Using data-driven techniques to beat the Great Resignation

Much has been written about the long-term impact COVID-19 will have on how people do their jobs. Throughout the pandemic, people had the space and time to consider what really matters to them, and to ask the big questions such as “Am I happy?”

For many people, the crisis has acted as a catalyst for change, leading to the Great Resignation, or the Great Talent Swap for those that lost employees to a competitor or different company. Life goals people perhaps once only daydreamed about are now becoming a reality with the plethora of options and flexibility now available.

Our research at Workhuman bears this out: 30% of people looking for a new job say they are doing so for greater flexibility, and it seems that parents are particularly motivated to change, accounting for 65% of the total of job seekers. Clearly, many workers are looking for ways to better manage family and work responsibilities.

For instance, research we conducted for our Human Workplace Index revealed that 56% of respondents who want to stay at their company say it’s because they like their company and/or co-workers. Culture is therefore key to winning and retaining workers.

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All of this is to say that businesses and leaders need to act. The Great Resignation has created an employee market where people have a wealth of openings available to them and they can be more selective about who they work for. Employers therefore need to give current employees a reason to stay and prospective employees a reason to apply.

Building a strong employer brand is now mission critical. Companies that fail to do so risk stifling their own growth for a want of talent, as this voluntary turnover could cost businesses around the world billions of dollars.

Given today’s labor market, ensuring that the employee experience is frictionless, rewarding and based on a culture of reward and recognition is more important than ever.

Here are three areas where businesses can leverage data-driven techniques to drive employee satisfaction:

Human-centered technology

Traditionally, HR technology has been transactional and focused on the task. The technology needed right now focuses on the people just as much as it does on their experience of the task being done.

Human-centered technology that powers actions such as continuous feedback, employee recognition, celebrating individual and team accomplishments, and building a more human workplace have measurable bottom-line benefits because they strengthen employees’ emotional ties to each other and the organization.

One approach could be to set up a peer-to-peer recognition platform where people can publicly recognize the work of their colleagues. The platform could potentially link to a rewards program whereby employees gain points toward goods or experiences. From an analytics perspective, the approach also provides valuable data on where good work is being done in the organization and by whom, enabling employers to identify high performers and ensure that they are adequately engaged at work.

Users of Workhuman’s employee recognition platform, Social Recognition, have a social feed to amplify peer-to-peer awards. The amplifying effect of this on the social feed allows anyone to see what’s happening in the organization, which is important these days, as you can’t overhear praise at the water cooler.

Plus, we are able to collect data that shows the impact of recognition on voluntary turnover. For example, our research suggests that with just five moments of recognition per year, voluntary turnover is reduced by 22%.

Digital check-ins

COVID is changing when and where work gets done. That can be great for employees, as it provides them with the flexibility that many people crave. However, there’s also a danger that people might start to feel isolated from the company culture and disconnected from their managers. That, in turn, might cause them to wonder whether they have a future at the company.

Here, consistent and clear communication is critical. We found that when workers have weekly check-ins, they are twice as likely to see a path to grow in the organization, feel meaning and purpose at work, trust their manager and feel a sense of belonging. New digital platforms can be used to create these communications and facilitate data gathering to glean insights on the workforce.

Thanks to technology, rigid performance management structures such as quarterly reviews can be replaced with much more useful manager-employee interactions that can be initiated by either party and carried out immediately. Over time, a record of these interactions will provide important insights on feedback, progress and performance reviews that can then be used to fuel employee satisfaction programs such as the employee recognition moments outlined above.

Employee sentiment analysis

Especially during turbulent times, being able to keep a finger on the pulse of employee sentiment is critical. If employers can support slight shifts in how employees are feeling, they can often nip potential issues in the bud. This is an important tool to ensure that the needs of workers are met and that they are experiencing high levels of satisfaction.

Data-driven automation and analytics can play a role here. Modern tools enable employers to automate staff surveys and keep them constantly in motion. Analytics tools can then be used to ensure that the right surveys are getting to the right employees, as well as to sift the completed surveys for pattern analysis. The best tools will also provide actionable insights that HR and managers can use to boost employee engagement.

Given today’s labor market, ensuring that the employee experience is frictionless, rewarding and based on a culture of reward and recognition is more important than ever. Fortunately, advances in data analytics and automation mean it has never been easier to understand what makes your people tick and tailor retention programs accordingly.

As the Great Resignation gathers pace, businesses that differentiate by leveraging their own data will be most likely to win, retain and recruit the people they need.