A Seven-Step Guide for Organizations to Rise Above the Great Resignation! — KNOLSKAPE

13 min readJun 30, 2022


Overview-In the age of constant staff turnover, a well-executed employee retention strategy where employees’ needs are met and accomplishments are recognized can act as a key differentiator, especially in tight hiring markets. We’ve put together a 7-step guide that showcases how organizations can think outside the box with their employee retention strategies and serve the needs of today’s workforce.

The Great Resignation or The Great Reawakening is challenging all HR Leaders at several levels. With employees leaving the organizations at the highest rate ever, the need to contain the impact of the Great Resignation becomes critical.

The workplace is sputtering. A whopping number of employees are still quitting around the globe. Talented employees no longer want to continue a job that discards their well-being, leaves them exhausted, and takes them for granted.

So, what exactly can organizations do to ensure talented employees who deeply connect with the business vision do not quit? The answer lies in strengthening the employee retention strategy!

The talent war is on the rise. With so much already happening, one thing is certain — employers definitely need an actionable strategy to stop the mass exit.

What Is Employee Retention and Why Is It Important?

Employee retention is an organization’s endeavor to keep talented employees around for the long haul by fostering a positive workplace. Organizations that acknowledge the importance of employee retention ensure that their workforce enjoys healthy work-life balance, inclusiveness and accountability at work, enhanced opportunities for professional growth, and a safe environment to help employees thrive.

In the age of constant staff turnover, employee retention strategies are of paramount importance in building a harmonious workplace. A well-executed employee retention strategy where employees’ needs are met and accomplishments are recognized can act as a key differentiator, especially in tight hiring markets.

Why Is Employee Retention More Pressing Than Ever?

The ramifications of the Great Resignation are beyond temporary disruptions.

Hiring new employees is not just burdensome but also expensive. With costs ranging approx. from 16% to 213% of an employee’s salary, organizations in the U.S. pay approx. 1 trillion as a turnover expense annually. Likewise, replacing an old employee also impacts the overall growth and development of existing ones. As employees watch their co-workers exit, their workloads often multiply, leading to stress, burnout, and poor mental health. Eventually, overburdened employees are less likely to perform their best, affecting the company’s bottom line.

The workplace is constantly changing and so are employees’ needs. Organizations can no longer rely on age-old tactics of increasing compensation to retain their best employees. Instead, they need to adopt creative ways that promote a fulfilling employee experience. Employees’ expectations towards personal time, rest, working hours, and attitude towards work have now catapulted, resulting in higher exits.

Some Employee Retention Strategies to Help Organizations Ease the Attrition and Rise Above the Great Resignation-

We’ve put together a 7-step guide that showcases how organizations can think outside the box with their employee retention strategies and serve the needs of today’s workforce.

To begin with, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for tackling the Great Resignation; however, leaders and talent hiring teams need to be mindful and consider myriad aspects (like the ones discussed below) to resolve the attrition challenge.

Setting up a Culture That Promotes Employee Wellbeing

  • Setting up a culture that promotes employee well being
  • Prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Healthy employee-manager relationships
  • Lay down policies that encourage work-life balance
  • Underline employee development
  • Rethink leadership styles
  • Reward loyal employees

The impact of employee-centric company culture cannot be understated. It is one of the tested ways to boost employee retention. The Great Resignation can be caused by various factors, but it’s mainly propelled by mindsets that overlook the implications of culture on employees’ well-being and morale. However, amid the rising attrition and declining emotional state of employees, there is a silver lining. HR leaders now have the opportunity to rethink how their workplace operates and create a culture of well-being- one that motivates employees to do their best and attract new talent.

Here are some ways HR leaders can promote positive well-being at work:

When employees feel seen, heard, valued, respected, and accepted at work, they are motivated to perform their best. Likewise, unethical behavior, an abusive environment that promotes bullying, harassment, and hostility can be one of the biggest reasons why employees quit. Such workplaces can also be environmentally unfriendly to an employee’s emotional health and further contribute to employee turnover. Hence, managers must vocalize their team members’ efforts in the form of handwritten notes, a shoutout on communication channels, etc.

