Whatever you call it - the The “Great Resignation”, the “Big Quit”, the “Job Reset” - its not going away!As of September 2022, employees are still leaving their jobs at record setting levels. This leaves us over a million jobs short of where we were pre pandemic with over 11.5 million jobs going unfilled each month. Make no mistake - this is a serious issue for all employers, particularly in the Northwest where the dominance of the "bigs" in our marketplace means candidate availability for small to medium sized employers can always look a bit dicey. Up until a few months ago, the larger Northwest employers (Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft etc.) were hiring for anticipated growth plus replacing large numbers of "quitting" employees.
Talk about the "race for talent" - small to medium sized Northwest companies can't always run fast enough to escape the pressures of hiring - particularly in today's marketplace!In this blog we’ll share what we think has led to the Great Resignation PLUS offer up some ideas for small to medium sized companies who we found made good use of the Great Resignation as an opportunity, not an obstacle!
If you're dealing with a recent turnover, you already know about the downsides of losing a valued employee.
- The loss of critical expertise and "tribal knowledge" that can’t be replaced quickly.
- The risk of hiring. In an environment where close to 50% of all hiring decisions turn out to be hiring mistakes, there is significant risk you'll hire the wrong employee.
- And if you’ve been dealing with one or more critical "leavings" for a while now, the impact to revenues and costs is just around the corner. Make no mistake, turnover is costly!
...but first, let’s look at a few of the dynamics in our current marketplace - reasons why employees are quitting, reasons why when it comes to hire there are so few candidates.
#1. "I QUIT because I can"At the end of the day, with all the data sliced and diced, in all "candidate driven” environments, employees tend to quit because they can- and they can easily! If something goes wrong on Friday, a disgruntled employee can post their resume on Saturday, and have a new job within the week. It may not be the “right job” but in a job market that still has some kick to it, the perception that employment gaps can be long standing has still not been dispelled.
#2. When will "Break Time" End?In late spring 2022, we started to see a trickle of employees coming back into the market who “took a break from employment” during the pandemic which is a normal trend in the rebuild that comes after a major job disruptor. Employees who decided to take a break or dabble in entrepreneuriship are, in fact, starting to return to the marketplace. Unfortunately, the post pandemic recovering bring its own issues that have delayed this place in the recovery cycle. There are still big chunks of the population who are fearful of returning to the office. We're also seeing employees stay at home longer than normal having learned that working less and enjoying life more, is a life style they like.
#3. There's No Shame in QuittingIt’s been true for some time that deliberate, career enhancing “job hopping” is no longer frowned upon. In fact, advice to change jobs to earn more pay, secure a better job title, find a new challenge, is commonplace. Today’s employees, particularly those not yet in what they consider their “forever jobs” are not afraid to tackle the unknown – particularly if the unknown is packaged up to look better than what is.
#4. Changing Jobs is Easy Peasy!An important factor that we believe is indirectly impacting the high rates of turnover we’re experiencing now is the impact of digitally based hiring processes on employee job satisfaction. Recruiters working for large employers with high volume hiring quotas have historically been so focused on finding candidates with the right key words on their resumes, the importance of "fit" to job satisfaction and employee retention has slipped thru the cracks. The formula for turnover is clear....
- Jobs are not accurately profiled creating mismatches between what employees want to achieve thru their work and what a specific job or employer has to offer.
- Employees are not thoroughly vetted to make sure that all the critical dimensions of "fit" are part of the hiring decision.
- Once reality sets in and there are more choices, the decision to "quit" has lots of support.
#5. What's in it for me?In today’s market, employees are choosing to abandon jobs (even if they pay well) if they don’t sync up with “who they are”, “what the like to do” and “what’s important” to them about their work.
- My supervisor’s management style didn’t work for me.
- The company’s culture is too cliquish. I felt left out.
- I thought this job would give me a challenge, but I just didn’t enjoy the work.
- The company is demanding more from me than I want to give. I am not willing to sacrifice my personal life just to get ahead.
- I can’t see how my work is making a difference.
- I just don’t see the opportunity to “grow” that I am looking for.
