The Great Resignation seems to be getting worse.
The quit rate in November was 3.4%, compared to 2.7% in November 2020, and well above September’s all-time highs. Unfilled job openings remain at unprecedented levels according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report. Big retailers are responding by pulling out all the stops; one recent example is Target’s rollout of a new program offering debt-free degrees to more than 340,000 Target team members.
Here’s what this says to me. Now, more than ever, you need to do everything humanly possible to retain your best talent, as replacements will not be easy to find.
1. When it comes to flexibility, be like Gumby.
If you’re not familiar with Gumby, this young green clay humanoid figure was the main protagonist of a clay comedy show and was known for being extremely flexible.
For over 18 months now, employers have been OK with people working from home, and now, suddenly, many are not.
Just because Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, is demanding all his workers return to the office doesn’t mean you should follow suit. In fact, his company would be a great place to poach talent, as I’m sure many employees are polishing up their resumes as we speak.
One of the biggest complaints employees have is that they’re being asked to return to the office even though they can do 90% of their job remotely.
Instead of making a collective decision for the entire company, examine each position and determine how many days a week (if any) someone needs to be physically in the office. When possible, include the incumbent in this discussion. The more flexible you can be, the greater the odds are of people remaining in your employ.
2. Money still talks.
A day doesn’t go by when there isn’t another story in the headlines regarding a retailer or restaurant raising wages dramatically, and starting salaries for college graduates are at all-time highs. One company announced it was raising the starting salary for 2022 computer science grads by an eye-popping 40 percent.
You may think your pay rates are fine, and maybe they were six months ago. But what about today?
If a person is working in a job that doesn’t require a college degree, and they’re making $20 an hour, and you’re paying entry-level college grads $25 an hour, then it’s time to adjust your thinking (and your wages).
In the past, the recommendation was for companies to do a competitive analysis of wages every couple of years. In the current climate, you may want to consider doing this quarterly.
3. Be a dream maker.
This past year has been challenging for many in terms of achieving one’s dream. As a result, many people are sitting in company departure lounges waiting to take the next flight out of their organization. Here’s what you can do to prevent people from departing any time soon.
Schedule a call with each of your employees and ask the following questions.
• “How are you doing?” Then be silent and let them answer before quickly moving onto the next question. If someone tells you they’re struggling, be empathetic and offer to support them as best you can.
• Next, ask, “What were your hopes and dreams when you took this job?” Followed by, “Are you on track to achieve these dreams?”
• “What do you need from me to help you move one step closer to achieving your goals?”
Lately, there’s been a lot less one-to-one communication these days, resulting in people feeling detached. Now’s the time to double down on efforts to communicate with your team. Share where the company is going and help them see that the best place for them is right where they are. And while you’re at it, if you’re thinking of increasing your pay ranges in 2022? Best to do it now.