By now you have no doubt heard of “The Great Resignation”. This term, coined by Dr. Anthony Klotz at Texas A&M University, is used to describe the record numbers of employee turnover happening in the wake of the pandemic. In September alone, 4.4 million people quit their jobs.
Why Employee Retention is Slipping
There are a variety of reasons that employees are parting ways with their employers freely. According to a report by TalentLMS and Workable, the top two reasons for seeking new employment (outside of salary and benefits) are limited career progression and lack of flexibility in working hours. Similarly, a survey conducted by Hays and the Chartered Institute of Marketing revealed that half of dissatisfied employees felt this way because of a lack of career progression.
Clearly, employees have begun to rethink what their priorities are when it comes to job satisfaction. While adequate employee compensation is still at the front of mind for many digital marketers and digital technology employees, they are also considering the relationship between work and mental employee health and growth.
Employees want to feel that they are valued. This means seeing tangible efforts from their employers to invest in them through skills training, paths for progression, and accommodations for differing workplace needs.
Remote Employee Satisfaction
It’s no secret that remote work has become a central part of the workplace conversation in all companies from big tech to small businesses. The past year and a half has caused many people to reevaluate the necessity of spending all of their full time job hours in a physical office. An employment contract once automatically meant scheduling in time for a 20+ minute commute to and from an 8-hour work day 5 times a week. But today, there is a great demand for renegotiating that contract. From hybrid schedules to fully remote, employees want more flexibility in the way that they do their jobs.
Some big tech companies such as Apple, Twitter, and Slack have embraced this change, ushering in policies of split time between home and office, or completely prioritizing remote-first work cultures. It can be argued that these companies have funds and credentials that allow them to be more malleable, but even smaller companies will find that they have little room for excuses when it comes to adaptability.
The good news for companies across the board is that employees are also willing to be flexible. While there are many who are joining The Great Resignation in search of fully remote positions, there are also employees who are perfectly happy to come into the office three times a week. Some employees even report a desire to return fully to the office. Therefore, the key for digital technology companies is to be very clear on their stance about working remotely in order to attract job seekers with complementary expectations.
Rethinking the Employment Contract
As previously mentioned, the employment contract is something that employers and employees alike are reconsidering. But this doesn’t apply solely to in-office versus remote work. Recall that many employee satisfaction concerns actually have to do with flexibility and growth. These have led many experienced employees to venture into the realm of freelance digital marketing, copywriting, and analysis. So what does that mean for digital technology companies? They will have to either adapt to the idea of the 1099 employee, or they will need to strategize in order to maintain in-house employee retention.
Beyond just having an employee online for work, how else could companies maintain retention? By rethinking the packages they present to a new employee. Can employers offer more lenient paid time off to employees? Perhaps there can be opportunities for annual leave in order to attend conferences in relevant fields, or paid training for skills development. It may be a good idea to survey current and even potential employees to find out what matters most to them. This way your company can be sure that it’s investing specifically in programs and benefits that will really aid in employee satisfaction.
Working with freelancers is one way that companies have found a way around The Great Resignation. Rather than fighting to hold onto employees who want different things, they might staff a department with a few junior employees and outsource strategy. Or conversely, they might hire an in-house strategist and work with a freelance copywriter and freelance graphic designer in order to execute the vision. This offers digital technology companies the advantage of options with their team. Someone isn’t working out on the current project? Simply go in another direction for the next one. Conversely, if your company really enjoys working with a certain independent contractor, you can cultivate a great long term relationship with them.
Final Thoughts on Employee Retention
Because of its prevalence in publications and even on the news, The Great Resignation continues to be a cause of worry for many digital technology companies. At a time when consumers more than ever are paying close attention to their digital technology services, companies are under a lot of pressure to deliver regardless of their circumstances.
But by thinking creatively in order to meet employee needs, and even being open to new types of working relationships, digital technology companies will be able to withstand The Great Resignation and continue to thrive in the ever-changing landscape of the industry.