If there’s ever been a workplace buzzword that employers will be happy to see put to rest, it’s the “Great Resignation.” As 2023 brings about significant workplace changes, the “Big Quit” is transitioning into the “Big Stay.” The share of Americans quitting their jobs and the rate of monthly job openings is declining. As pay raises for job switchers wane, the economy remains uncertain, and hiring across industries changes, employees feel less confident about switching positions. While the Big Stay sounds positive for employers, it’s not necessarily guaranteed that workers will stay put, and the tide could turn at any time.
Small business leaders can leverage this shift to encourage their employees to stay put regardless of employment trends. Keep reading to learn more about the workplace trend taking over 2023 and how you can use it to your advantage.
What is the Big Stay?
This new workplace trend is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a prediction that employees will hang onto their current jobs in the coming months to weather current economic conditions. The term was coined by economist Nela Richardson in a commentary based on ADP research. With US job openings down 20% in March from a year ago, it appears the period of record voluntary turnover among employees is slowing. However, many might argue that it doesn’t necessarily signal employee intentions for the future.
Still, there is more driving the trend than declining quit rates. Richardson also noted these stats:
- In the first three months of 2023, quits fell 5% from the prior period and more than double that from a year ago.
- The labor force participation rates for workers aged 25 to 54 are up to 83.3%, the highest rate in 25 years.
- Year-over-year pay increases gained by job switchers dropped from 16.4% in June 2022 to 13.2% in April 2023.
A January 2023 survey by Valuvox supports the idea that employees feel more cautious about quitting. Nearly half of the employees interviewed (47%) will not seek a new job in 2023, and 37% plan to prioritize career growth. Additionally, the percentage of job seekers entering the job market for the first time has increased from 16% to 23%.
How to Use the Big Stay as an Opportunity
While the numbers are encouraging, this isn’t a good time for employers to become complacent. Although wage growth for job switchers is declining, it’s currently 6.9% compared to 5.7% for job stayers. Perhaps more importantly, overall job satisfaction is 3.6% higher among those who have found a new job since the pandemic began compared to those who have not. The concept of returns for workplace loyalty has eroded over time. As a result, employees have little reason not to switch jobs for more money. For employers to change this mindset, they’ll have to place their focus on employees.
Proactive small business leaders should see the Big Stay trend as an opportunity to engage their best-performing team members so that when the market changes, the best performers stay and thrive. These tips can help you build solid relationships with your employees to see higher retention rates despite workplace trends.
Treat Your People Well
A Pew Research study revealed that 57% of US workers left a job in 2021 because they felt disrespected at work. Disrespect can come from both co-workers and managers and takes many forms. You can incorporate respect for employees into your workplace in many ways, including:
- Take reports of toxic workplace behavior seriously via investigations, take action, and create policies and programs to improve workplace culture. Positive relationships with co-workers foster a sense of belonging.
- Consider how you can integrate flexibility into employee schedules.
- Avoid over-burdening employees with excessive overtime and overbearing workloads.
- Reward employees for their contributions to the workplace.
- Eliminate pay disparities in your organization.
Have Clear and Consistent Communication
Workplace communication provides employees information about their job roles, builds relationships, and supplies company leaders with essential feedback. Create multiple avenues of communication between employees and upper management. This can include memos, messaging platforms, meetings, collaborative projects, one-on-one meetings, etc.
Lead with Transparency and Accountability
A PwC survey revealed that 92% of business leaders, 92% of consumers, and 94% of employees agree that organizations must build trust. However, 79% of business executives say their employees trust the company, but only 65% agree.
Transparency and accountability in leadership encompass how you interact with customers and employees. Take these steps to improve transparency in your leadership style.
- Provide clear information about your expectations of employees.
- Stand behind your words with actions. Do what you say you will.
- When you make mistakes, own up to them and apologize.
- Practice active listening and show empathy for employees.
Create Pathways for Employees to Grow
According to a McKinsey study, lack of career development and advancement was why employees quit their jobs from April 2021 – April 2022. Lack of meaningful work was the fourth most cited reason. As technology evolves, workplace roles are constantly changing. Ongoing education is essential for employees to stay current in their roles. This investment improves employee engagement by showing employees they have a future in the organization.
Get to Know What’s Important to the Individual
Gartner research shows that while 82% of employees say it’s essential for their organization to see them as a person, not just an employee, only 45% believe their organization sees them this way. Employees are individuals with different needs. For example, 45% of mothers with children aged five and under who left the workforce during the pandemic cited childcare as a primary reason for their departure. Employers can meet the individual needs of these employees by incorporating flexibility into schedules or providing childcare backup for employees. Conduct employee surveys and encourage employee feedback to learn more about the compensation your employees seek.
Many employers may see the upward trend in retention as a reason to relax. Using this period as an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your current employees, you can improve employee engagement within your organization and retention during good times and bad. Contact Inspiring HR to help you uncomplicate your HR and empower your small business.