Steps for Turning the ‘Great Resignation’ into the ‘Great Retention’

By Stacy Pursell, CPC/CERS
The VET Recruiter®

Last month, I published an article about the “Great Resignation.” Specifically, I published an article about “How to Retain Your Best Employees During the ‘Great Resignation.’”

In that article, I explored retention strategies broken down into two distinct categories—those that directly involve money and those that do not. To recap, below are the strategies that involve money:

  • Salary increases
  • Retention bonuses
  • Longer resignation bonuses

Below are the strategies that do not directly involve money:

  • Keep the lines of communication open.
  • Discuss employees’ career growth and path within the organization.
  • Offer more flexibility and other perks.

First, there was the “Great Recession,” which started more than 10 years ago. Then there was the “Great Resignation,” which began earlier this year. And now, those employers that wish to retain their best employees and not fall prey to the effects of this mass resignation should embrace the “Great Retention.”

Drawing the battle lines for retention

The “Great Retention” is more a mindset than it is a reality at this point. The reality is that workers and employees continue to resign their jobs in record numbers. However, it requires this kind of mindset to effective engage current employers (ideally, on multiple levels) in a successful effort to retain their services and benefit from the value they provide for the long term.

A survey conducted by Paychex just a few months ago illustrates the challenges that exist in the marketplace for employers as they try to retain their best employees. The results of the survey are striking in terms of how they unveil the dissatisfaction that the younger generations feel with their employment and the different priorities the members of those generations have as compared to the members of other generations.

Below are some of the more interesting results of the survey (i.e., those that potentially have the most impact on employers and their retention efforts):

  • Forty-four percent (44%) of Gen Z workers (those born between 1997 and 2012) are actively looking for a new job.
  • Forty-two percent (42%) of those polled feel that a 10% to 15% increase in salary would entice them to stay at their current employer.
  • Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) and Gen Z workers are more motivated by factors such as flexible working hours, mental health benefits, employee wellness benefits, and childcare benefits.

According to the Paychex survey, what were the top factors driving employee loyalty? After a 10% to 15% increase in pay, the answer to that question is as follows:

  • A stay (retention) bonus (39%)
  • More PTO or paid time off (39%)
  • More flexible working hours (35%)
  • Better/more accessible health insurance (23%)

As you can see, there is definitely a difference between how Millennials and Generation Z workers view their employment and what is most important to them, as opposed to Generation X and the Baby Boomers. That should not come as any great surprise. However, what an Animal Health company or Veterinary organization does with this information will certainly affect its ability to effectively engage with its employees and successful retain them.

‘One size fits all’ does NOT fit all . . .

In today’s employment marketplace and workplace, a strategy for retention is a must. That would be the case even if we weren’t in the midst of the “Great Resignation.” However, it’s not enough just have a strategy for retention. That’s because a “one size fits all” approach will not be adequate in light of the diverse dynamics of the workforce. The results of the Paychex study bear this out.

Instead, an effective strategy for retention is focused, comprehensive, and thorough in both its plan and its execution. The first step is the planning of the strategy, which involves these preliminary tasks:

  • An audit of your current team in regards to the generation to which they belong
  • Identification of the reasons that they joined your organization in the first place, if that information is available (and if it isn’t, then it should be)
  • Determining the length of time that each employee has been with the organization
  • Plotting the career path of each team member, including number of titles held and number of promotions, if applicable

When that is completed, then analyze your retention strategy in terms of how well it addresses all of the areas outlined in my previous article and also in the results of the Paychex study. As a reminder, those areas are as follows:

  • The amount of raises that your organization awards as a percentage, especially the raises awarded to its top employees
  • Whether or not your organization has ever awarded stay or retention bonuses, and if so, the amounts involved
  • Your organization’s policy regarding PTO, especially the allocation of additional PTO days
  • The flexibility of the scheduling that your organization offers
  • The quality of your organization’s health insurance and other insurance plans

Just like you must align your priorities as an organization when a candidate’s organization when you are attempting to hire them, you must align your priorities with an employee’s priorities when you are attempting to retain them. In other words, what is important to them should be important to you, and on top of that, you must communicate to them that what is important to them is also important to you.

Start with your most valuable employee, the one that you can least afford to lose. Using all of the information that you have compiled, which combination of factors are required to retain them as an employee? Are you prepared to deliver this combination of factors—including a 10% to 15% raise or a retention bonus—in order to keep them? If you’re not prepared to deliver these factors, why not and what must you do to be prepared?

Not only is this approach and this strategy focused, comprehensive, and thorough, but it’s also individualized for each employee. That’s because when it comes to turning the “Great Resignation” into the “Great Retention,” engaging employees on an individual basis and utilizing a customized retention strategy is the best way to help ensure your organization keeps its top talent . . . and its competitive edge in the marketplace.

(Editor’s note: Stacy Pursell is one of an elite group of search professionals who holds both the Certified Personnel Consultant and Certified Employee Retention Specialist designations. These certifications allow Stacy to help her clients find, recruit, and retain the best professionals in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession.)

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We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.