew that I wanted to have in my next job. And that’s also one of the things that keeps me there.”

What you can do to respond

Clearly defining your employer brand, which is the perception current and prospective employees have of what it’s like to work at your company, can help set expectations upfront and improve retention in the long run.

During the recruitment process, sharing the company mission and connecting core values to the open role will help demonstrate the working environment and organizational culture. Once onboard, keep values front and center for all employees through presentations at All-hands and employee recognitions tied to values.

3. Flexibility of work environment

We’ve come to a time in history when employees not only want workplace flexibility, they expect it. According to a recent survey, 65% of employees want to work remotely full-time post-pandemic and another 33% prefer a hybrid work arrangement of remote and in-office work.

For Leo, being tied to a physical location was not only an impediment to his own opportunities for advancement, but as a team leader he knew the impact it would have on attracting and retaining talent and ability to achieve overall team goals.

“In my previous role, the flexibility of being remote or working apart from the main office location was why I had to start looking for opportunities elsewhere. With my current company, the team is 100% remote. That means we’ve got the ability to hire talent everywhere. And it gives us a greater opportunity to be successful.”

Keep in mind, flexible work options are not always solely about personal preference.

When thinking about what was most important during her recent job search, Victoria said, “I live in a dense city where COVID is still very present. And I was looking to remain remote not only for my personal safety, but for the flexibility it offered in the long-run. If the past couple years has taught me anything, it’s that prioritizing my own health, both physically and mentally, is really what’s most important.”

What you can do to respond

A common fear around a permanent shift to remote or flexible work is a perceived loss in productivity and connectivity. Never fear, studies indicate that remote workers are actually more productive and there are a slew of ways to facilitate stronger connection even from afar.

Preboarding-themed welcome emails help to establish a relationship with new hires and customizable employee profiles allow team members to get acquainted during onboarding.

Overlaying employee work location on a map can help colleagues feel more connected and digital shoutouts celebrate employees in real-time and fosters a culture of recognition.

With the right tools in place, you can better connect with your people to provide support and cultivate belonging.

Staying Ahead of the Great Resignation with Headcount Planning

When thinking about how to stave off the Great Resignation at your org, it’s likely your mind jumps directly to retention strategies. But that’s only one piece of the puzzle.

Comprehensive headcount planning can help you create strategies to attract new talent, retain and grow your existing employees, and prepare for inevitable employee exits.

Use headcount planning to get ahead of job turnover and build a skilled, satisfied, and engaged workforce. Get ChartHop’s guide on how to confidently approach 2022 headcount planning to learn more about what it takes and get started today.

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