Nicolas Dumoulin

5 employee retention strategies to counter the ‘Great Resignation’ | Nicolas Dumoulin | Senior Managing Director | Michael Page India and Thailand

Nicolas DumoulinIt is wearisome when an employee resigns. Not only do you need to start the whole process of searching for the right talent, replacing an employee can cost a company up to six to nine months of the employee’s salary.

It would be short-sighted to view the ‘Great Resignation’ as a temporary phenomenon. This is not a situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but one that has been amplified because of it.

To remedy this wave of employees resigning, here are some starting points for companies to consider:

1. Work flexibility
Due to the pandemic, companies across the world had to adopt remote working as their primary arrangement. This has proved to businesses that work can be done without employees stepping into the office. Now, employees see flexibility as a norm. In a candidate-driven market, many job seekers are asking for flexible work arrangements.

Our Talent Trends 2021 report, which compiled the responses of over 5,500 businesses and 21,000 employees across APAC, revealed that 87% of employees preferred a combination of working remotely and in a workplace – that is, in favour of blended flexibility and having a choice.

Companies should make flexible work arrangements a permanent feature, and depending on the work needed, provide employees with options to allow them to work from home.

2. Ease workplace stress
Stress is subjective and some handle stress better than others. However, there are ways companies can do to help reduce stress levels for their staff. To begin, managers should not place demands on employees after work hours and on off days. This would allow employees to get a proper mental break from work.

When employees start to hand in lower-quality work and make mistakes consistently, managers should have an open conversation with said employees to understand their situations. Not everyone is good at speaking up or asking for help, so it is the managers’ responsibility to help employees delegate tasks, prioritise projects and ease up deadlines.

3. Map out career advancement plans
Never assume employees are happy where they are. It is prudent for managers to start career-planning conversations and identify employees who want to advance in their careers.

This demonstrates that the company appreciate their employees and want to help them grow, and by extension, help the company grow. Managers can look at ways to upskill their staff. Some examples include monthly workshops on personal development and professional growth, as well as more technical courses where employees would receive official certifications.

4. Re-evaluate compensation package
Many times, employees move simply because they want to increase their salaries and obtain a higher salary bracket to move up the career ladder. So, during employees’ performance reviews, managers need to be very clear when setting KPIs and discussing outcomes. If employees can meet these KPIs, companies must look into increasing salaries or benefits to stay competitive.

If you can’t provide a lot of salary increment, look at benefits like dental coverage, optical care coverage, mobile phone bill subsidies, achievement awards, additional leave days, and work-anniversary gifts.

5. Employee recognition
Employee recognition is a way of supporting your staff to let them know that their work and contributions are being appreciated. It’s the act of publicly acknowledging them for who they are and what they do, which in turn makes the workplace feel more inclusive. For bigger achievements, companies can look at providing achievement awards, and these can be dining vouchers or even a hotel stay.

In fact, out of 1,500 respondents polled by SurveyMonkey and Bonusly, 63% of employees who were “always” or “usually” recognised said they were “very unlikely” to job hunt in the next three to six months. By contrast, only 11% of those who are “never” or “rarely” recognised would say the same.

Out of all respondents, 82% stated that they were happier when they were recognised at work, which drives up motivation and productivity by several notches, creating a positive company culture and effective workforce.