Celebrating even the smallest of achievements can be extremely fulfilling for employees who are seeking purpose and meaning in their current roles.

Beyond the common perceptions, creating a culture of well-being can improve an organization’s bottom line through better employee retention, fewer absenteeism, and lesser healthcare-related expenses.

Prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

In the long-term, organizations that prioritize healthy workplace boundaries, break silos, address disconnectedness and promote camaraderie will be better positioned to combat employee turnover.

While there are countless ways organizations can battle the Great Resignation, creating an inclusive and equitable workplace is definitely a must-have. Building a diverse workplace that provides ‘equal opportunities for all’ can give employee retention a much-needed reboot.

According to research by Deloitte, organizations that have successfully incorporated DEI in their culture usually experience increased employee engagement, better productivity, and higher output. On the contrary, organizations that lack solid DEI initiatives leave room for biases.

Prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the workplace can boost employee retention. When employees feel recognized, heard, and included they are eventually more satisfied with their organization and engaged at all levels.

A workplace where people from different backgrounds, races, caste, cultures, and gender come together is also believed to bring diverse ideas to the table, thereby leading to more room for creativity to flourish.

Organizations that prioritize DEI attract a wider candidate pool because potential employees see their diversity and equality represented in their culture.

Over the last few years, conversations around integrating DEI into the company’s DNA have become more mainstream than ever. Employees have begun talking about how valued and respected they feel at work. All of this has enforced organizations to expand their DEI approaches and further support their workforce.

Below are some ways organizations can improve upon their DEI efforts:

Healthy Employee-Manager Relationships

  • Build awareness and address unconscious bias by encouraging employees to rethink, and analyze their own biases, opinions, and assumptions.
  • Revisit organizational policies and discard the ones which by any means enable biases in the workplace.
  • Promote diversity hiring or giving equal opportunities to women in senior leadership roles.
  • Encourage clear, transparent, and effective communication that lets everyone share opinions on how they can address the processes that are encouraging biases.
  • Introducing diversity training programs for employees across the organization.
  • Implement new policies that encourage employees to speak their native languages.
  • Fostering an environment where employees feel part of a shared vision.

“People leave bad managers, not organizations”; as cliche as it may sound, terrible or not-so-great managers play a major role in mass resignations. They even drive stress, absenteeism, and reduced productivity and are quite expensive to an organization’s success and culture.

During the hiring process, how a manager represents themselves makes a huge difference to an employee’s experience. Managers have the maximum impact on employee retention. The manager’s competence in handling teams can make or break employee retention. Hence, organizations must reconsider who they’re putting in managerial positions.

The catch here is that managers can be an organization’s greatest asset when trained well. Investment in leadership training helps organizations yield a significant return while creating top performers at all levels within the organization.

Gallup predicts that organizations with great managers see lesser turnover. While leading in a virtual/remote setting, managers need to go the extra mile to strengthen their relationships with their co-workers. This could be in the form of a virtual meet-up, purposeful daily connects, or one-on-one interaction to check in on employees’ well-being, performance, etc.

Nobody likes working with a manager who micromanages, under-appreciates, is highly demanding, keeps people trapped in their dead-end jobs, or shows signs of frustration at work. On the contrary, managers who promote bonding in the workplace, treat employees fairly, respect boundaries, support them through thick and thin and celebrate milestones have a much better chance of retaining employees successfully.

Lay Down Policies That Encourage Work-Life Balance

Listed below are the top skills the best managers possess:

Since 2020, anxiety, depression, and poor mental health have risen amongst employees. Remote work has made it difficult for employees to blur the line between their work and personal life. While there are immense benefits of working from anywhere, one thing is certain — this work setting has shaken up the way employees think about their personal time and the time they spend on the job.

Employees are working more than they ever did. Some are even working over the weekend tackling the responsibilities of multiple people with no elevation in title or increase in pay. This has led to extreme burnout, stress, and frustration, thereby resulting in employees leaving their jobs.

