Why 2022 could be the year of the Great Retention

December 14, 2021 | 3 minute read
Tim Sackett
CEO & Author of The Talent Fix
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Are we sure 2021 was really the year of The Great Resignation? I mean, we had historic levels of turnover beginning in April, but it wasn’t exactly that the majority of workers were resigning from jobs and not working. Many were resigning from jobs and then immediately going to work for your competition. Perhaps a better title for 2021 should be the Great Reshuffling!

What we now know is that almost every industry and every organization is in a hiring crisis, especially retail and hospitality.

Organizations have gone through a year of increased hiring and turnover, and the only real way out of this for 2022 will be to focus on the things they can control and work hard to retain employees on the team right now. As we look to return to the office in 2022, it could be the year of the Great Retention because knowing what we now know and having the right tools and knowledge in place will be the most strategic way to curb the current churn most organizations are experiencing.

As organizations get ready for 2022 and build out their strategic plans for the year, there are many foundational people strategies HR leaders must focus on across the business to ensure they provide an exceptional employee experience that will enable them to retain employees.

What to focus on in 2022

  • Develop leaders to be “people first” – In 2021, we all have some new leaders with all the reshuffling we’ve seen on our teams. New leaders tend to focus on results and excellence, which we need, but often this comes at the expense of the teams they manage. New leaders need to strike a balance between getting results and being understanding and empathetic with employees to prevent burnout. It is also difficult to plan and focus on leadership training when many are in a hiring crisis. The reality is, the time is now for organizations to focus on developing great leaders.
  • Revamp your internal mobility process – Most of your employees are leaving for two main reasons: One, someone else is willing to pay them significantly more money, and two, employers aren’t giving them an opportunity to move up and around the organization into roles they desire. Employees often see leaders continue to hire external talent, while sitting on the sidelines wanting those same roles. If you do nothing else in 2022, develop your internal mobility processes and technology to improve the employee experience and increase retention.
  • Give employees a reason to stay – During the hiring crisis of 2021, which is bound to continue into 2022 and even 2023, we must continue to re-recruit our employees. Organizations have a superpower that so many of us neglect. What is it? It’s the ability to make employees feel safe, supported, and appreciated through timely and relevant communication and feedback opportunities. 2021 hasn’t necessarily made them feel very special. Most teams have been understaffed and in crisis mode with a lot of uncertainty and while many have left, others have remained to work tirelessly to keep our organizations humming. 2022 will be the year we make our current employees feel valued and supported.

Moving from crisis to thriving

There are so many actions organizations can take right now to help them get an early start to the year of The Great Retention, from improving their feedback, and listening, to re-assessing their job and work design, compensation plans, skills development and learning opportunities. Our reality is that we spent most of 2021 in a crisis. We’ve gotten used to working in crisis mode, but it’s now time to work strategically to really focus on the employee experience. It’s not just about how to retain all those new hires and the staff that stuck with us, but how can we help them all thrive?

2022 could be the year of The Great Retention, but only if employers take important steps to improving the employee experience right now.

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Tim Sackett

CEO & Author of The Talent Fix

Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP is the President of HRUTech.com a leading IT and Engineering Staffing firm headquartered in Lansing, MI. Tim has over 20 years of combined Executive HR and Talent Acquisition experience, working for Fortune 500 companies and he has his master’s degree in HR Management. Tim is a highly sought-after international speaker on leadership, HR &TA Tech, talent acquisition and HR execution. Tim is currently a Senior Faculty member with the Josh Bersin Academy.

Tim is the author of the best-selling SHRM published book, The Talent Fix: A Leader’s Guide to Recruiting Great Talent. He also writes every day at his blog the Tim Sackett Project and over at Fistful of Talent. Tim is married to a hall of fame wife, has three sons, and his dog Scout. In 2021, he was named a Top 10 Global Recruitment Influencer. He has more Twitter followers than his 3 GenZ sons combined, which they love to point out (@TimSackett). He is a lifelong workplace advocate for Diet Mt. Dew fountain machines and considered the world’s foremost expert on workplace hugs.

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