5 ways to reverse ‘The Great Resignation’ in your company


The Great Resignation. The Great Reshuffle. The Big Quit. No matter which phrasing you choose to describe the staggering rate of Americans leaving their jobs over the last year, one thing is clear: It has redefined how we think about work — across the country and here in Hampton Roads.

Employees are leaving at record-breaking numbers (roughly 47.4 million voluntary resignations in 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) in pursuit of higher wages, more flexibility and overall better working conditions. The pandemic has shifted mindsets and priorities while also opening employees’ eyes to extended possibilities for teleworking, hybrid working or working for themselves.

Grappling with a shortage in workers and high turnover rates, employers are looking for ways to fill vacancies and boost morale among current employees. This requires a shift in strategy. “We’ve always done it this way” mentality must be replaced with innovative, tailor-made tactics.

The Hampton Roads Workforce Council is committed to strengthening our region’s talent pipeline to attract and retain qualified, skilled employees. This requires identifying weaknesses in workforce culture and crafting strategic solutions to engage new hires and motivate current employees to continue their career journey. Here are some creative solutions to reverse resignation rates in your company.

Expand your teleworking options. Understandably, not every industry can offer teleworking options to its employees. For the businesses that can, there are numerous benefits to teleworking — both from employer and employee standpoint. As an employer, you can save on operational costs by utilizing a smaller office space (or no office space at all) and shrinking your utility bills. Employees can save time and money spent commuting and gain a greater sense of control. Some research shows that productivity levels increase during telework situations (and some research shows the opposite). To get the most out of teleworking from your team, set clear expectations, communicate often and ensure team members feel appreciated.

Consider a four-day workweek. Employee burnout is a main contributing factor to recent resignations. Adding an extra weekend day to employees’ schedules may boost morale as well as productivity. The Society for Human Resource Management reports that 60% of organizations utilizing a four-day workweek experienced higher productivity as well as increased employee satisfaction. If you are not ready to commit to a shorter workweek full-time, implement this practice one week out of the month or during summer months only.

Host on-site family events. Lack of work-family balance is another commonly cited reason for decreased employee morale. The Hampton Roads Workforce Council recently partnered with the Institute for Service Research to identify determinants of workforce shortages in Hampton Roads’ hospitality sector and solutions for remedying them. To address issues of work-family balance, research finds that if associate’s families can visualize where they are and what they are doing while at work, then work-family conflict is significantly reduced. Consider a companywide bring-your-child-to-work day (once public safety guidelines deem safe to do so) or an outside family fun day with teambuilding activities.

Support pathways for growth. Employees who feel stuck in their current career trajectory and pay scale may thrive in the growth offered through professional development opportunities. Investing in a team member’s training and education makes them feel valued and motivated to learn new skills or reach new steps in their career. Determine the appropriate credentialing programs, conferences and learning programs to benefit your team, and strive to make these resources available.

Involve your team in decision-making. A low-cost, high-return step in making employees feel valued is to solicit the opinion of your team in making decisions. Encouraging employees to let their voices be heard displays a level of trust and shows that their opinions matter. The Hampton Roads Workforce Council was recently recognized in the CoVa BIZ Best Places to Work Awards, and a highlight from our team was that we sought their input during the development of our new strategic plan. Ensuring employees have a seat at the table can mean less seats to fill in the long run.