- Publish date
- Feb 2, 2022
Few things are as important to an organization as a reliable and loyal workforce. This is especially true today in the era of the Great Resignation. At the end of the day, your workforce is the lifeblood of your company's operations.
If you struggle with retaining employees, chances are, your bottom line and operations also suffer. In today's post, we help you understand the link between flexible working and employee retention.
The Great Resignation: Why Are Employees Quitting?
2021 was a historic time in the business environment. Aside from a raging pandemic that led to delayed operations, and huge losses for businesses, Covid also fueled one of the highest employee resignation numbers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.5 million people quit their jobs in November 2021. While most of the resignations occurred in low-wage industries, other industries like health and tech were also not spared.
Unfortunately, the Great Resignation is still a looming risk that most businesses have to encounter. In fact, a September 2021 survey of 1200 employees showed that 72% of tech employees are thinking of quitting their jobs within the next 12 months.
Numerous reasons contributed to the great resignation and continue to do so, but a few key causes stand out. For instance, in a Limeade survey, 40% of respondents cited burnout as the top reason for quitting. Lack of flexibility came in second at 20%.
The Covid wave made most employees rethink their career choices, work-life balance, and long-term goals. Ultimately, 2021 became the year when the stars aligned in employees' favor.
As more employees quit, most companies were left with open positions that needed filling. In turn, employees gained more confidence to resign from their jobs in search of better opportunities.
Employees can now negotiate for better perks and more flexibility with numerous opportunities available. More than anything else, employees are in search of jobs that allow them flexibility in how and when they work.
The Link Between Flexibility At Work and Employee Retention
Of course, flexibility at work has always been necessary. However, the Great Resignation showed just how vital work flexibility is. Now, as companies navigate high employee turnover, flexibility continues to be one of the top ways to boost employee retention.
According to a survey by Quantum Workplace, employees who have ample work flexibility are 4 times less likely to quit. In other words, the more flexibility an employee has, the more likely they are to be engaged and satisfied in their work.
When a company has flexible working conditions, employees feel more valued, respected, and trusted. This has a ripple effect and contributes positively to employee engagement. In turn, employees become brand ambassadors, leading to a positive brand image from your client's perspective. Also, when employees act as brand ambassadors, your chances of attracting top talent increase.
That said, if you want to retain the top talent in your organization, work flexibility is one part of a bigger picture. Employees are seeking other perks too. For instance, the September 2021 survey we mentioned showed that:
- 9 in 10 tech workers want more learning and development opportunities from their company
- 35% of tech workers would prefer more autonomy
Employees are also seeking more vacation days, better work-life balance, and increased workplace wellbeing. All of these perks come down to a flexible work environment.
Is your Company at Risk of Employee Turnover Fueled by Lack of Workplace Flexibility?
The Great Resignation sounded the wake-up call to most companies. However, not all companies are making the shift to create an environment where employees choose to stay. Your company may be at a higher risk of losing top talent if you:
1. Lack Autonomy
If employees feel constantly micromanaged, they are more likely to find employment elsewhere. Conversely, employees thrive in workplaces where they are trusted and have more control over how they perform tasks. This also ties back to flexibility. Employees would rather have more flexibility in how, when, and where they work.
2. Underappreciate Employees
Employees expect to be recognized for the effort and results they produce in their roles. If you fail to give credit where it's due, then most employees feel unvalued, and you risk losing them.
3. Have Limited Training and Development Opportunities
Ample training and development opportunities are among the greatest motivations of employees who choose to stay. If you have limited opportunities for employee advancement, then your company is at a greater risk of a high turnover.
Aside from delays in your operations, if you experience a high employee turnover, you'll also have to deal with huge losses. According to Gallup, it costs $25000 and $10000 to replace disengaged employees.
But that's not the only issue. If most of your employees are disengaged, then retaining new hires won't be any easy. Case in point: If you have a high turnover rate, new hires will most likely find disengaged employees who want to quit. This makes it twice as hard to retain new employees.
A Better Employee Experience is The Solution
If businesses focused more on employee experience as they do with customer experience, organizations would be a better place. Part of a better employee experience means creating a culture of transparency and trust. It also involves creating a collaborative environment where every employee's opinion matters. In other words, steering company culture towards inclusion and belonging will do good to a company and boost its retention rates.
Most importantly, employees expect a company that listens, engages them in decision-making and has their best interest in mind.
This means that organizations that want better employee retention need to focus on creating flexible working conditions. In addition, they need to create opportunities where employees continually have access to upskilling and career development opportunities.
How Can Your Company Start Creating a Flexible Work Environment?
It all starts by focusing on three main pillars:
- Autonomy and Flexibility
Create a culture where employees own projects and have the flexibility of where and when to work.
Communicate your mission and values to employees, and get feedback to see if your values match theirs.
Continually provide opportunities for employees to access career development and upskilling.
If you focus on creating an environment with flexible working options, you can expect better employee retention and a loyal workforce. That said, you need to understand where you stand as a company. Buchanan Tech can help you evaluate your employee retention situation with a free, no-strings-attached retention audit. Contact us to get started with the retention audit and a free guide on strategies for creating flexible work options.