t's becoming increasingly clear that talk of the "Great Resignation" is not overblown. In early October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4.3 million Americans –– 2.9% of the nation’s workforce –– had quit in August. And as business leaders continue to find themselves short staffed, and continue to lose long-time employees, many are asking the same question: Why is this happening, and how can it be addressed?
The why is quite simple in many cases. Data indicates that 1 in 3 workers faced pay cuts at some point during the pandemic, and as a result many Americans now say that their salaries aren't covering expenses, and benefits such as health and dental insurance are lacking. On top of these concerns, there’s also growing concern over mental health, with the U.S. consistently scoring lower than other countries with regard to the number of paid vacation days, maternity and paternity leave, and even paid sick leave.
Given all of this, companies are now looking into ways to keep their current employees happy and retain top talent for the long run. The following are a few notable steps that can be taken toward improving employee satisfaction.
Establishing a Healthy Work-Life Balance
In June of 2021, 74% of employees said they experience burnout while working. Establishing a healthy work-life balance can address this issue, and should be the responsibility of both employee and employer. Schedule management is an important factor here. For instance, employees should always take their PTO every year, and employers should track PTO usage to make sure there aren’t any employees that have found themselves so swamped that they haven’t taken PTO in more than a year.
Some companies go further where this topic is concerned as well, and even offer various forms of therapy for employees who find themselves burned out. This therapy gives employees the tools and resources to manage both their work time and personal time better.
Prioritizing Qualified HR
HR is sometimes viewed as a sort of side branch of a business, if not something of an afterthought. But the truth of the matter is that strength in these departments is vital where employee satisfaction is concerned. Today, a degree in human resources management is a valuable commodity for any business seeking to attract and retain top talent. HR-related jobs are projected to grow at steady rates, because business leaders are realizing more and more that recruiting talent in this department pays off with regard to broader talent pools.
Qualified HR professionals know how to handle employee concerns, bridge the divide between employees and leadership, and ultimately retain workers even under difficult circumstances. Furthermore, if employees have any concerns (such as the ones so many have had amidst recent waves of resignations), a highly qualified HR professional will be able to help them effectively.
An employee’s journey is the accumulation of every experience they've had with a particular company, from hiring to their present day's performance. It is usually filled with both negative and positive experiences, but the employer’s mission is to ensure that their employees’ journeys have an overall positive tone. Journey mapping refers to the process of creating a visual illustration of this employee timeline, and it involves everyone; the employee, immediate bosses, managers, and the HR representative should all work together to make sure that the journey is well-mapped and clear. This way, more empathetic, human relationships are established between the employees and their bosses.
Developing Employee Skills
If you've ever searched for a job online, you've probably come across some extensive lists of expected skills. No matter what position is at hand, companies today have a tendency to give the impression that employees need huge ranges of skill and appearance even to be considered for work. As a result, some companies struggle to hire talent meeting their own requirements. But part of the problem is that there is a tendency to ignore the fact that the current workforce is happy to learn the skills needed to take on jobs, improve performance, and grow.
Now with virtual and e-learning more popular than ever, companies can take advantage of online options to help level their teams up –– hiring good fits and training and up-skilling them as needed. Other options include workshops, seminars with trainers, conferences, and seminars aimed at helping employees learn new skills. So long as education and training are clear and constructive, employees will appreciate them and ultimately become both more capable and more satisfied in their work.
We hope that these tips will help companies improve their overall employee satisfaction, and open the lines of communication between all involved. The "Great Resignation" is giving employees a stronger voice than ever before, and it’s imperative that we listen.
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