New year, new job? Give employees reasons to stay

We’ve all heard the saying, “Love what you do and do what you love.” And during the pandemic, the importance of that statement has never been more appropriate. Many people have taken stock of their lives and their careers to try to make that statement a reality.


It’s as if people have had “New Year’s Resolutions” about their careers all year long, leading to this mass exodus from either their current role or from the workforce as a whole. Historically, about 2.3% of the workforce leave their job in January. And since August, 2.9% have already quit, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, it leaves us to ask, how high will that figure get by January 2022?


It may be time to address the elephant in the room. Ask yourself, are your employees happy with their current situation? As an employer, are you truly offering what candidates want? Most importantly, are you working to retain your staff with the upcoming resolution season?


According to recent SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) research, there’s actually a divide in employer/employee beliefs when it comes to the most important benefits. Employees want one thing while employers believe another. The top three reasons U.S. workers are searching for jobs are for:


  1. Better compensation (53%)
  2. Better work-life balance (42%)
  3. Better benefits (36%)


Meanwhile, the top three reasons U.S. executives think workers are searching for new jobs are:

  1. Better benefits (28%)
  2. Better career advancement opportunities (28%)
  3. Discomfort in the workplace due to COVID-19 (26%)


The easiest solution could be simply asking employees and consultants what they want, instead of assuming. Do you survey your people about their job satisfaction? And if not, why aren’t you?


At Synergis, we take satisfaction surveys very seriously. Not only for our internal employees but for our consultants too. Every October, we participate in the ClearlyRated Best of Staffing Award survey. This enables us to survey internal employees, consultants and clients. We don’t have the overall results yet, but we got some great testimonials from consultants and employees. Here are just a few.


“Since beginning my career with Synergis, I have always felt that my manager and the leadership as a whole really care about each employee. I value the fact that I know I can always talk to my manager, that she is constantly helping me to become better, and helping me set goals for my future career aspirations within Synergis. This, coupled with the fact that I like coming to work and enjoy working with the people that are around me, make this a great place overall!” said a Synergis employee.


And a Synergis consultant said, “I had a great experience working with Synergis. My contacts within the company were friendly, helpful, and always wanted the best for me. No matter my concern, I always felt like I was heard. Everyone worked to help me find a job that was a good fit for me. I would definitely recommend others to work with Synergis.”


While we love to hear comments like this, we also know we’re not perfect. And we’re not immune to the pressures of the Great Resignation, either. We have some things to work on to keep our workforce intact.


So, I asked our Vice President of Human Resources, Leona Rapelye, about what we’re doing to avoid being another victim of the Great Resignation. She said that action on employee feedback is key. You can’t just check a box to say you surveyed your employees. You must take steps to show your employees you’re listening to their feedback and making changes accordingly.


For example, she shared with me some feedback from a 2020 employee survey. Synergis employees said that we need to focus more on diversity and inclusion efforts. In response, Synergis formed a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) committee of employees “to provide a framework to value, encourage, support and embed a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace for all employees.” The goal is to have a culture where we listen to each other, treat each other fairly and compassionately, and value different perspectives.


We believe that DE&I efforts are crucial to our business success. And most working professionals agree. Nearly 80% of workers in a CNBC/SurveyMonkey Workforce Survey conducted in April 2021 said they want to work for a company that values diversity, equity and inclusion.


Leona said that another major area of focus for us is career development programming. Through the process of supporting career development goals and employee learning needs, we are committed to investing in the future of our employees. So, it sounds great, but what does it mean exactly?


Career development programming fosters employee competence, the ability to excel, and serves as the foundation for succession planning. And in this job market, it could make all the difference in whether an employee goes or stays. According to the training company Lorman, 70% of employees would be somewhat likely to leave their current job to work for an organization known for investing in employee development and learning.


We also have a new initiative to focus on the Employee Experience. Basically, it’s the sum of every interaction an employee has throughout their journey with the organization. This goes back to the saying, “Love what you do and do what you love.” People are at work for a good portion of their day, so they might as well enjoy their experience at the same time.


Leona said that the purpose of our Employee Experience Team is “to translate our vision, values and relationships into actions that enhance our culture, our environment and ensure employees have the right tools to do their jobs.” This might include fun employee events, recognition programs, community involvement, enhanced communications and other great ways to connect and engage with employees. Ultimately, the committee will help to determine what our top priorities in this area need to be so that it speaks directly to what employees value.


Like most employers, we are continually reviewing compensation and benefits as well, said Leona. The market is constantly changing, and salary requirements must remain competitive. The typical annual raise of 2% to 3% just won’t cut it anymore. And employees are realizing that they can job hop to get more of a bump in pay instead.


As the number one reason to look for another job, people will leave for better pay. But there’s another reason for leaving. At number three is: better benefits.


I’ll leave you with one last thought. Job resignations can be contagious and hurt your business as well as those who choose to stay. For younger millennials and Gen Z-ers, it can get them thinking about pursuing other opportunities after they witness their colleagues leaving in droves.


On top of that, the traditional thought that sharing your compensation is tacky or taboo no longer applies. Employees are openly having conversations about their salary to compare and then demand what they think they’re worth. And if you don’t give it to them, someone out there will. Employees are motivated to seek out who is offering the “ideal situation” for them.


According to SHRM research, younger millennials and Gen Z – who make up much of the current U.S. workforce – are more likely than earlier generations to wonder if their pay is enough (63%). Further research adds the likelihood they acknowledge better opportunities outside of their current job (60%), think about leaving their job more often following a direct colleague’s resignation (50%), feel more isolated (35%) and less loyal toward their organization (28%). In short, younger millennials and Gen Z are changing the status quo.


In my opinion, it all comes down to offering what employees are looking for in an employer. And while compensation is important, it’s not the only factor that you can control. Additional programs and perks like the ones at Synergis could make your employees second guess their new year, new job resolution.



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