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How to Keep Your Top Employees Amidst the 2021 ‘Turnover Tsunami’

Sep 20, 2021 10:00:00 AM
By The TPD Team

in HR Trends, Top Talent, Employee Retention, Workforce Solutions

Experts predict a looming “Turnover Tsunami” as waves of workers – more than 50%, according to some estimates – prepare to make career moves.

"There is absolutely pent-up turnover demand in the U.S. workforce,” said Danny Nelms, President of The Work Institute, a research and consulting firm in Tennessee, in a March article for SHRM. “Just prior to the pandemic, you had about 3.5 million people leaving their jobs monthly, then that dropped to 1.9 million in April 2020. The projected number for December is 3.3 million, so we're already seeing a substantial return of voluntary turnover. It's only going to increase."

And turnovers cost employers money! Consider the expense involved in recruiting and hiring, and the effort of training new staff. In addition, losses could affect morale, as reassigned work puts extra stress on remaining workers.

Why Are They Leaving?

In some respects, the expected turnover surge reflects renewed worker confidence that business is getting back on track amidst the continuing pandemic. At the same time, many industries continue to struggle to find competent staff to fill open positions.

Reasons workers cite for leaving their current positions include:

  • Pandemic burnout
  • Lack of recognition
  • Work-life balance
  • Better pay
  • Better benefits

Lack of engagement is a leading reason staff consider leaving. “Top performers, especially, should feel excited to stay within a company and see growth,” said Forbes. “Ways to increase engagement include offering exclusive training opportunities, stretch assignments, and having transparent conversations about compensation and benefits.”

Further, Career Arc observed “poor work-life balance tops the list of job seeker deal-breakers, ranking above other immediate turn-offs including lower salary (50%) and a company’s decreasing profits and lack of stability (48%).”

What Can Employers Do?

One key to retaining talented staff is to find out what they value about working in your organization. A staff survey can help pinpoint where employees feel the company is excelling or needs improvement. Employees generally feel more comfortable mentioning issues in a survey conducted by an impartial third party. Bonus: A survey often is a positive step toward staff feeling more engaged and valued.

With an eye to the future, some organizations already are focusing more on ensuring their employee compensation packages are competitive compared to similar organizations. Soon, more Americans may see child and senior care, flexibility in work hours and locations, and expanded mental health support among their company’s benefits.

Other steps aimed at staff retention include:

  • Open communication between managers and staff
  • Mentorships and continuous/unique learning opportunities
  • Performance feedback
  • Staff recognition and rewards
  • Effective change management

Prepare for the Future

Whether or not the “Turnover Tsunami” materializes, the way we do business is sure to change post-pandemic.

Take steps now to recognize employee concerns, address their needs and reward their accomplishments. Find ways to keep them engaged and feeling valued. A proactive, pro-employee approach can go a long way toward retaining knowledgeable, skilled staff.


Need to fill a position? The hiring experts at TPD offer effective solutions for your hiring needs.

Filed under HR Trends, Top Talent, Employee Retention, Workforce Solutions

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