The last couple of years have been an eye-opener and proved that location/geography has the least to do with productivity. A mandate return-to-office and less time with family has forced employees to choose between work and life. More and more employees are valuing work-life balance over an attractive payroll or other perks, and the burden is on employers to address the situation. Hence, employers should look for opportunities that emphasize the mental health needs of employees.

Here’s what organizations can do to provide a better work-life balance as the industry grapples with the Great Reshuffle:

  • More freedom in work hours and location
  • Work from anywhere
  • 4-day workweeks
  • Flexible schedule
  • Having fewer calls/meetings
  • Providing manageable workload

Underline Employee Development

If organizations can’t empower their teams to present their best self at the same time giving them the breather they need after a difficult time, employees are likely to leave.

In a talent-scarce economy, the need to upskill employees has never been more evident. Times are changing. The talent and leadership pool not only needs to be ready for the dynamic demands of the current business ecosystem, but also be prepared for future challenges.

For organizations to stay competitive, their biggest investment must be in their people. Besides, when employees see that their organization is investing in their professional development, they’re less likely to quit.

One of the simplest ways to invest in people is to partner with a learning and development partner that provides opportunities for engaging, hands-on experiences.

At KNOLSKAPE, we are on the mission to develop future-ready leaders and workforce through experiential learning. Our simulation-based courses like Leading Virtual Teams, Developing Leadership Resilience and Coaching Sim keeps leaders ahead of the evolving demands of the digital world. The best part about these offerings is that they can be used by employees at different cadres: CEOs, CXOs, Managers, Individual Contributors, etc.

Rethink Leadership Styles

To retain top talent in today’s environment, organizations will have to restructure their workplace learning. A healthy learning culture not only results in more committed employees but also improves an organization’s performance. As the business ecosystem grapples with the skills shortage, leading organizations are persistently bridging the skill gap by investing in learning solutions that help its people build future-ready competencies.

When it comes to employee retention, it’s not always fair to blame workplace culture. At times, employee dissatisfaction also boils down to ineffective leadership approaches.

The Great Resignation will act as a wake-up call for managers who need to transform their leadership style to retain their top employees. Here are some ways leaders can keep their employees motivated whilst promoting a harmonious environment:

Practicing Empathy in the Workplace and Amongst The Team MembersLeaders must focus their efforts on building strong bonds with teams, engaging with direct reports, and investing in meaningful conversations. Leaders who step up as coaches in unprecedented times, pay attention to employee well-being, and create equitable growth opportunities are more likely to retain and attract talent.

Being Kind and Transparent — Leaders who can show concern, compassion, and truly care for their people will have the maximum chances of retaining employees, no matter how stressful times are.

Understand What Keeps People Motivated — In the era of mass exodus, leaders need to understand that there’s more to attrition than materialistic benefits. For example, employees are now chasing purpose at work, valued-aligned work, an opportunity for self-direction in work, and feeling of inclusion, etc. Managers need to identify and focus on what their teams want in order to encourage team camaraderie and keep employees committed to their workplace.

Reward Loyal Employees

Know more about the effective leadership approaches to lead amidst the changing times by clicking here!

While bonuses, nap rooms, and holidays have come a long way, employee retention in the current age demands more. Organizations need to ensure that they’re compensating their employees fairly. Now, compensation doesn’t necessarily mean an above-average salary. In fact, it’s only the point of entry. Organizations also need to craft the right kind of ecosystem for employees to flourish.

The trend of turnover isn’t going anywhere soon. And so, organizations should not only worry about employee retention, but also employee attraction.

Most of the time, employees leave because they are underpaid. So, step one would be to offer competitive wages to employees so they aren’t enticed to leave for a better-paying job. However, an environment of care and compassion is quite significant in retaining employees. Competitive salaries are known to improve retention for a shorter period but giving employees regular recognition helps buy loyalty in the future.

