New York was one of the least impacted by the Great Resignation, but plenty of NYC businesses are still feeling the pain of the employee exodus. A report from WalletHub in January found over 2 percent of all New Yorkers resigned from their jobs over the previous month, an increase over the average annual rate for 2021. Business leaders interested in avoiding the worst effects of the labor shortage need to work fast to make their staff feel comfortable in their current positions.
Fortunately, it is possible for businesses to prevent any loss of workforce during the Great Recession, and businesses utilizing the right employment tactics could even see their talent pool grow. The following tips will help business leaders cultivate a workplace culture that employees appreciate, giving companies access to top talent in their industry:
Conduct Employee Surveys
Disgruntled employees tend to be more than willing to explain their frustration with business leaders — if only business leaders would provide them with an outlet. Regular employee surveys can provide leadership with the data they need to track fluctuations in employee satisfaction, giving an organization advance notice of a potential labor exodus. For businesses already in the trenches of the Great Resignation, conducting exit interviews is a practical strategy for understanding why workers have decided to leave and how a business can retain its lingering workforce.
Follow Through on Small Changes
In many cases, businesses need to undergo major organizational change to satisfy departing employees, but transformative change could take months or years. In the meantime, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to change by following through on small and simple alterations to business processes. For example, giving workers more flexibility with their schedules is not a major shift to business structure and function, but it has substantial positive effects for the workforce.
Train Better Management
There is a saying: People don’t quit a company; they quit their boss. The attitude and behavior of workers’ direct supervisors contributes significantly to workers’ experience of their workplace. Ultimately, it does not matter if an employer purports to have strong company values like integrity and transparency if its management team does not uphold these values in practice. While it might be possible to salvage existing managers with some updated training, NYC businesses should also consider the possible necessity of replacing toxic leaders with loyal and productive workers who can be more effective in higher roles.
Invest in Employee Strengths
Employees know their strengths, and they want to use their strengths to contribute to the company. Unfortunately, many businesses ignore the strengths of their workforce, allowing those abilities and attributes to waste away. There are several ways businesses can harness individual employee strengths for mutual gain. Leaders can offer additional training to shape strengths into practical skills; they might find tasks and projects that suit certain strengths and give employees the option of taking on additional responsibility. When workers are given the chance to build their knowledge and skill within an organization, they are less likely to look elsewhere for opportunities where their strengths will shine.
Recognize Effort and Achievement
Some businesses are blessed with a workforce that utilizes strong intrinsic motivation to drive performance, but even they need to devote energy to a recognition program to ensure workers feel seen and appreciated for their effort. Business leaders should talk to their workforce to better understand what types of recognition are most motivating, and they should provide frequent and effective recognition to keep performance high.
Gossip can cause even the strongest organizations to suffer, and in the midst of an employment crisis like the Great Resignation, misinformation can convince workers to jump from what they might believe to be a sinking ship. It is imperative that business leaders develop an open and honest communications style that prevents the spread of misinformation through the workforce.
Encourage Friendly Connections
Eight hours per day, five days per week is more time than many workers get to spend with their families. Thus, workplaces need to foster friendly relationships between workers, allowing employees to develop camaraderie that can facilitate cooperation and collaboration. Without positive social connections to coworkers, employees will disengage from their work, so businesses should find ways of encouraging positive social interaction, like weekly social events.
New York City is not the epicenter of the Great Resignation — yet. By being proactive about employment practices, businesses in New York can avoid the worst of the labor exodus and keep their staff happy and productive into the future.