Employee retention is more difficult than ever in 2022, with a reported 3.9 million workers leaving their jobs as recently as June. While much of the blame is placed on COVID-19-related issues, there are a multitude of reasons why contemporary employees have notoriously fickle career loyalty. The following breakdown looks at 5 of the most pertinent factors that lead to job defection in 2022 and provides some common-sense advice on how to improve the situation.



1. Modern Employees Seek Quality of Life

For previous generations, a job was kind of like a trophy. It was proof of their education, hard work, and experience--an emblem of their personal success.


However, modern professionals are not nearly as motivated by the climb up the corporate ladder as their predecessors, with traditional perks such as job titles, pay increases, and company cars no guarantee to ensure employee loyalty to the company.


In fact, in the Internet era in which employees feel like they are never truly disconnected from their jobs, a millennial survey by Deloitte revealed that 16.8% of job seekers ranked work/life balance as their top priority when assessing career opportunities. This is quite common in franchise businesses.


Therefore, in order to improve employee retention, look into the latest trends on how to improve staff wellbeing and make sure that employees view their job as a healthy piece of their identity and not an all-consuming monstrosity. Respect their boundaries in the ever-evolving remote work environment and make sure that they feel comfortable taking enough time for themselves.



2. The Compensation Isn’t Worth the Commitment

It has been well-noted that even as many companies have resumed operations following pandemic-induced lockdowns, millions of Americans have been slow to return to their former jobs. In fact, there is a current crisis in the United States in which some 11 million jobs simply cannot be filled.


While many claim that continued COVID-19 stimulus is keeping workers at home, this notion only tells part of the story. Like many areas of life, the pandemic simply exposed and intensified trends that had been brewing for some time. Many employees are defecting from their jobs because they realize that after the cost of the commute, childcare, and emotional toll of working in a high-stress position are taken into consideration, the difference between their salary and what they could make by staying at home and making money through social media marketing, trading stocks and cryptocurrencies, or selling crafts through online marketplaces is not great enough to make returning to the office worthwhile.


While most companies cannot simply double salaries to lure employees back to work, there are some unique benefits for millennials that can make the decision to resume their careers more enticing. Some ideas include:

  • Paid childcare services

  • Rideshare passes to alleviate the cost of commuting

  • Increased flexibility in setting a schedule with more opportunities for remote workdays

3. Employees Don’t Feel Engaged

Modern professionals are an extremely altruistic group and want to feel like their work is making a positive impact on society. When workers feel like they are caught up in the day-to-day drudge of a job that has no meaningful purpose, their interest in performing well dissipates quickly.


One way to boost engagement is through employee recognition, as 52% of professionals indicate that recognition makes them feel more engaged. However, contemporary recognition programs are more than just capriciously-chosen employee-of-the-month plaques. Some ideas for recognition that will have a more meaningful impact with millennials include:

  • Asking them to spearhead new projects and initiatives

  • Providing statistical proof of how the company--and subsequently, the employee--is making a positive impact on the community and world

  • Positive messages on company-sponsored social media platforms

  • Intentional efforts to include their family, hobbies, and topics of interest in the workplace to recognize them as diverse, dynamic people

4. Poor Management

According to Wendy Duarte Duckrey of JPMorgan Chase: “Most people don’t quit their jobs; they quit their managers.”


Too many managers let responsibility go to their heads and are not adroit enough to handle the diverse needs of the contemporary workforce. In addition, few managers have any experience at all in working with remote staff. Therefore, it is critical to invest extra time and resources into training management on how to effectively build a millennial team to avoid mass defections.



5. More Information on Other Options

Jobs used to be largely local. If a new company came to town, they hired from the local talent pool. If a company left town, employees either had to relocate or lose their job. As such, company loyalty was established largely due to a lack of options.


According to Sam Willis, a franchise seller and business consultant, Today, professionals are just a click away from changing occupations. Not only can Internet searches and career-building apps allow them to identify higher-paying jobs with better lifestyle benefits from anywhere in the world, but the ongoing shift to remote work allows people to live in their dream location while performing professional responsibilities. Never before have workers had such a high degree of leverage over their employers, so it is critical that companies treat employees well to avoid losing them to the competition.


Simple Adjustments Can Help Retain Employees in 2022

Companies are faced with unprecedented difficulty in retaining employees in 2022. While much of the struggle can be attributed to COVID-19, employees seeking a better quality of life, innovative compensation, higher engagement, improved management, and remote career options are other pertinent factors that are causing employee loyalty to wane. By implementing some of the advice listed above, companies can take effective steps toward improving employee retention this year.


If your company needs assistance implementing new employee retention strategies, please reach out to Grey Owl HR.


Authored by Andrew Nelson of HRMusings


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