Workers Have Choices. Will They Choose You?

Whether it’s the “Great Resignation” or the “Great Reshuffling,” keeping your workers is more important than ever

At the National Fund, we believe that a good job is a competitive advantage. And that has never been truer than during this current moment, which has been dubbed the “Great Resignation.” Businesses in communities across the country are grappling with an extremely tight labor market brought on by disruptions from COVID-19.

The Great Reshuffling

Workers have more options for jobs than ever before. In February, there were over 11.3 million job openings in America. While new hires edged up, most of those gains were wiped out by workers leaving their jobs. The “Great Resignation,” it turns out, is more of a “Great Reshuffling,” with workers finding better opportunities elsewhere.

Workers have cited many reasons for leaving their current jobs. Chief among them, unsurprisingly, are pay and benefits. In response, we have seen many employers improve the quality of their jobs by increasing wages and  benefits for their workforce.

Even so, almost 50% of workers report their employers’ are making no changes to benefits and wages.

Employers who are not doing more —or anything— to retain or attract workers are falling behind. But we know that no two businesses are the same, across industries, company size, and geography. Some employers can’t compete on wages or benefits to keep their workers.

So what can they do? It turns out, quite a lot.

Attract and Retain Talent with Job Design

Pay and benefits are just one characteristic that affects workers’ plans to leave their current job. By rethinking other job characteristics, businesses can make meaningful improvements that increase worker satisfaction and fill talent gaps.

Clear opportunities for advancement, improved supervision, and stable hours with flexible scheduling are factors that workers cite as key job benefits, and none of them are related to compensation.

Your Workers Have Insight and Answers

If you want to solve the problem of employee turnover, start by asking your workers. Designing better jobs will be most successful if you include your employees in the process. Start by having open and honest conversations with your workers about the workplace. After all, they’re the ones closest to the work and know best what is happening day-to-day.

Open and clear communication is a core element of a good job. Encouraging workers to have a voice in the direction and design of their workplace will foster increased job satisfaction and a sense of mattering and reduce turnover. In today’s labor market, employers who have taken the time to consider their job design with their employees will be better off for it.

Chart Your Path Forward with the Job Quality Outcome Maps

The National Fund recently released a tool to help businesses understand their workforce issues. The Job Quality Outcome Maps offer a roadmap to address business challenges with better jobs. Based on decades of scientific research, the Job Quality Outcome Maps illustrate the relationship between desired business outcomes and the job characteristics and workplace culture.

The Great Reshuffling has shown that workers have more choices than ever, and they’re exercising them. Companies not actively working to make their positions more attractive to jobseekers and current workers are falling behind their competition. It’s time to get serious about redesigning jobs, because now, more than ever, a good job is a competitive advantage.