The Great Resignation: Developing A Robust Retention Strategy

Beyond the devastating health crisis, the pandemic has caused no small amount of pain to businesses everywhere as millions of employees have stepped away from their jobs in hopes of finding greater fulfillment in their lives. No sector has been untouched by this ongoing economic trend. A new report from Amrop outlines how companies can build a retention strategy to keep their top talent.

August 3, 2022 – Significant changes to recent employment rates have forced employers to re-evaluate their approach to staff retention and the factors that influence longevity and strength in a workforce. The Great Resignation, in which millions of people are leaving their jobs in search of better lifestyles, has caused upheaval in almost every industry, creating large gaps in talent and production, while impacting budgets and company morale, according to a new report from Amrop. “At Amrop, we have noted significant trends in our partner countries – the ripple effect of what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports as 47.8 million Americans resigning from their work last year,” said Annika Farin, Amrop Partnership chair and managing partner of the German office. “Our position as a global leadership advisory and executive search firm allows us to analyze and anticipate these challenges in other territories, assisting our worldwide network with strategies to tackle The Great Resignation.”

Amrop data shows that after its hard hit on the U.S., The Great Resignation is now impacting a vast European territory, causing smaller countries to take note of retention lessons learnt in the U.S. The study also notes that Europe’s demographical factors are impacting the job market, as the Baby Boomers are all exiting quite simultaneously. “This is especially apparent in Germany, we see this everywhere now, and have to get creative about it,” said Ms. Farin.

According to Amrop Italy’s president and managing partner Antonio Pellerano, the phenomenon is impacting 60 percent of companies in Italy, and several thousands of positions, mainly in the digital and ITC areas. Similar trends are now being seen in Eastern and Western Europe.

Considering New Jobs

Although a Microsoft survey conducted last year highlights that 41 percent of the global workforce is considering quitting their jobs, the anticipated rate of resignation in the executive class is significantly higher. A recent Deloitte survey shows that nearly 70 percent of C-suite employees in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia are seriously considering leaving their jobs.

The study reported that 81 percent of the C-suite believes that improving their well-being is more important than advancing their career, as they go in search of better-lived lives. This lifestyle pursuit is now trickling into European countries, forcing companies to pay close attention to their chief executives, chief financial officers, and other C-level employees, as they reassess the role of work in their lives.

“Amrop develops retention programs that keep employees engaged, productive and employed – always customized to the enterprise’s needs and goals,” said Ms. Farin. “A multi-faceted, targeted, and personal strategy is key, supported by a trusting, secure working relationship between the employer and employee.”

The retention counselling service developed by Amrop Woodburn Mann and the Woodburn Mann Leadership Science Institute offers an example of such a program, and one that the Amrop network around the world extracts lessons from when dealing with partner retention strategies. It focuses on principles of enhanced engagement – at a personal and institutional level – that facilitate solutions for executives within a business.

Long-Term Loyalty and Delivery

“The program cultivates long-term loyalty and delivery, enhancing the retention proposition and attracting the executive to remain in the company,” said Andrew Woodburn, managing partner at Amrop Woodburn Mann, who sits on the global board of the Amrop Partnership. “In most cases, the individual is not informed that they are undergoing retention counselling, since this knowledge could create an awkward dynamic between them and their employer. Rather, they are awarded an executive development opportunity. Together with the employer, we design a program to overcome some of the challenges triggering the employee to become a flight risk.”

Related: Delving Deeper into the Great Resignation

Mr. Woodburn advises businesses to look beyond solely addressing the employee’s needs. “In many cases, culture and retention stem from the leadership style trickling down from above,” he said. “Therefore, systemically, the culture and leadership of the organization need to be attended to from the top down. This is a long-term program and can take many years to execute within an organization, requiring a dedicated culture commitment and buy-in from the business.”

Managing Through the Great Resignation and Reshuffle

The Great Resignation and Reshuffle has continued into the summer, and it’s hitting the C-suite particularly hard. While the demand for top talent exceeds the supply, talented executives are more inclined to consider external opportunities, according to a new report from DHR’s Mike Magsig, Mary Matthews, and Heather Smith. As a result, companies seeking such talent must be creative and flexible in the selection process.

What’s more, high-potential, mid-career executives are open to alternative careers, according to the DHR report. “Employers need to find the means of accelerating high-performing employees’ careers beyond the pace and substance of pre-COVID practices,” it said. “A clear path of career trajectory has become required to retain most valuable employees. Employees who have already built career capital are reshuffling, and since the C-suite is not immune to The Great Resignation, corporate succession planning has become more important than ever.”

He recommends a diverse facilitation mandate when creating such a program. “It should include attitude, current organizational environment, any personal issues, education and training, leadership, remuneration, role scope, and future expectations. This broad palette should bring to the surface the critical issues that need to be addressed by the retention program, to generate a workable solution for both the employee and the employer.”

At Amrop, we encourage businesses to make retention plans part of their mandate to attract, develop, and retain talent,” said Ms. Farin. “Our aim when working with corporations is to hold on to enterprise knowledge by retaining long-term, highly valuable employees, particularly in the executive category. An executive’s experience, qualifications, networks, insight, company understanding and ability to contribute beyond KPIs are highly prized commodities – and these C-suites should be a strong focus in a business’s retention strategy.”

To ensure good retention planning, Amrop recommends an agile approach that considers the individual and their overall well-being. “Companies that can offer flexibility to their employees and understand their needs and values are more likely to maintain a stable and competitive workforce,” the Amrop report said. “Offering attractive benefits, being committed to long-term career prospects, facilitating training, and investing in ongoing learning will instill greater loyalty, retaining talented and motivated executives who are committed to the organization’s success.”

Founded in 1977, Amrop advises organizations in executive search, board and leadership services. The organization has 65 offices in 53 countries.

Related: What Candidates are Really Looking for In New Jobs

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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