Employees have been through a lot over the past 18 months, whether they’ve been trying to juggle professional and personal responsibilities, adjusting to full-time remote working, or navigating an unstable job market in the face of economic uncertainty. The ongoing ramifications of that uncertainty are at the heart of a new report from Peakon, a Workday company.
During this difficult period, two clear trends have emerged: more employees want flexible work options included as part of their company’s return-to-work plan, and many are thinking about leaving their current employer.
In fact, as this new report shows, 27% of employees have engagement scores that indicate they’re considering changing jobs. Even as we move towards a new normal, many people aren’t interested in returning to the previous status quo.
Making Sense of How We Got Here
According to Peakon, a Workday company, and its database of over 180 million employee survey responses across 160 countries, it’s possible to understand how employee turnover intentions changed during the pandemic, and identify what employees really want.
The uncertainty created by the pandemic resulted in fewer people leaving their jobs voluntarily during this time. According to our new report, voluntary turnover dropped by 5.9% in the first half of 2021, compared to the same period in the previous year.
Despite challenging work conditions across many industries, we also found that employees who were intending to leave their position were willing to stay in their role for far longer during the pandemic—an additional 5 months, on average—reflecting the uncertainty of the global marketplace.
While these statistics might imply an increased level of employee loyalty, the engagement scores show that the opposite is true.
Even as attrition rates were lower year-on-year, 27% of current employees have the same scoring behaviors as previous leavers. This tells us that it wasn’t increased employee loyalty or job satisfaction driving the reduced attrition. Instead, employees were reluctant to leave amid job market uncertainty—uncertainty that is beginning to fade.
A Window of Opportunity for Organizations to Act
Despite the fact that employees with low engagement scores were willing to stay in their roles for longer during early 2021, we are now seeing the wave of resignations that those worsening scores anticipated. A record 4 million people quit their jobs in the U.S. in April—considered by many as the start of “The Great Resignation.”
The current wave of resignations may be underway, but looking at the scoring behaviors of employees in the months prior to the so-called Great Resignation, it’s possible to understand not only why this happened, but when it started and what organizations could have done to prevent it.
Applied to a subsection of over 500,000 active employees, there is a significant percentage of people that display similar scoring behaviors to those of the 60,000+ employees who left over the past year—meaning organizations could still prevent further resignations.
Reimagining the Employee Experience of the Future
Peakon’s latest Employee Expectations Report focused on how employee expectations changed as a result of the pandemic. There were a number of key trends that emerged, including diversity, equity and inclusion; health and wellbeing; and ongoing growth and development.
The same report also found that the proportion of employee comments on the topic of flexible work increased by 125% in 2020, compared to the previous year. As we edge tentatively closer to a post-pandemic world, these trends and employee expectations will continue to evolve.
With Peakon’s unique Intelligent Listening technology, it’s possible to not only understand how employee expectations are changing in real-time, but also empower people leaders to take targeted actions that enhance the employee experience and drive overall business success.
Download our new Heartbeat report, “The Great Regeneration: Turning the Tide on Employee Resignations,” to learn more about why employees are leaving, and how organizations can identify the signs that someone is planning to leave, before it’s too late.