“The Big Stay” and What It Means for Small Business HR

Not long ago, HR managers were wringing their hands over the “Great Resignation,” wherein large swaths of workers quit their jobs in search of greener pastures. But now there is a new trend on the horizon – ‘The Big Stay.’ It seems workers are finally staying put. As of March 2023, the monthly quit rate had dropped to just 2.5%, down from 2.9% in 2021.

So, is the Big Stay here to stay? Let’s explore the factors motivating this current trend and what it means for small business HR.

What’s Causing the Big Stay?

The Great Resignation was largely fueled by an abundance of job opportunities and the promise of pay increases. But these factors seem to be abating, prompting workers to stay put rather than longing for something new. While we may like to think it’s because we’re offering great workplaces, the main reason seems to be the uncertain financial times ahead.

Additionally, journalist Derek Thompson reports that 80% of employees who quit during the Great Resignation now regret that decision. Only about half of workers found the mythical work-life balance they’d hoped for, and many found themselves missing their former co-workers.

What the Big Stay Means for Small Business HR

For small businesses, while the recruiting pressure may be easing, now is not the time to get comfortable. Rather, it’s an ideal time to amp up your efforts in giving your employees a reason to stay.

How can your culture be improved? Are there development opportunities to exploit? Are you offering the work-life balance people expect these days?

The Big Stay represents an opportunity to bolster your retention efforts. According to Gallup Polls, employee turnover costs small businesses a total of $1 trillion each year

By retaining your best employees, you’ll save money as well as ensure that you keep your team working at peak efficiency. Here are some ways to maximize your retention strategies during the Big Stay.

Provide Purpose

Today’s workers are after more than just a paycheck. They want to know that they’re working to change the world — or, at the very least, have an impact on their community.

Connecting them to a deeper sense of purpose is critical to keeping your workers happy and engaged. Sometimes this can be as simple as emphasizing how their role aligns to the company’s mission or strategic goals. 

Some companies are also making efforts to provide community service opportunities for their employees. This not only provides a platform to make an impact in the local community, but also doubles as a team-building exercise that knits your workers together.

Pursue Flexibility and Autonomy

No one likes to be micromanaged and if business leaders learned anything during the pandemic, it’s that organizations can thrive, even when their workers are working remotely.

Even though a purely-remote solution isn’t likely feasible, you can still provide options for a hybrid work schedule that lets workers work from home on select days.

This schedule can be ideal for parents of young children, and it can also provide a greater sense of work-life balance that particularly appeals to younger generations.

Eliminate Friction

Workers are often attracted to companies because of the benefits they provide. But what happens when it becomes difficult to get help with these benefits?

HR personnel can remove friction by making it easier for employees to receive the assistance they need with various health insurance questions or changes they require. Anything that makes the process less confusing and easier is a plus, whether it be additional internal or external resources, in-service sessions, etc. 

Even sharing a list of insurance providers (and their contact details) can make it easier for employees to find the information they need. The more easily they can access these benefits, the more likely they are to remain with your company.

Show Appreciation

Admittedly, Employee of the Month programs are a bit passé. But there are other ways to show gratitude and appreciation for your star workers.

Taking time to single out employees (or teams) can go a long way in making your workers feel valued. You might even feature individuals on your website or social media channels to highlight their contributions.

But your greatest appreciation will take the form of raises and bonuses. It can help to clearly communicate your raise/bonus structure to your employees so they know what benchmarks they’ll need to reach to obtain these rewards. Keeping clear financial goals in sight will encourage workers to stay at your company and give it their best.

Listen to Feedback

One of the most meaningful things you can do for your workers is to listen. Create opportunities to invite feedback on their experience with the company. Some small businesses even distribute employee engagement surveys to track employee engagement over time.

Listening also means following up on employee feedback and making changes when necessary. Even if a change isn’t possible, your workers will still feel heard and understood, which can nurture a stronger relationship within your organization.

Make the Big Stay, stay

If you’re looking to enhance employee retention and cultivate a positive company culture, collaborating with Focus HR can create work environments that people won’t want to leave. Contact Focus HR today to request a consultation.

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