We are in the midst of The Great Resignation era. With current vacancies of over 10 million, The Great Resignation is a mass exodus of our workforce, employees who are making the choice to quit. This must be addressed sooner rather than later.
THE DETERIORATION OF CUSTOMER SERVICE
There are various reasons customer service is deteriorating. Employee burnout, low employee morale, high employee turnover, frequent staff shortage, and poor, reactive hiring simply to fill positions with warm bodies are just some of them. People are basically throwing employees into their positions because there’s no time to train them. Or, the training they do is only tactical and they’re no longer delivering the nuanced experience which makes the company special, missing an opportunity to start building employee loyalty at the outset. Other reasons can include supply chain issues and failing to manage customers’ expectations. Yet they all lead to one thing: angry customers.
As for those prospective employees? The pandemic has caused many workers to reevaluate their professional careers regarding what they want and especially what is no longer tolerable. And make no mistake, a rocky start on a new employee’s career path can affect their job satisfaction as well as your employee retention. It can eventually translate into negative online reviews about their experiences in your workplace. And even in a market in which more and more companies are offering higher wages to entice job seekers, negative reviews simply don’t attract quality applicants. It can add up to a vicious cycle, one to be avoided at all costs.
IT’S A TURNOVER CRISIS – NOT A LABOR SHORTAGE
Stop calling it a labor shortage. It is a turnover crisis. A labor shortage is when there are more jobs; i.e., the number of jobs increases yet there are significantly fewer employees. The current problem isn’t simply a shortage of workers. People are choosing to quit, and that’s not a labor shortage but a crisis due to people voluntarily leaving their jobs. Everyone – from career teachers to foodservice employees to clinical staff – seems to be second-guessing their career path. The lack of workers in restaurants offering carryout has become a huge challenge. According to CNBC, at the beginning of 2021, 8% of operators said recruitment and retainment of restaurant employees was their biggest headache. This stat shot up to 78% by July! What has been created by people quitting en masse is a tight labor market, one where inflation is increased, the output is affected, and the cost of turnover is high.
Since April 2021, over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, 15 million Americans have quit their jobs. And 41% more employees currently employed are considering quitting! That number goes up to 54% when we talk about Gen Zs. Unemployment benefits are also part of the picture. And women, who carry a disproportionate burden of child care and adult care duties as well as cooking and cleaning, have spoken: 885,000 left the workforce, compared to only 216,000 men.
THE 2 BIGGEST MISTAKES IN COMBATING THE GREAT RESIGNATION
The two biggest mistakes companies make when attempting to combat The Great Resignation are just going out there and quickly filling positions with anyone with a pulse, and continuing to employ poor performers – the ones who merely take up space, dragging down a team’s collective energy and frustrating their “A” level employees.
Avoid compromising on who you hire, and keep. As a business owner, you can’t carelessly hire your way out of a poor culture. You can only make it worse because ultimately you’ll start losing your top employees. It is better to lose the sale than lose your reputation! Your business strategy must include creating and fostering culture employees will thrive and want to STAY. This can’t be just lip service, it’s a foundational aspect of your competitive advantage.
In the last two years, many workplaces have lost strong employees. Leaders with a sole focus on productivity and the bottom line without being mindful of the human aspects have lost far more employees than those with a strong company culture already in place. The Great Resignation Era must not be used as an excuse or a crutch as the demand for workers rises. Consider a bolder approach to creating a strong internal culture.
10 Ways to Build the Culture Employees Will Love
- Love your employees, and show it!
- Do not compromise who you hire OR keep
- Make employee mental health a priority
- Measure employee engagement with high quality, quarterly surveys
- Improve the quality of your employees’ lives
- Stop policing them from screwing up and start inspiring them to reach their fullest potential
- Increase your virtual team’s one-on-one meetings
- Continually share vision, direction, and sense of purpose
- Demonstrate your genuine care for your employees
- Systemize leaders “catching” employees doing something right
CX Strong is the theme of this year’s Customer Service Revolution Conference. Now more than ever, we need Customer Experience (CX) Strong. These are the companies that will dominate their industries for the next decade. They’re the ones obsessed with continuously evolving the experience they provide to both employees and customers. The next decade will be like the roaring ’20s if we’re positioned right. CX Strong companies are the ones that are obsessed with evolving new reality.
“Because what used to work, just isn’t working anymore.”
For more information and resources on overcoming the employee turnover crisis, check out The Customer Service Revolution podcast. If you’d like to listen, head over to Episode 068: Stop Calling It a Labor Shortage, It Is a Turnover Crisis.