Earlier this year, the SHRM Executive Network speculated that the end of the Great Resignation would take place — and since then, many in the human resources realm have been waiting.
Going into summer 2023, experts saw the plateau in quitting that they’ve been expecting. Some news sources surmised that the end of the era was upon us in May, but it wasn’t until July that the New York Times finally announced that the Great Resignation was officially over.
If you haven’t heard the term in a while, here’s a refresher: over the past two years, millions of workers quit their jobs in the United States. This mass exodus (dubbed the Great Resignation) led to greater power in the hands of the employee and subsequent raises in wages, increased benefits, and greater flexibility for those who remained in the workforce because there were more jobs available than there were people to work them.
Just when you think you have the hiring market figured out, everything changes.
The good news? The hiring playing field is leveling out in the favor of employers — if you continue to provide a work environment that workers want to be at.
Read on to learn more about what you can do to put the right people in the right seats at your organization and more importantly, keep them there, in the months ahead.
How do we know the Great Resignation is ending?
While we can’t give the Great Resignation a hard end date, we can look at the context that has led many to believe that this cultural phenomenon is over. In terms of data, people are voluntarily leaving their roles in fewer and fewer numbers as time goes on, which is a drastic change from when the Great Resignation was in full swing. In fact, in industries with high turnover rates historically, like the hospitality sector, resignations are back to their pre-pandemic levels.
The primary driver behind this change is the possible recession that has been looming in the distance for around a year now. The threat of another economic upheaval has led many workers and those in the labor force to hedge their bets when it comes to employment — meaning that if you meet their basic expectations, they’re not likely to look for greener pastures at another employer. People want to avoid uncertainty as much as possible, and with the future looking murky, staying somewhere that will provide a steady paycheck and treat them with respect looks considerably better than being unemployed and unable to find another role.
What you can do to keep your best team
Just because fewer workers are quitting doesn’t mean that all of the benefits you’ve come to understand as table stakes in hiring can suddenly just disappear. Job seekers may have slightly less influence in the hiring process, but you still need to keep your people happy at work in order to stand out to the applicants that are out there if you want to add to your team
To do this, we suggest a multipronged approach that touches on every aspect of the employee life cycle, from recruitment to years on the job.
Make their first day a great one
According to our latest State of Hiring Report, 80% of survey takers who had a positive onboarding experience stated that they are loyal to their current employer. On the other hand, when they reported having a negative onboarding experience, that number dropped to just 44%. As you can see, one of the most effective ways to keep your employees engaged is by setting them up for success on their first day.
The easiest way to make a new hire’s first day a great one is simply by using an applicant tracking system that directly integrates with your preferred payroll provider. With this technology, you’re able to seamlessly sync sensitive information — such as name spelling, banking details, and more — all while eliminating room for manual error on behalf of your team. As a bonus, you could even start digital onboarding before their first day so they can begin training instead of being separated from their new coworkers while they fill out this important paperwork. For the employee, this means that not only will they have more time to bond with their new teammates but that their first payday will be a smooth process, so long as they have entered their information correctly.
Surround yourself with your employees’ friends
People want to be with their friends — and they tend to trust their friends’ judgment when it comes to whether or not they enjoy where they’re working. If you’ve created an environment that promotes a great work culture, then you’ve already done the hard work; now, you just need to find a way to capture the friends, family, and former colleagues that your existing employees have in their networks in order to build a passive talent pipeline.
With fewer people actively entering the job market willingly, it will become more important than ever to find ways to connect with those who are employed and may not necessarily be searching for a new role. This is where one of the most successful recruiting methods comes into play: employee referrals.
With modern technology, establishing an employee referral program that works is much simpler than it was in the past. Instead of manually monitoring various spreadsheets to track who submitted which name, when payouts are supposed to be awarded, and the like, this software can easily integrate with your applicant tracking system so nothing gets overlooked. Now all you need to start reaching out to talent and build a backlog of potential candidates is to make it easy for your employees to submit names and contact information for people in their network that they think would be a good fit at your company. The easier you make this process, the better results you’ll receive!
Offer employees what they really want
Employees will tell you what they really want if you ask them. While there are slight variations between industries, the most common desires that workers express include scheduling flexibility, on-demand pay, and room to grow their careers.
Toward the end of the pandemic, there was a great push by workers for more remote work — but you can’t fix an engine or check a patient’s vitals from your living room. Some industries will always need feet on the ground; for businesses in these sectors, you can still offer a degree of flexibility with your schedule. Instead of having a full eight-hour shift, you could split it up into two four-hour segments. Or, you could allow workers to have more say in when they want to work. This gives employees the ability to manage their work-life balance, one of the major benefits that came out of the pandemic.
Another way to offer flexibility to your staff is by offering on-demand pay. This is a form of payment that allows workers to withdraw their earnings whenever they want or need to, instead of waiting for payday. For many in the labor force, this payment method is attractive because, unfortunately, life doesn’t follow a two week schedule. Tires go flat and people get sick at any time; if they can access their funds immediately, they can often remedy these situations as they arise. With most people in the United States living paycheck to paycheck, on-demand pay can be the decision-maker in accepting a new offer or staying at their current job.
With these requests in mind, you can craft people policies that work for your team — and help make your organization more attractive to potential applicants in the future. Again, just because the pendulum of hiring power is swinging back in your favor does not mean that you can remove all of the ‘extras’ you’ve incorporated to make your business a place people want to work at. In fact, we believe that if you continue to offer these strategies into your business, you’ll have fewer issues recruiting and hiring in the future while other companies get rid of some of these perks that applicants have come to see as status quo.
Let them see a future for themselves
We mentioned earlier that employees really want room to grow, but that’s even more true with the uncertain economic climate. Workers want certainty — what better way is there to show them that they have a future with your company than by providing them with opportunities to advance their careers with you?
The first step to this tactic is to develop career pathways. If you have anyone on your team who has climbed the ranks, be sure to advertise their growth on your social media, your career site, and in your internal communications. The first step to believing is seeing, so you want to make their success as public as possible to both your existing employees and anyone out there who might be thinking about applying. Odds are that there are more than one existing career pathway at your organization; you just need to find the opportunities available for internal promotion and encourage team members to make it happen.
You could take this a step further by offering on-the-job training for those who might not have the necessary skills or qualifications for the role. If employees need a certification in order to advance their career, you could begin an education credit program where you assist them with the costs related to acquiring that accreditation. In the end, this will pay off for your business — if a role opens up that you can fill fast internally, you’ll save money in the long run.
What the end of the Great Resignation means for you
The end of the Great Resignation should be good news for employers — but hiring managers might have other concerns as the talent pool shrinks smaller and smaller. The key to maintaining operations will be to cater to your existing employees. By continuing to make your business one that employees want to work for, you will have fewer people willingly leave their roles and make your workplace more appealing to those still on the market.
For more insight on what applicants in your industry are really looking for, check out our sector-specific State of Hiring Reports.