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3 Ways to Prepare for the “Great Resignation”

by Cord Himelstein


As summer approaches, vaccinations are opened to all and pandemic conditions improve, we inch closer to the cusp of what analysts are calling a “Great Resignation”.

Employee Retention and the Great Resignation

As spring approaches, vaccinations are opened to all and pandemic conditions improve, we inch closer to the cusp of what analysts are calling a “Great Resignation”. By all accounts, employees are feeling restless and millions of them are ready to move on as soon as the outside world gets brighter. 40% of employees who responded to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index said they were considering looking for another job this year. Among the report’s other significant findings: remote job postings have increased 5x since the pandemic, and 46% of respondents said they were planning to relocate because they can now work remotely. Sudden resignations can be disastrous to productivity, leaving many companies to not-so-idly fret about what the best employee retention practices will be for the remainder of 2021.

3 Employee Retention Best Practices for 2021

Thankfully job seekers have not been shy about what’s needed to keep them happy and engaged through the rest of the year. As early as 2020 Global Workplace Analytics reported that an overwhelming majority of people feel more productive, satisfied, and secure in their new hybrid office environments, leading to safe predictions based on how we’ve adapted to the hybrid life so far. That said, here are three fundamental ways companies can keep steady footing amid the Great Resignation of 2021:

  • Be More Flexible Than You Think You Need To – According to Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey, workers who want to quit overwhelmingly say they’re looking for a job with more flexibility. Furthermore, a 2021 survey on remote work found that 77% of teleworkers say they are more productive and an eye-popping 99% want to continue working remotely after the pandemic. Flexibility and embracing new hybrid office dynamics will be invaluable to retention and recruitment going forward.
  • Make Regular Health Check-Ins – If a company makes all the right moves keeping a workforce happy and engaged but still experiences sudden resignations, it’s a good bet that poor communication is the culprit. Cultivating relationships with staff and doing regular check-ins to stay ahead of their needs is mission-critical at a time when concern for mental and physical health is an utmost priority. You may not be able to stop every resignation, but with earnest communication it will at least never feel sudden and you will gain valuable feedback.
  • Boost Recognition Efforts – Throughout the pandemic employees have been highly responsive to recognition for their work, a sense of inclusion and safety, and above-and-beyond moral support, and this trend shows no signs of stopping. Companies that go the extra mile to recognize employees with compassion and empathy enjoy better overall engagement and lower voluntary turnover, the reasons for which should be obvious. The more you can bolster recognition and engagement efforts now, the more robust your turnover defenses become later.

Employee Experience is Everything

The pandemic may have disrupted our preconceptions of finding work and transformed the dynamics of job-hopping, but the changes have been largely superficial. While the methods of recruitment and retention may look more complex than ever in 2021, it’s important to not get lost in the hype. The simple things are still what drive people to stay with an organization – empathy and kindness, flexibility, and positive relationships with managers and coworkers. Focus on creating that experience in a sincere manner and you’ll be well prepared for the “Great Resignation”.

About the author

Cord Himelstein

Cord Himelstein

Vice President of Digital Marketing

A dynamic B2B marketer with 20+ years of proven experience connecting people and brands, Cord posts regularly on the HALO blog and contributes to the Forbes Communications Council. His work offers unique insights into the employee experience, brand building and has been featured in leading industry publications including Entrepreneur, SmartBrief, Ragan and Incentive Magazine.