Ask an Advisor: The Great Resignation and the Employees Who Stay

As an HR Knowledge Advisor, I was recently asked how employers can address low employee morale and engagement in the midst of labor shortages and high turnover.

Many employers are putting a lot of their effort into finding and attracting new talent to fill the open positions created by the Great Resignation. During this process, it is important to give the same amount of attention to the employees who remain and are left picking up the slack from their departing colleagues.

I know most of us can relate to working for organizations where we felt invisible despite the time and skill we put into our work. Without receiving feedback on the expanded tasks being taken on or the valuable continuity provided to the company, these feelings can lead to employees feeling undervalued and replaceable, which in turn may lead those left behind to seek greener pastures, too.

In my past professional experience, being transparent and acknowledging the challenges your business is facing goes a long way with employees. So does expressing your vision for the future of the organization beyond the Great Resignation. Be prompt when responding to employee feedback and acknowledge any frustrations. Transparency and prompt communication go hand-in-hand in building trust with your remaining employees and ensuring that they feel valued by the organization.

Take the time to recognize and reward existing employees in both big and small ways. Managers should check in with employees to provide more regular feedback, especially for employees who may be taking on new tasks or projects previously handled by now-departed employees. Make sure any goals are specific and measurable so that employees do not feel overwhelmed or uncertain of the organization’s expectations.

Also look for ways to reward employees beyond compensation and bonuses, and tailor these rewards based on individual employee needs and life outside of work. Take the time to get feedback from current employees about the benefits and rewards that would be meaningful to them. These benefits can range from time off to schedule flexibility to professional development opportunities.

When employers focus on the employees who stay and carry an organization through a time of change, they ensure that any new talent coming in will reap the benefits of a company culture that acknowledges the workforce.

If you want to know more about strategies to attract and retain talent or have other HR questions, we’d love to help! Give us a call or send an e-mail. We’re also available by chat. It’s one of the most valued benefits of SHRM membership!

SHRM’s Ask an Advisor service is a member benefit through which SHRM’s HR Knowledge Advisors share guidance, real-life personal and professional experiences, and resources to assist members with their HR-related inquiries.

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