The Great Resignation and the Requirement of a Data-driven Approach from HR
During the past few months, there have been rampant talks regarding the Great Resignation spree, especially in the US and many European countries. Several theories have been put forward on why this phenomenon is happening, such as people wanting their own way of thinking, having freedom from a salaried culture, searching avenues to serve the community based on one’s own value system, and enjoying life leisurely without being shackled. Initial reports in media viewed pay and compensation as an important issue for this turnover, however, it was analyzed later on that pay-related issues was not figuring even on the top ten important reasons for this movement.
Factors contributing employees to leave
If it is not the pay and compensation, then what exactly is driving this phenomenon? According to a study done by MIT, the top five reasons why people resign from their jobs are as follows:
- Culture: Employees are more comfortable in organizations where diversity, equity, and inclusion are being promoted. Reversely, employees felt an aversion towards experiences of disrespect and unethical behavior within the company.
- Perceived job threats: Due to the prolonged situation brought by the pandemic, the financial position of an organization may be in the red. As such, employees feel that they could get laid off from their job; as a precautionary measure, they start searching for new jobs.
- Too much focus on the idea of “innovation”: Currently, there is a focus on innovation and digital acceleration such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. While employees in an organization talk positively about innovation, they also realize that it is hard to innovate which eventually causes burnout.
- Performance recognition: During the pandemic, most employees started working from home. Under this environment, it is difficult to distinguish high-performing employees from the rest, ultimately leading to common minimum recognition and rewards instead of logically differentiated ones.
- Response to COVID-19:The response and tackling of the COVID-19 situation by an organization is greatly linked to the confidence and loyalty of their employees.
What approaches can be adopted
Organizations, particularly Human Resources (HR), must take a data-driven approach to tackle this issue, first by determining not just the quantum of people quitting but by finding who exactly has more turnover risk to the company. Of course, approaches will vary from organization to organization, however, there are a few basic steps involved.
First, by quantifying the problem wherein the attrition rate is calculated, it should be analyzed at a granular level. This analysis should show information such as the category of people leaving in terms of function, age, gender, position, experience, or the number of years in the organization. One can use analysis to identify how much of turnover is coming from voluntary resignations and involuntary resignations.
As a next step, the impact of attrition on the key business matrix can be evaluated, including the cost of resignations. This analysis will help in identifying the root cause of the problem and segment of people to be focused on for retention strategy. There could be some obvious reasons such as compensation, promotions, pay increases, rewards, recognition, and training opportunities.
However, to identify softer issues such as trends and blind spots, it needs detailed employees’ feedback and one-to-one interaction. Here, a data-based HR approach is important since it can capture an employee’s mindset and convert it into meaningful analysis. After this step, companies can create highly customized programs for segments of people and identify specific factors to be corrected. The idea is to take care of factors that highly correlate to the attrition rate.
Data-driven strategy for addressing high retention rates is difficult and resource-consuming. On top of that, doing it right is a real challenge since poorly done analysis may lead to wrong corrective actions. Nevertheless, it is worth following a data-driven strategy, especially when you want to implement a targeted retention policy. As a result, organizations can attract talent, reduce talent acquisition costs, and can develop an engaged and motivated workforce contributing from the bottom to the top line.