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Remote Work, Communication Key to Keeping Employees Amid the Great Resignation

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The Great Resignation led many employers to question what makes workers want to stay at a company. After all, small businesses and large corporations depend on employees to survive.

A new survey from OperationsInc — a Norwalk, Conn.-based company specializing in outsourcing services for industries like human resources and recruiting — examines the factors that go into how people decide whether to stay at a company, or to leave it.

One key finding: Fully remote workers are the least likely to be actively job hunting.

Why workers leave their jobs

The most common reason people say they’re looking for a new job is to earn a higher salary (35%), followed by better workplace benefits (19%) and more flexibility, including the ability to work remotely (15%).

Life circumstances can also significantly impact what workers value most and what they may be willing to give up. More than half of working parents — and 61% of working dads, in particular — say they’d be willing to take a pay cut if it would mean being able to keep a flexible or remote work option. Just 28% of nonparents say the same.

Businesses can directly address these kinds of worker values, but they can be expensive to implement. Small businesses in particular might find such changes require loans or intensive reorganization. But it may be a matter of give and take as employees’ values shift.

Companies aren’t keeping up with workers’ needs

Overall, it seems that employers aren’t rising to the challenge of this new working landscape. In fact, more than half of U.S. workers (56%) say they’re going to look for a new job in the next year. And although remote workers are the least likely to look for another job (just 26%), workers in the hybrid category — which blends remote and in-office work — are most likely to be actively job hunting (40%). (Among those who work fully in-person, it’s 33%.)

One area the survey examined further was how connected workers feel to their employers, which the survey ties to whether a manager or employer has asked them to share their thoughts or concerns. On that front, there are interesting trends around who gets asked and who doesn’t.

Businesses miss the mark in connecting with employees

Men (81%) are more likely to have been asked by an employer or manager about their thoughts or concerns at work than women (71%). Plus, employees at medium- (53%) and large-sized businesses (57%) are most likely to not have been asked their for feedback. (As a note, these business sizes are between 251 and 1,000 employees and 1,001 and 5,000 employees, respectively.)

These are important gaps for businesses to address. In fact, 38% of employees who haven’t been asked to share their thoughts or concerns in the past year say they don’t feel connected to their employer, compared with just 14% of those who have been asked.

These discrepancies in who is being asked for feedback can unevenly shift the burden of responsibility onto employees. But as the survey data shows, many (44%) feel uncomfortable having those kinds of conversations with managers in the first place — that leaves workers in a tough spot.

As a result, companies may find that, in failing to address this problem, they’ll be left behind as more people look for better opportunities.

Methodology: OperationsInc surveyed more than 1,000 employed adults in the U.S. in January 2022.


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