A multi-cultural group of white-collar professionals discussing work

The past three to four years have seen a wave of resignations around the world. The Great Resignation, a term coined to describe the significant increase in employees leaving their jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic by Texas A&M University Professor Anthony Klotz, is not showing any signs of slowing down. This talent movement is also strongly reflected by the popularity of our article, Resignation Letter Templates, in recent years.

Even though resignation rates increased even higher than expected, this number doubled in 2022, according to our Talent Trends 2023 survey report. This is when, according to most, it should have stabilised.

Our study found that 59% of the Asia-Pacific workforce is actively seeking employment this year, coupled with the increasing uncertainty in the global economy, which means that this number is expected to increase throughout 2023.

This seismic shift has been driven by an increased focus on flexibility and work-life balance, evolving career priorities and employees’ growing expectations around how their employers should treat them.

Related: Why a good talent attraction plan is the first step to retaining your best staff

Make flexible working the standard

The pandemic has fundamentally disrupted how we work and left the traditional 9-to-5 workplace firmly in the past. Flexible work policies promote equality, increase retention and reduce exhaustion, burnout and fatigue.

Employers need to stop waiting for things to return to pre-pandemic times — how we work has forever changed. Companies that transform their mindsets from simply tolerating flexibility to embracing it as a good business strategy will have significantly better retention rates.

People don’t want hard and fast rules regarding flexibility — they want your trust to make the right decisions. Companies focusing on adaptive flexibility policies that aim to deliver at an individual level and avoid one-size-fits-all rules will have a much better chance of limiting the leaky bucket this year.

Unless a company’s approach to flexibility is holistic and end-to-end, using benefits like “hybrid work” as a selling point will not stand out to prospective talent. Instead, they become a hygiene factor in a job ad akin to vacation policy.

As companies explore what the ‘new normal’ will look like, it is critical to consider how flexible work can be embedded into organisational culture, supported by strong policies and strategies. Providing the flexibility employees now expect – ​​in terms of place, working hours, job description and career paths – will be vital to retaining staff over the long term.

Provide opportunities for development

Career progression and personal growth consistently sit at the forefront of what motivates people to stay or leave. It requires leadership to authentically commit to career progression as a critical element of its company culture and make that believable and actionable through the resulting employee experience every day. And while offering robust career development to all employees is a big ask, top talent should feel consistently engaged and supported to grow.

The more they grow and experience new things, the less motivated they may be to keep their eyes on job boards. Employers should ensure that the pay is aligned with the market and compete for talent by focusing on career advancement and promotion.

Related: How to build a learning culture in your business

Career development must be transparent, integrated into company culture, and authentically delivered through the employee experience. For a start, companies should develop a progression pathway for ambitious employees; adjust the period between promotion and retirement to below two years to improve retention and ensure compensation keeps pace with seniority.

Companies can provide training and development opportunities, such as mentorship programs, skills training, and career coaching, to help employees build new skills and advance in their careers.

Regular performance evaluations and feedback can also help employees understand where they stand regarding their career progression and what steps they can take to reach their goals.

Companies can also show their commitment to career progression by offering internal job postings, opportunities for cross-functional collaboration, and competitive compensation and benefits packages.

By providing resources and support for career development, companies can demonstrate their commitment to helping their employees achieve their career goals and grow within the organisation.

Related: The value of mentorship and sponsorship, and what it can do for your company

Foster meaningful work

Engaged, satisfied employees understand that their work is essential, find purpose in their day-to-day responsibilities and take pride in the results of their efforts. From a management perspective, it is crucial to reinforce the relationship between your employees’ roles and your company’s purpose and values. 

Have regular, transparent conversations about the company’s objectives and how employees’ efforts contribute to success. Also, invite employee feedback about company strategies and initiatives to instil a sense of ownership over the company’s direction.

Related: Why a good talent attraction plan is the first step to retaining your best staff

Develop a data-driven retention strategy

Understanding and measuring the key drivers of retention at your company – and conversely, the predictors of resignation – is essential to developing a successful long-term retention strategy. 

Employee engagement surveys, candidate feedback and exit interviews can all offer valuable insights into the success of your retention initiatives and areas that need to be improved moving forward.

5 steps to develop a data-driven retention strategy:

1. Identify key data points

Companies should first identify the critical data points they need to track to develop a retention strategy. This may include employee turnover rates, reasons for leaving, employee engagement levels, performance metrics, and demographics.

2. Analyse the data

Once the data is collected, companies can use analytics tools to analyse the data and identify patterns and trends. This can help companies identify areas where they may lose employees and understand the root causes of turnover.

3. Develop targeted retention initiatives

Based on the insights gained from data analysis, companies can develop targeted retention initiatives to address specific areas of concern. For example, suppose data shows that employees resign due to lacking growth opportunities. In that case, companies can develop career development programs or mentorship initiatives.

4. Monitor and adjust

To ensure the retention strategy is effective, companies should monitor the success of their initiatives and make adjustments as needed. Regularly reviewing data and adjusting retention initiatives based on new insights can help companies avoid potential retention issues.

5. Communicate with employees

Companies should also communicate with employees about their retention strategy and the initiatives being implemented. This can help employees feel heard and valued, and it can also increase employee engagement and retention.

Download our Talent Trends 2023 Report here!

Discover the latest talent trends in our 2023 Talent Trends report, The Invisible Revolution. This survey report findings are based on responses from 20,811 people across 12 markets in Asia Pacific.

It covers what hiring professionals need to know to address talent attraction and employee retention for the year ahead. It also highlights a change in the hiring outlook as job candidates and employees now prioritise their well-being more than ever. Download our report to find out more.

Read more:
5 ways to improve equity in the workplace
Why candidate experience matters and how to do it well
5 interview questions to ask to tell a great candidate from a good one

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