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Gauging the Impact of The Great Resignation

Krupa Patel March 9, 2022

As the workplace evolves in 2022 and beyond, employers struggle to retain workers and fill open positions amongst the Great Resignation. And despite the stabilization of Covid, the outlook for a more stable year ahead isn’t so rosy. Experts predict volatility, adaptations in the workplace, and continued resignations well into the new year.

Many of today’s “Great Resignation” studies focus on why employees leave. Still, few set out to speak with existing employees, HR departments, and organization leaders to get a pulse on the impact and direct consequences of employee departures. How that attrition immediately impacts roles and responsibilities? Do employees and employers feel more stress? Are they working more hours?

Evive’s annual Employee Journey study identified interesting patterns on what employees and employers were experiencing. The study included a representative sample of 1,000 full-time employees, human resource representatives, and senior leaders across the U.S.

Here’s what we found:

Voluntary Attrition

During the first ten months of the year, 12% of employers experienced voluntary attrition of 21 employees or more, 8% experienced voluntary turnover from 13 to 20 employees, 13% had 8-12 employees voluntarily leave, 22% experienced 4-7 employees’ voluntary turnover, 26% where 1 to 3 employees voluntarily exited and 20% reported no voluntary attrition.

Voluntary attrition has a more significant impact than reduced growth, profitability, and productivity. It stretches HR teams to the max, damages employee morale, and others must fill the gap without the institutional knowledge that leads to sound decisions. Instead, untrained employees rely on assumptions or trial and error, ultimately leading to unhappy customers, increased workloads, and long-term effects on the bottom line.

To address this, HR and leaders must allocate resources to help provide managers the training they need to manage employees more effectively, learn new skills, support team building, and leadership development. Using a rapid-response communications platform as a base, organizations can provide personalized, hands-on training courses to employees, supporting learning and development, performance review goals, and filling knowledge gaps.

The right platform can integrate with an organization’s LMS, making self-service coursework easier and faster. Critical to overcoming training challenges, it also tracks course performance and engagement, monitors program effectiveness, identifies areas where employees are having trouble, and alerts managers to step in with extra support.

Impact of Losing Workers

When employers were asked about the biggest impact of losing workers, 20% reported increased hiring costs, 20% said increased training costs, 17% said increased overtime costs, and 17% said lost productivity. Thirteen percent felt declining customer satisfaction, and 12% said low employee morale.

When employees were asked about the biggest impact of losing workers, 24% said increased workload, 22% said increased stress, 18% said longer hours, 15% said less managerial support, and 14% mentioned lost institutional knowledge. Seven percent of employees have experienced childcare/elder care issues due to losing workers.

When digging deeper into employee stress and burnout, 17% of employees experienced stress on the job every day, 33% felt stress several days or more each week. An additional 16% experienced stress several times a week, and 15% experienced stress several times a month.

The cost implications of finding new workers in an economy where it’s more complicated than ever to fill positions isn’t a walk in the park either. When you lose workers, there are fewer people to accomplish tasks. Employees feel overwhelmed, stress levels rise, and job quality suffers. Losing workers also has a far-reaching impact on mental health and well-being, impacts absenteeism, and causes family disruption.

Retaining Workers

It’s more cost-effective for employers to retain employees than spend the money to find and hire new ones. One of the simplest and most affordable ways to retain employees, attract new talent, and help staff manage stress is by having the right mix of healthcare, well-being, and financial benefits that employees don’t just want but like. In addition to conducting a needs assessment survey to determine the best benefits selection, employers can use an automated communications platform to determine which benefits employees are engaging with the most and those that go unused.

The same messaging platform can also make sure employees understand their benefits year-round, and not just at open enrollment and provide a one-stop resource hub for vendor information, claims, coverage, and costs.

Modern platforms can ingest employer claims, pharmacy, and ecosystem data and use that information to prioritize the right message at the right time for the right person using compelling behavioral science principles. The result is employees who are healthy, financially stable, and happy.

Working Additional Time

When employees were asked how often they had to work after hours or off days to finish work, there was a disconnect with how employers saw employees working additional time.

When employers were asked how often their employees had to work after hours or off days to finish work, 21% said every day or several times a week compared to 15% of employees who work overtime every week. Employers said 22% of employees often worked after hours or off days several times a month, whereas 14% said they worked that additional time. When it came to employers seeing how often employees had to work after hours or on off days, 43% said occasionally, but employees said 32% – 10% less. For those who report they only rarely work after hours or off days to finish work, it’s a different story.

For employers, 14% said that workers only rarely need to spend hours or off days finishing work, but employees disagree. Thirty-eight percent of employees said it’s only on rare occasions that they must work after hours or off days to complete work.

The data shows that while a third of employees (38%) say they hardly ever must work extra hours and 14% of employers say the same about their workers, many are putting in longer hours. Working extra hours shouldn’t be a weekly occurrence for 15-20% of the workforce, translating into a symptom of understaffing or poor work-life balance. Yet, work-life balance is one of the main priorities of the new remote, hybrid, and in-office work landscape.

A Healthy Work-Life Balance

A healthy work-life balance increases employee engagement, improves mental health, reduces stress, and keeps employees happier and motivated. So, how do you develop a healthy balance between work and social life?

Start by understanding what employees need, whether it’s asking the staff as part of a needs survey or during one-on-one meetings with managers and staff. Create a flexible job environment where employees can adjust their start and stop times based on life’s activities, whether it’s to handle family responsibilities or household obligations. Offer mental health days above and beyond paid time off and Zoom in experts to discuss techniques for maintaining physical, emotional, and mental health.

In addition, with the right technology platform in place, automation can encourage employees to take breaks, enjoy a hobby, volunteer and exercise, removing the heavy lifting for HR to focus more on people versus processes. The platform can also highlight wellness activities, help ensure employees have time with family and friends and disconnect from workplace tasks and find a healthy balance between their personal lives and career.

The Modern Tech Stack

While we shared many ideas above to help reduce voluntary attrition, retain and attract employees, create attractive benefits packages, and ensure employees receive a balanced work-life, advances in HR technologies have reshaped how we implement these activities.

In 2022, employers who retain employees from the Great Resignation will offer attractive benefits packages, ensure employees receive a balanced work-life, and offer learning and development growth opportunities. Employers that want to retain and engage employees in more personalized, meaningful ways will complement their tech stack with an all-in-one data-driven communications platform that seamlessly delivers an exceptional employee experience through every step of the employee journey.

If you want to learn more about going beyond the basics to retain and attract talent, check out our series on weathering the Great Resignation.