The Great Resignation: Opportunity or Threat?

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Tom Ricks

4 min read

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I don’t think anyone could argue that the last two years have changed the workplace forever. Entire nations have been confined to their homes during months of lockdowns, and the way we conduct business and interact with each other has passed a point of no return.

Current topics that are central to many HR professionals’ concerns include: the “return-to-office” discussion, of which productivity is a critical component; continued COVID-19 monitoring; employee health and welfare; a continued focus on employee engagement; and (no surprise) attrition – specifically the ability to predict who will leave and when. It’s this final topic about which we have some eye-popping statistics, not the least of which is that the United States saw 69 million people leave their jobs in 2021.

Employee Attrition – How To Understand and Combat It

Having been dubbed the “Great Resignation,” this mass departure of workers appears to have been brought about by the pandemic, which has given people pause to consider what meant the most to them about their employment. Over time, the “Great Resignation,” initially seen as a threat to business, got spun into an opportunity and redubbed the “Great Recruitment” – and it’s fairly straightforward to see why. What’s not so straightforward is how to leverage the opportunity – and the trick is to not only recognizing how to attract and hire talent, but also how to retain talent. Post-pandemic we’ve seen this referred to as re-boarding, with more and more workers returning to the office.

Still yet, we have seen another phrase come to light to describe the employee exodus, replacing both the “Great Resignation” and “Great Recruitment.” The phenomenon is now being calling the “Great Disruption.” This nicely brings us back to the reasons people started to leave their employers in the first place, and every company’s desire to break that staff churn cycle – but how? Although recruitment analytics can help identify practices to hire better and faster, in more ways and locations, it’s really People Analytics that can provide insights into how this “Great Disruption” impacts your business and employees.

Through connecting your Human Capital Management data with other data sources, you can start to see and understand strain in the organization – which could continue to affect even your most stable workers. Recruitment statistics, talent reviews, pay ranges, trainings, engagement surveys, plus many other sources of information, when brought together, can provide incredibly valuable insights into the factors influencing people to leave your business and join other companies. Having this information also enables you to course correct, helping you identify areas that should be addressed to improve retention.

The Drivers of Employee Attrition Will Likely Continue To Change

As we move into a new phase of this pandemic and we see more countries loosen restrictions and open up, the discussion of what makes people leave businesses will continue to evolve. There’s no doubt the resignation and recruitment drivers will shift again, and those who are using data will continue to have the competitive edge. This leads me to believe that, when we stop and think, perhaps we do have that one “magic” key concern already identified already. We employ individuals, who want to be treated as such. No one size fits all anymore. Over the last more than two years, the ways we have interacted and engaged with our families, lives and work have been deeply personal, unique and individual experiences. A well-executed people analytics and data strategy should be designed around addressing the needs of talent individually and at organizational scale. In short, the way to ensure your employees thrive (and stay) is to make sure you see and respond to them as people that have been through a pandemic, have hidden desires, shifting motivations and perhaps new passions. Learn what those are.

Want to know more about how analytics can unlock further value for your HR department? Click here to download and read our eBook “3 Major Opportunities to Add Analytics to Your HR Department.”

Concerned about how to attract, hire & retain talent, especially in a market where opportunities abound? People #analytics can help businesses engage their best prospects & retain valued employees, according to @Qlik's @tom_ricks.

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