After The Great Resignation Comes “The Big Stay”: How to Retain Employees in 2024

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Photo Credits: Disruptivo via Unsplash

As the value of job stability grows, employees are increasingly choosing to remain in work with their current employers, sparking the new trend which has been dubbed “The Big Stay”. This comes hard on the heels of “The Great Resignation”, which was previously trending globally.

Read on to find out more about the shifting attitudes towards staying in work and what employers can do to help retain their existing workforce.

What is “The Big Stay”?

“The Big Stay” refers to the trend of employees choosing to remain in work with their current employer, and employers choosing to maintain their current workforce. For employees, this demonstrates a prioritisation of job stability over career moves, new opportunities, or increased salaries.

As a result of The Great Resignation, employers have been responding by re-evaluating their work practices and attempting to meet employee expectations better. For the most part, this has involved embracing flexible working, supporting employees’ well-being, and facilitating career progression. Other contributing factors to The Big Stay trend are the present state of economic uncertainty and fewer alternative vacancies available, causing employees to value the security of a permanent role.

Read: Is it the End of the “Great Resignation”? Experts Think So!

CIPD’s most recent Labour Market Outlook Report earlier this month is certainly indicative that the trend will be continuing. As it stands, 55% of employers are planning to maintain their present workforce, the highest it’s been since Feb 2017. Similarly, a survey of over 1,000 workers conducted by Instantprint has shown that 72% of participants were not considering moving jobs this year, with over three quarters stating that they were happy in their current roles.

Whilst nothing is certain, these figures all point to a calming on the labour market front, an increased value for job stability, and a continuance of The Big Stay trend.

The Big Stay Could Lessen Concerns Caused By The Great Resignation

In early 2021, a surprising new trend began to spread across the world of work which comprised a considerable number of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs. According to data published by Statista, there were 213,000 job-to-job resignations during spring 2021 in the UK, which more than doubled throughout summer 2022 to 442,000. This was thought to be the height of The Great Resignation in the UK, although the number of employees quitting for the rest of that year remained higher than usual.

graph with blue lines - the big stay
Source: Statista (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1283657/uk-job-to-job-resignations/)

The total number of resignations over this period is possibly even higher, given that Statista’s data only recorded employees who quit to join another role. In addition, Office for National Statistics published data shows that the number of people who were economically inactive (i.e. not working or seeking work) in December 2022 was 565,000 more, than before the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Great Resignation caused substantial concern for many employers. Devising innovative recruitment and effective retention strategies, managing high rates of staff turnover, and attempting to boost employee morale were just a few challenges faced during this turbulent time. This being the case, it is unlikely that many will be sorry to see the back of The Great Resignation. It remains to be seen if employers successfully retain employees, to ensure the continuance of The Big Stay.

Better Employee Retention Policies Needed in 2024

To Martin Blake, director of Higher People, the answer is clear – we need more flexible working practices and benefits to keep people. He explains, “It’s the companies that offer statutory benefits, dictate office-only working and [offer] little development that are the ones that should worry about losing their people.”

The basis of this approach is, quite simply, to give employees what they want to keep them happy and fulfilled in the workplace. Altering workplace culture to align with the expectations of an increasing workforce of generations X and Z is one way to achieve this. This includes practices such as continuing with hybrid working, providing training, and promoting employee engagement.

These workers are also focused more on the people they want to be at work rather than simply filling a pre-existing specification. As such, prioritising developing the skills of workers, enabling them to contribute to the overall success of the business, and promoting internally will certainly be received positively by employees, particularly given the value which employees are currently placing on job stability.

Read: 28% of Global Employees Ready to Move Jobs By
Next Year | Mastering Employee Retention in 2024

Finally, treating employees with respect and enabling them to feel fulfilled at work is key, according to chief economist at Glassdoor Aaron Terrazas. Psychological safety is an essential piece of the staff retention puzzle and a failsafe way of ensuring The Big Stay continues.

“Most people will recognise that it’s never a good time to stay in a bad role,” he explains. “Post-pandemic, there’s a general sense that employees have less tolerance for unhealthy workplace cultures. We know that dissatisfied employees have wandering eyes, and it’s all the easier for them to pursue those opportunities now as remote interviewing has become commonplace in many industries.”

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