Are employers on a path to collision with their employees? The headlines suggest a growing divide between employers and employees. To retain more employees and deliver on business objectives, companies need to address employee needs broadly and bridge the gap between leaders and teams.
Consider this mixed bag of recent headlines:
- The majority of UK workers prefer a four-day workweek and are confident they can do their jobs in less time.
- Google CEO Sundar Pichai tells employees productivity needs improvement and launches an internal initiative to find ways to improve focus and productivity.
- In the US, employees inclined to leave their jobs are accelerating their job searches as fears of a recession grow, with many hoping to gain a substantial salary increase, as many recent job-switchers have done.
- Worldwide, employee engagement has remained stable – but consistently low – since the pandemic, representing a $7.8 trillion drag on global productivity.
Chances are good that most businesses are experiencing these tensions. Employees continue to prefer hybrid and remote working over being in the office full-time, and many people switching jobs cite a desire for increased flexibility in working hours, location, or both.
At the same time, their employers, faced with staffing shortages and inflation impacting nearly every aspect of the business are seeking to improve productivity and efficiency. Many want to see people back in the office full time.
Striking a balance between what the business needs and what employees expect will be the key to retaining employees and creating a healthy and productive workplace culture.
3 trends explaining why employees continue to leave jobs
Employees quit their jobs for a variety of reasons: most commonly, people leave jobs to secure better professional growth and development opportunities, more pay, and because they perceive their leaders don’t care about them and their circumstances.
However, in evaluating your organisation and employees, it’s useful to look at some of the broader resignation trends identified by McKinsey in a recent survey of more than 13,000 workers from around the world.
In the data, McKinsey researchers identified three trends underlying the global wave of employee resignations:
- Reshuffling. Employees are leaving to join employers in different industries (48 percent of the job leavers in the survey sample).
- Reinventing. People are leaving to pursue non-traditional work, e.g. temporary, gig, and part-time jobs) or striking out on their own.
- Reassessing. These employees have quit to manage life’s demands, and many have left the workforce entirely.
The questions leaders need to include as they evaluate their organisation and think about how to improve employee retention should address these three trends, in addition to the core reasons why people leave. These trends represent the impetus behind many job searches, and addressing how they relate to your business can help you make meaningful adjustments that can stem employee turnover.
Why employees stay with a company versus why they leave
The reasons why people choose to stay with an employer do not match 1:1 with the most common reasons why they leave.
“Employers should understand the common themes that reveal what people most value, or most dislike, about a job. For instance, it cannot be overstated just how influential a bad boss can be in causing people to leave. And while in the past an attractive salary could keep people in a job despite a bad boss, that is much less true now than it was before the pandemic. Our survey shows that uncaring and uninspiring leaders are a big part of why people left their jobs, along with a lack of career development. Flexibility, on the other hand, is a top motivator and reason for staying.” – McKinsey, “The Great Attrition is making hiring harder. Are you searching the right talent pools?” – July 2022
We’ve written extensively about why people stay in a job and have created a short survey that assesses how strong an organisation’s “Stay Factors” truly are, enabling leaders to create stronger and more enduring workplace programmes and policies that speak to the elements of work their employee care about the most.
With this information, companies can bridge the gap between leaders and teams and steer around the impending collision.