How appreciation can reverse the Great Resignation trend

11 March, 2022

How appreciation can reverse the Great Resignation trend

The great resignation is a term used for a massive movement among workers around the world to quit their jobs- 24 million people quit their jobs in the second half of 2021 alone as per the U.S Labor Bureau Statistics. The reasons behind this ongoing trend are multiple, but they all boil down to a single contention- workers are no longer feeling valued and appreciated at their workplaces.

Companies are well aware of the cost they pay for attrition. It takes 1.5-2X of an employee’s salary to get a replacement. This is exclusive of the impact on client relationships, team morale and institutional knowledge. Therefore, as a reaction to the great resignation, many companies have tried implementing one-off, blanket employee incentives like pay hikes to improve retention- with little impact. Monetary incentives are not the primary motivation for today’s millennial workforce, who seek fulfillment, purpose and a shared sense of identity through their occupation. The human tragedies caused by the pandemic further intensified these more intangible needs in employees’ minds.

Given this scenario, employers need to connect their employee engagement efforts to what their employees need. Gallup found that 74% of people looking for a new job post-pandemic were disengaged despite having a role and pay package of their choice. Additionally, a 2021 McKinsey study stated that feeling undervalued by their organization was a top factor driving resignations. This blog aims to walk you through practical, long-term solutions that focus on fulfilling these core relational needs of employees:

1. Spread Gratitude

Expressing gratitude to employees has found to reduce workplace negativity, promote interpersonal bonds and feelings of support. Having a gratitude wall on your communications channel or a dedicated employee appreciation tool can promote appreciation as a regular org-wide practice. Senior leadership initiating thank you notes can particularly motivate others down the hierarchy to appreciate their peers, thereby making gratitude a habit.

2. Connect Work to Impact

An interesting experiment led by Adam Grant revealed that when employees, in this case those working to raise university alumni donations, received direct appreciation from a student about how their work helped his education, they made 142% more efforts and raised 171% more money than those who weren’t exposed to this appreciative feedback. This shows how effective beneficiary or customer feedback can be for employee morale. Integrating your appreciation platform with CRM software can help customers directly share appreciation with workers in real-time.

3. Focus on Symbolic Awards

Monetary awards can feel impersonal and transactional in nature, failing to create an emotional connect with employees. Using symbolic gestures like a note of thanks, a congratulatory e-card, public recognition, certificates, plaques and physical gifts are known to enhance motivation and retention among employees. An employee rewards vendor can help facilitate timely delivery of custom merchandize, gratitude hamper and award trophies to employees’ homes, given that many employees continue to work remotely.

Creating a positive and appreciative work culture need not be complex, but requires small, concerted efforts spread over time to yield results. The great resignation is an assertion of employees’ needs to experience deeper meaning in their jobs, which can be provided by aligning employee recognition with the organization’s larger mission and goals. Having an effective rewards framework means catering to employees’ holistic needs. With the right appreciation practices in place, it is possible to not just curb but reverse the great resignation.

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