The Great Resignation is increasingly becoming a major source of concern for businesses. Initially, this global phenomenon was attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, but other factors, such as burnout and employees' growing desire to take back their power in the workplace, have also been driving forces.
Employees want to use technology to work remotely and compete in the global market, but they also want to feel connected to each other and their customers. People-centric practices must be enhanced, not eclipsed, by platforms for collaboration and innovation. Technology may have made remote working possible, but it should also encourage flexibility and greater efficiency, allowing employees to strive for a better work/life balance.
By using technology optimally to support employees’ emotional and mental needs, while at the same time streamlining processes and enhancing productivity, companies have a far better chance of evading The Great Resignation.
The cost of employee loyalty
Before digging into how organisations can retain and nurture employee support, it’s important to remember why it matters. Losing an employee can take a huge toll on your company (with the effect magnified for smaller organisations). On average, it takes 41 days to fill a position. That’s 41 days other people in the business must do all that employee’s duties in addition to their own.
It’s also worth pointing out that there’s a positive correlation between good employee experiences and good customer experiences. That makes sense—a single positive interaction with a company employee can dramatically alter how a customer perceives and experiences that company. The chances of a positive interaction taking place are much slimmer in companies that have high levels of employee turnover and a lack of institutional experience.
The right (virtual) environment
Even if an organisation meets its employees’ needs when it comes to working location, it’s still important for it to provide the best possible working environment—real or virtual.
One of the most effective ways of doing so is to take a considered approach to the software solutions your employees work with daily. Rather than employing a patchwork of software solutions, for example, organisations can benefit from a unified enterprise software suite that meets all their needs, from documentation to meetings and more. In an increasingly hybrid work model, keeping data and processes on a unified system leads to better visibility and fosters cross-functional collaboration.
But, bear in mind too that employees can suffer from digital burnout. Encourage the use of online tools but allow employees a reprieve if they opt for meetings without cameras or if they suggest a time limit on virtual sessions.
Better workflows for better engagement
Companies can improve the way things are done to enhance the workplace experience. The HR team can leverage cloud technology and implement a comprehensive human resource management system (HRMS) to automate most of their mundane manual tasks. Through HRMS, an organisation can also create a self-service model so employees have a single portal for various activities, such as applying for leave and adding medical claims. Workflows can be created so that when a request is raised, the appropriate approver is automatically notified. Automating processes will free up the HR team to focus on employee engagement activities that can create more positive experiences for them.
Rethinking talent acquisition
At Zoho, for instance, we have always believed that talent is everywhere, though opportunities are not. We have traditionally hired people from all backgrounds and opened offices away from city centres to tap under-utilised talent in smaller towns and rural areas. By creating opportunities in the sought-after tech sector in non-urban and rural areas, we help communities retain talent and flourish. This adds a sense of purpose to the job, which also helps retain talent.
A holistic approach
Employers need to do everything possible to avoid losing staff to The Great Resignation. That means not only understanding that they operate in a globally competitive environment (especially when it comes to in-demand skills), but also adopting a holistic, people-centric approach that includes meeting employee needs and providing them with the best possible work environment in a rapidly evolving world.
By Veerakumar Natarajan
Country Head, Zoho Kenya