How to Avoid the Big Quit and the Great Resignation

October 19, 2021

You’ve heard the stories:

  • CNN – 4.3 million people (2.9% of the U.S. workforce) quit their jobs in August – the largest ever recorded since 2000.
  • An EY survey back in May showed that 90% of Millennials would quit their jobs post-pandemic if they were not given flexible work options.
  • S. job openings this past summer soared to 9.3 million, setting records.

What’s an employer to do?

The age group that’s most ready to quit – and leaving the most, as indicated in the EY survey, is the Millennial generation, ages 25 – 40. In many cases, their attitude about work is far different than previous generations.

Employers who understand what makes them tick – what they value and want – are far more likely to avoid the “big quit” and keep their valuable talent. Are you one of those employers? Do you know what is most engaging for talent to come to your organization? 

How much do you invest to find, recruit, and hire talent?

Taking a step back to look at the talent retention situation, it’s important for employers to look at what they’re doing to keep their talent, or what I’d call the “employee lifecycle” process. That means going past the finding and hiring and focusing on engaging, nurturing and training, and career advancement.

A 2018 study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers estimated that hiring an employee (for a company of 1-500 employees) costs $7,645.

In addition to this, there are other overhead expenses, including the cost of a laptop and software licenses, office space, and their salary and benefits. All these costs are associated with each hire, so what’s being done to “insure” that spend was worth it, with each new hire?

Is the same view taken for retaining talent?

While it may be clear to employers what goes into finding, recruiting, and hiring talent, there doesn’t seem to be the same clarity when it coms to retaining and growing that talent. In the marketing function, for example, here are some of the issues that I see:

  • No standardized onboarding to ensure every new marketing hire feels welcomed and “part of the team”
  • No learning and development path established for new marketing hires
  • No conference or event budgets – which are necessary for employees to stay current and informed in the fast-paced digital environment
  • No management training for those who rise from individual contributor to team lead or manager.

If it’s worth $7,000 to bring in a new person, isn’t it worth at least half that much to keep them? Doesn’t it make sense to create a budget and a standard growth plan for everyone, to avoid the loss or resignation of valuable talent?

The important role of coaching and mentoring

According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, also in 2018, there are three ways for managers to retain talent.

  • Give them to do work they enjoy
  • Help them play to their strengths
  • Create a path for career development based on their individual talents and desires

For a manager to have the ability to do these, for each employee, they need to have the soft skills necessary to understand what motivates each person, to recognize what each employee likes and wants to do, and to create a way for each person to grow professionally.

Not every person who’s promoted to manage a team has these skills. And not every new employee understands these three elements themselves. This is where coaching and mentoring are critical when it comes to fostering talent growth.

What’s the best way to avoid the Big Quit?

In the end, it’s about helping each employee to find those three elements themselves: doing work they enjoy, playing to their strengths, and providing a career path that looks exciting to them.

And it’s also important to acknowledge and work towards better practices regarding employee mental health. Creating a culture that does this, and provides mentoring and coaching tools to help them along the way, will help employers to keep their valuable talent.

Interested in finding out how to do this? Take a look at the learning modules