How to Manage Remote Talent During the Great Resignation

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By: Jacques Buffett, Certified Professional Resume Writer and Career Expert at Zety

In 2021, three words reflected the ongoing turmoil in the US labor market. The Great Resignation.

Back in 2020, everyone had hunkered down, both in their personal and work lives.

But as the winter of 2021 rolled into spring, change was in the air. A successful vaccination program gave new hope. And the prolonged period of forced introspection made many question their employment situation.

By April 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics had recorded a record monthly quit rate of 3.99 million. And as the year progressed, the Big Quit showed no signs of abating, with a new record of 4.36 million quits recorded in September.
 

Jacques Buffett HEADSHOT photo

Jacques Buffett

Losing good talent hurts a business in a multitude of ways. But looking at the numbers, the cost of replacing an employee can be anything from one-half to two times their annual salary.

Throw the new challenges of remote working into a mix, and you’ve got quite the headache for employers who aren’t prepared.

Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to retain your best talent and boost your remote management skills.

Here’s how:

1. Recognize the causes of quitting

In 2021, Zety surveyed 1,000 workers to find out what’s making them head for the door. The number one reason for quitting was a low salary, with 67% of respondents citing it as a key factor in their decision to leave.

But there were some other less obvious factors too. Here are the top 5 causes of quitting according to those we surveyed:

  1. Low salary—67%
  2. Limited career opportunities—66%
  3. Not being valued by my manager—65%
  4. Relationship with my colleagues—64%
  5. Inadequate pandemic health measures—64%

They’re all no-brainers really, and they’re all simple to deal with

2. Take action to address the causes of quitting

Paying a decent salary is the first step. The inflation rate has surged to 6.8%, its highest level since 1982. Staying on the same wage is effectively a pay cut in spending power.

There is a cost, but the impact of a high turnover can be much worse.

But you can’t just throw a few extra dollars at people and expect the problem to go away. Taking a human approach to your human capital is essential too.

Working remotely erodes the ties between employees, both within teams and between individuals and their managers.

It takes a concerted effort to keep the lines of communication open, but with a little forethought, it can be a success.

Here are some pointers that’ll help you show your employees they’re valued and help build relationships in a remote working environment.

Hold regular status meetings

My team has found that three times a week is a sweet spot for this. Keep them short and snappy to maximize impact and focus on highlighting achievements and tackling any blockers. This helps keep a sense of team cohesion and visibility amongst team members.

Hold weekly one on one meetings

Working remotely means we can’t rely on the natural interactions that take place in an office. Weekly 1:1 meetings are a must to maintain the relationship between managers and team members. And don’t just treat them as box-checking.

It’s essential that you use 1:1 meetings to check on people’s well-being, too. Ask them how they’re doing. Ask them if there are any issues you can help with. It’s all about being human and showing your team that you genuinely care.

Acknowledge success

Take the time to highlight your team’s achievements. Doing this remotely needn’t be a challenge. Use your regular meetings to highlight success, post wins on Slack for everyone to see. This helps to cement team spirit and make individuals feel that they’re valued.

Focus on development

Having limited career opportunities can be a major factor in employee turnover. Not every job can guarantee a constant career progression, but there are other things you can do to help your team feel fulfilled.

Give them the chance to learn and expand their skill sets. Growing knowledge and skills gives individuals a sense of achievement and gives organizations a more competent workforce.

Another great method is to recognize the strengths of individual team members and delegate work to them accordingly. Being able to leverage individual strengths into team success can be highly satisfying and a big boost to employee engagement.

Key takeaway

We remain in an unprecedented period of workplace volatility, and this looks set to continue in 2022. Losing talent is a daunting prospect for any business. And managing remotely can make employee retention even more challenging.

But the solution is simple. Pay a fair wage and manage your people in a caring, compassionate and empowering way. Here’s a reminder of how to do that:

  • Hold regular status meetings and 1:1 meetings to keep the lines of communication open and strengthen your relationship with your team.
  • Publicly acknowledge success and praise wins to help your team feel valued.
  • Give people the opportunity to develop and to use their strengths.

Ultimately, the biggest problem with remote working is the way it erases the human connection. But with a little care and attention, you can help to mitigate this and keep your team engaged and fulfilled.

All you need to do is ask yourself this question. What can I do to help my team thrive in 2022?

Getting the answer right won’t stop employee turnover entirely, but it will help to avoid unacceptably high turnover from crippling your business.

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