Attracting and retaining top talent continues to be an issue for small business owners nationwide. Competitive wage demands, flexible work schedules, and out-of-touch leaders are in the midst of a movement in the same vein as Johnny Paycheck’s 1977 hit, “Take this Job and Shove It.”

The Great Resignation

This, a term unimaginable just 15 months ago as workers nationwide adapted to a pandemic-driven world. For many, shifting their work to a virtual environment came with a sense of gratitude.  Employees sat helplessly.  Bosses reduced hours. Owners cut the workforce. Some closed for good. The idea of “staying put” came with a calm mind and restful sleep.

The Great Resignation is, simply stated, the fast-moving shift by top talent to leave their present employer. What is driving the sudden shift? There are several factors. For example, dissatisfaction with work-life balance and treatment during 2020. And, overtime wages aside, an exhausted workforce due to increased demands.

The Numbers Game

In a report published earlier this by Microsoft, over 40 percent of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer this year. As a result, employers, and small business employers especially, are focused on attracting and retaining top talent.

Additionally, from the time period of February, 2020 through February, 2021, weekly meeting time jumped to 148%, This more than doubled for Teams users…and that figure is still rising. In addition, there was an astounding 40.6B increase in emails delivered during that same time period. To glimpse deeper into the virtual water cooler, weekly Teams chats per-person are up 45% and those too are still rising.

Culture Shock

With tight budgets, growing expenses, and shrinking demands, what can a small business owner do to mitigate the Great Resignation at their company?

Crista Bartolomucci, SHRM-CP, Biz Chat Ohio

Crista Bartolomucci

“Of all the incentives employers try to promote and market, most importantly, market the culture,” says Crista Bartolomucci, SHRM-CP – Manager, Talent Acquisition and Development at iDesign.

“If your company doesn’t have the financial resources, focus on the culture. Know what your employees are saying about your company. Is it favorable or negative?

Bartolomucci suggests several simple changes small businesses can do to enhance the culture. Attracting and retaining top talent is possible without drastically overhauling the current HR policies. For example:

  • Offer incentives through a non-monetary employee referral program.
    Offering time off or lunch for the team can also be a satisfying reward without adding thousands to your bottom line.
  • Think about the way you treat an annual bonus.
    It may be beneficial to re-allocate yearly bonus dollars for retention incentives. Similarly, it’s time to think creatively when leading a workforce influenced by the Great Resignation.
  • Institute a flexible or remote work environment.
    Many companies “went virtual” in 2020 and now, the “return to normal” isn’t so attractive. Consequently, offering employees flexible work schedules enhances work-life balance and may boost productivity. For some still nervous employees, a flexible work schedule may provide peace of mind. Give your employees a culture in which they wish to stay.  Learn to become an accommodating employer.

Attracting and retaining top talent amid The Great Resignation can work to your company’s favor. In short, design a culture that employees want to stay and grow instead of get up and go.

Learn more.

Listen to Crista Bartolomucci on the Biz Chat Ohio podcast as she delves deeper into this topic and offers solutions for your small business.Crista has been in HR for more than 10 years, focusing on attracting and retaining top talent to Northeast Ohio.

This blog is made possible by Lakeland Community College and the Ohio Small Business Development Center.
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