Employee loyalty is declining across workplaces and this could be due to under-recognition. Employees love being appreciated for their efforts and commitment and hence, the need for employee loyalty has never been more important. By allowing employees more flexibility and control within their roles, managers can equip their organizations against the Great Resignation. Accordingly, employees will also stay naturally invested in their roles.

How to Respond to Employee Resignation?

According to the Work Institutes 2020 Retention Report, lack of professional development opportunities, manager behavior, and poor work-life balance are the top reasons for employee turnover. Therefore, these three factors should be at the center of employee engagement initiatives. Lack of advancement opportunities is the most prevalent reason for employee exit as discussed in the report above. When employees no longer see career development opportunities with their current employer, they start feeling stuck and begin looking for a change.

To hang on to their best employees, organizations should be willing to provide upskilling, learning, and development opportunities. The new-age workforce is not satisfied with the traditional career path. They are looking for employers who can help them double down on their strengths and talents along with a paycheck.

To fulfill employees’ desire for self-growth and prevent the soaring wave of exits, providing opportunities to scale should be an organization’s priority.

Learning & Development Opportunities With KNOLSKAPE

As an L&D firm, KNOLSKAPE helps organizations build a strong learning culture by providing advanced learning and development opportunities. We are a new-age talent development company on a mission to develop future-ready leaders through experiential learning.

In today’s era of mass exodus, traditional learning models are falling short to meet the needs of the employees, the organization, and the HR/L&D teams. KNOLSKAPE’s high-impact approach helps accelerate leadership transformation and build digital mindsets at scale. Our largest libraries of simulations coupled with top-notch content allow leaders to learn, apply and practice their skills in a safe setting without real-world repercussions. Read more!

The talent shortage is fierce. The only way leaders can win talent is by mastering resilience and lending ears to their employee’s concerns.

Developing Leadership Resilienceis a program by KNOLSKAPE that helps leaders develop resilient leadership qualities that allow them to guide their people through challenges and setbacks successfully. Leveraging these skills, leaders will be in a position to understand employees’ strengths and areas of vulnerability, determine their overall purpose, and build people-centric culture. Organizations can use the Great Resignation to reconnect with their employees, foster a learning culture, and build an evolved workforce.

Coaching is another way to support your employees through volatile times. Coaching helps employees find the purpose behind their roles. Aside from that, coaching also helps strengthen the employer-employee relationship. With meaning and purpose attached to their roles, employees are more likely to commit and stay longer. The Coaching Sim by KNOLSKAPE focuses on trust-building, creating awareness, powerful questioning, and effective communication, and allows leaders to achieve optimal performance while maximizing productivity at work. The simulation taps into each learner’s strengths and provides them with the skills they need to transition successfully.

We believe that in addition to technical skills, behavioral skills are also essential for leaders to grow. The importance of communication, empathy, compassion, listening, and setting boundaries cannot be understated when it comes to combating the Great Resignation.

FAQs How to retain employees?

To learn more on how to use coaching and resilience to hold on to your top talent, contact us today! We’ll be happy to craft a personalized learning journey for your organization or leaders.

The first step is to understand what makes employees leave the job. Employers need to ask questions and communicate with their team members very often. When employees feel that their managers engage with them and appreciate their efforts, they’re likely to be happier and want to stick around for longer tenures.

Next is to provide an environment of psychological safety where employees feel included, no matter where they come from.

Flexible work setup is also a driver of employee retention. In a hybrid work setting when employees are juggling with kids, family responsibilities, and other personal chores, offering a flexible schedule really helps.

What are the 5 main drivers of employee retention?

Learning and development is another important area where organizations need to improve. More the opportunities for career advancement, higher are the chances of employees staying devoted to their workplace. Alternatively, a positive work culture, empowering leaders, and trustworthy leadership are some other areas to be taken into consideration.

1. Workplace flexibility

2. Opportunities to upskill in their roles

3. Great employee experience

4. Healthy work-life balance

5. Employer-employee relationships

Originally published at https://knolskape.com on June 30, 2022.