Retaining Employees in The Big Quit

Retaining Employees in The Big Quit

In the early 2000s, getting and keeping employees was pretty straightforward: offer a few cutting-edge perks and wait for the talent to come to you. But old-school incentives just don’t work the way they used to.

Thanks to an economic trend nicknamed “The Great Resignation” and “The Big Quit”, workers are dumping their pre-pandemic gigs en masse.

They’re chasing dream jobs, looking for better or more fulfilling working conditions, going back to student life, and, sometimes, changing careers entirely.

Some companies are spending beaucoup bucks in bonuses to employees in vital tech areas to encourage them to stick around. Others are leaning on outdated attraction and retention methods – methods that were pretty solid a mere decade ago – with little luck.

So what are these companies doing wrong?

The dos and dont’s of attracting and retaining employees

Back in the day (“the day” being the 2000s and early 2010s), employers could rely on a few tried-and-true methods to get and keep employees. They’d do things like:

  • Offer cool office culture. Picture cushy lounges with TVs and gaming consoles, stocked kitchens and bars with local brews on tap, DJs, masseurs – whatever they needed to stand out and advertise their coolness. Along the way, these perks became standard fare at tech offices. And while state-of-the-art space planning is now expected by in-office employees, it’s essentially meaningless to remote workers.
  • Hand out performance and other financial incentives. It makes sense; compensation is obviously important. But while performance-fueled bonuses are common, they provide little long-term motivation, can cause rifts among team members, and may encourage talent to jump ship for other opportunities – especially when companies display favoritism by offering bonuses to workers in certain roles, regardless of their efficacy on the job.
  • Introduce huge signing bonuses. Nothing says “work for me!” like a five- or six-figure bonus just for getting hired, right? Of course. But offering massive hiring bonuses also leads to expensive bidding wars and feelings of dissatisfaction among existing employees who didn’t get the same treatment, which can contribute to turnover. Ultimately, it’s an underbaked strategy that’s often not worth the investment.

These are just a few of the most notable outdated offenders when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. While those methods were pretty effective not too long ago, it’s time to upgrade. 

Top HR leaders recommend focusing on these three key areas:

  • Boosting internal mobility: “Employees at companies with high internal mobility stay almost 2 times longer than those who don’t, and those who have found new roles internally are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged than those who haven’t.” (Mark Lobosco, LinkedIn)
  • Providing more meaningful upskilling: “[B]usinesses will need to make sure that incentives don’t lead to employees learning only for learning’s sake. Companies need to give employees a way to apply skills and make use of their new knowledge.” (Danielle Phaneuf, PwC)
  • Investing in career pathing: “Helping employees propel their careers forward gets to the heart of what jobseekers are really looking for. In 2022, we’ll see more companies prioritize the career growth of their employees through development channels like career coaching and mentoring.” (Cameron Yarbrough, Torch)

It’s undoubtedly important to get good talent in the door, but shifting paradigms and the talent-driven marketplace mean companies need to place more emphasis on retention – and skills intelligence is the common thread.

When management focuses on internal mobility, useful upskilling, and clear career pathing, they can reap the benefits of less costly turnover, improved company culture, and more opportunities for organizational growth.

The bottom line

Employees invest in employers who invest in them – even more so during The Big Quit. Thankfully, adopting a skills intelligence approach to talent management doesn’t have to be difficult. Download our white paper to learn more about the faux pas employers are making when it comes to attracting and retaining tech pros, what you can do to improve your own strategies, and how to make navigating The Great Resignation a little easier.

Skills Intelligence & Great Resignation White Paper
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