Here’s EIGHT ways small to medium sized Northwest companies can turn other employer's turnover issues into their own competitive advantage….
#1 Use the availability of candidates in the current marketplace as an opportunity to add new talent to your teams.Yes, it may take a while, but don’t be afraid to troll the current candidate marketplace just in case there is someone who left their job with a fortune 500 company either because of a lay off or purposesfully to look for the kind of “make a difference” opportunity your small to medium sized company has to offer! Don’t have time to troll? Ask us to do it for you – searching the marketplace for great talent is what we do daily!
#2. And when you’re hiring focus on retention, not just here and now performance.Two things that come to mind. 1) Make sure you start every recruiting process with a clear view of what the job entails – its core tasks, demands, opportunities plus its everyday work environment; 2) carefully screen candidates for their long term “fit” with what you have uncovered the job and your company has to offer. One of the core services PACE brings to our service table is comprehensive job and candidate profiling- an essential ingredient of sucessful hiring. We help you do that well. We also recommend our clients use some time tested vetting tactics that we know enhances retention….
- Job auditions, where a candidate gets a chance to try out a job and the work environment for 1-2 months before making the final commitment.
- Working interviews, where a candidate (typically a finalist) finalist is invited in to sit with the team for 2-4 hours before a job offer is made.
#3 Take a realistic look at your pay and benefit plans.It goes without saying, that we’re seeing rates of pay increasing. We tell our clients that their pay plan doesn’t need to be top of the market, but it has to be at least comparable to competitive offers. Increasing the upper end of your pay range and communicating that range in your job postings is likely to give you access to a broader range of candidates. This doesn’t mean your offer has to reflect the top of your pay range, but as a smaller employer it is important to avoid the rigid pay structures that larger employers are often stuck with. And if your benefit offerings aren’t quite up to par with your larger employers you might want to consider increasing your pay rates to accommodate that short coming.
#4. Communicate clearly and often the link between your current employee’s good work and their contribution to the team. Make good work mean something to your team.One of the things we know tends to retain employees is their belief that what they do matters…. that they make a difference. As a leader, finding that link between what employees do on a daily basis or as the result of extra effort is a big deal with most employees – keeping them busy contributing to their current team, rather than looking around for a new team where they believe they will be more appreciated or valued.
#5 Take advantage of your small company FLEXIBILITY wherever and however you can.Pay scales, job content, job titles, work from home privileges, even the flexible ways you can configure staff - are all ways you can demonstrate your willingness to change what is and use that willingness to compete against your “less flexible” counterparts.
#6 Stay connected with each and every employee on your team…. both professionally and personally.Employers have long relied on exit interviews to tell them what they needed to know about the reasons behind turnover. We believe it’s much easier (and smarter) to have ongoing conversations with current employees designed to stay current re: how they’re feeling about their role, the team and your company - keeping you prepared for what lies ahead. “Stay interviews”, the term used in larger organizations to describe how this is done on a formal process, can be done more frequently and in less formal ways in smaller companies.
#7 When turnover strikes, find ways to create new opportunities for others on the team – new reasons for them to stay.Your larger competitors are not as able as you are to move quickly to reconfigure work. Take advantage of that opportunity to give your remaining team members new life, new challenges!
#8 If a “team member leaves" introduce a new and more invigorating vision for your team.We know your first step is to come up with your plan to replace a leaving team member, but it can also be a time for you to share your vison of how the team will be “even better” once the transition is completed. Yes, you need to stay tactical for the moment – reassigning work quickly and clearly – but also take this time to re invigorate your team around its vision for the future.
Have you been impacted by a valued employee's leaving or higher-than-usual turnover?We’d love to help. If you are an employer who wants to make sure that you find the right solution to fix a turnover issue, give our Partner Services team a call at 425-637-3312. While getting notice from one of your most valued employees is likely not your favorite moment, with a shift in attitude and the use of a few tactical ideas, even an unwanted turnover can be turned into something positive for you and your team. Re-group. Reignite. Move on to your newest version of “better”.
PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 40 years. A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction. PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire professional recruiting services, Employer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte. To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees, contact our Partner Services and Solutions team at 425-637-3312, email us or visit our website.