The Great Resignation: Why Companies Are Turning to HR Tech
- Why HR professionals are using technology to improve employee retention
- How various subcategories of HR software address the retention issue
In the current job climate, Americans are quitting their jobs at such a high rate that the trend has been dubbed the "Great Resignation." According to McKinsey research, 40% of surveyed workers said they are at least “somewhat” likely to quit their jobs in the next few months. These workers would join the millions who have quit over the past several months.
As many businesses struggle to hire and retain employees, human resource professionals are turning to HR software to improve training and communication (among other initiatives) and thereby improve employee retention.
To learn more about what these HR professionals are doing to retain employees, we asked them how they’re using software to implement their retention initiatives. Here are the key takeaways:
- HR managers are giving employees more options and control
- Proactive training shores up employee retention
- "Stay interviews" are replacing exit interviews
- Communication and feedback apps improve trust
HR managers are giving employees more options and control
Traditional employee benefit programs don’t always allow for the flexibility to accommodate today’s diverse workforce. Some platforms now allow employees to manage their own benefits and contributions, including those for savings, healthcare, and even student debt reduction.
Rolf Bax, Chief Human Resources Officer at Resume.io, explained that many factors are contributing to the Great Resignation, but employees are "reevaluating what is important to them in an employer," and control over benefits is a big concern. Bax continued:
"I firmly believe that HR benefits software that allows employees to both manage and select their own benefits, and especially the ability to direct and redirect funds on an ongoing basis as they see fit, is key to keeping people long-term."
Rolf Bax, Chief Human Resources Officer, Resume.io
Proactive training shores up employee retention
Ensuring employees don’t lose interest in their jobs is a key aspect of retention. Platforms that provide skills training and professional development are therefore key to proactively limit employee churn. Magda Klimkiewicz, HR Business Partner at Zety, said the right training tools can help employees recommit to their work:
"Most working professionals lose steam when they no longer grow. Now, one of the best ways to keep your people on board is to tap into the power of employee training tools. These will not only help your employees rake up a handful of skills—that could lead to a marked difference for your bottom line—but it'll also send a clear message that the company cares about its people's growth and development."
Magda Klimkiewicz, HR Business Partner, Zety
"Stay interviews" are replacing exit interviews
In addition to benefits, employees want to be heard in other ways as well. Exit interviews have been an effective way to get feedback, but any changes made based on the employee feedback comes after the employees are gone. Many HR managers are trying a more proactive approach using software solutions that allow for honest feedback, while helping companies retain employees.
Ben Lamarche, General Manager at Lock Search Group—a recruitment and talent management firm—said they use STAYview to conduct interviews, identify employee issues, and establish action plans. Lamarche said they’ve improved retention rates by 30%.
"Every manager will know that it is best to conduct a stay interview and retain your top talent, rather than wait for an exit interview to say goodbye to a dissatisfied worker. Online stay interviews provide a seamless platform for manager-employee communication and, most importantly, facilitate the implementation of practical action plans that allow you to track progress, conduct turnover and retention forecasts, and improve."
Ben Lamarche, General Manager, Lock Search Group
George Santos, Director of Talent Delivery & Head of Marketing at 180 Engineering, added:
"It's vital to be as proactive as possible and actively seek out feedback that you can take action on in order to keep your employees happy and on board."
George Santos, Director of Talent Delivery & Head of Marketing, 180 Engineering
Santos said they support both hybrid and in-person employees by giving them tools to provide feedback anonymously, in addition to holding face-to-face meetings.
Communication and feedback apps improve trust
HR software solutions that allow anonymous feedback can help build trust because employees are able to be more open than they may be in other settings. Jon Hill, Chairman & CEO at The Energists (an executive search and recruiting firm in the energy industry), shared how feedback apps create a sense of participation among employees:
"I see anonymous feedback apps as one of the best HR software programs you can implement to improve retention. This allows all employees to provide input on the workplace and feel their voice is heard equally. It also makes it more likely leaders will hear honest criticism and suggestions from all employees, which in turn makes it more likely workplace issues will be addressed before they drive team members to seek employment elsewhere."
Jon Hill, Chairman & CEO, The Energists
Systems that enable employee feedback can also enable HR professionals and managers to understand employees’ engagement levels. Magda Klimkiewicz said the right tools can warn HR professionals about problems that may harm retention. Klimkiewicz stated:
"Another way employers can boost retention is to take the pulse and get an accurate reading of employees' engagement levels via tools like Officevibe. Such tools keep HR professionals in the loop about how employees feel across the board and can flag potential retention issues so that HR professionals can react in time (e.g., improve feedback culture within a team, provide opportunities for growth, etc.)"
Magda Klimkiewicz, HR Business Partner, Zety
Other HR professionals added that honest communication can improve employee retention. Anjela Mangrum, Certified Personnel Consultant and President at Mangrum Career Solutions, explained that clear, two-way feedback improves retention because everyone better understands expectations and ways to improve. Even if feedback is anonymous, the right software tools can help messages go directly to those who can make necessary changes. Mangrum added:
"Besides regular 1-on-1s, I use an app called DirectSuggest to welcome anonymous feedback from my team. Not only does it give a voice to the voiceless, but it ensures that feedback gets delivered promptly to relevant departments and they can act on it immediately."
Anjela Mangrum, President, Mangrum Career Solutions
HR software vendors may help turn the resignation tide
The Great Resignation is putting pressure on HR professionals to come up with better ways of retaining employees. Companies are looking for tools that help keep their employees engaged, satisfied, and accommodated. Solutions include those that improve feedback, provide training, simplify communication, support professional development, and personalize benefits.