The Great Resignation: Why are people leaving deskless work, and what can you do about it?

The Great Resignation is hitting businesses hard. According to Microsoft’s The 2021 Work Trend Index, 46% of workers are planning to change jobs, while The Guardian reports that almost one in four employees in the UK are now plotting a career change

Deskless workers, in particular, have had a tough couple of years with workloads, overtime, demands and expectations rocketing throughout the pandemic. So much so that 36% of them want to quit their jobs, according to a recent report from employee communications specialists, Nudge.

This should act as a deafening warning klaxon to businesses that have ignored the impact of poor employee experience for too long. With recruiting, onboarding and training new staff, lost productivity, and operational errors, the costs of hiring new staff are vast. Not to mention the damaging effect that high staff turnover can have on company culture. 

So, what’s driving this Great Resignation, how will it impact your business, and what can you do about it? 

Why is the Great Resignation happening? 

To find answers, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) drilled into data from Revelio Labs – a data-driven HR database – taken from over a million Glassdoor reviews. In doing so, it identified five key predictors of attrition. In order, they are:

  1. Workplace culture – When workers feel disrespected, undermined or have to deal with unethical behaviour, they will look for an employer that cares. 
  2. Job security and reorganisation – The fear of losing their job will naturally cause people to look for more secure work.
  3. High levels of innovation – Employees who have had to constantly learn new ways of doing things in often imperfect systems have grounds for frustration. 
  4. Failure to recognise performance – Employees want to be recognised and rewarded, and not just financially. 
  5. Poor response to Covid-19 Those businesses that responded to the pandemic slowly or poorly pushed employees towards the exit door. 

It may not be immediately obvious, but these issues can be tackled with a laser focus on the employee experience, particularly when supported by tech investment. Here’s how.

How to tackle the Great Resignation in deskless work

Start with culture. In Skedulo’s State of Deskless Work: Q4 2021 Research Report, 97% of organisations agree increased employee autonomy would improve retention. But only 6% have it as a strategic priority.

A company that really cares about deskless employees would be investing in tools that provide the freedom they’re screaming out for, such as the ability to swap jobs with other team members or manage their own schedule. Plus, the boost of seeing the business working to improve things can have a significant effect on morale, job security, and staff retention. 

The next trigger MIT cites is high levels of innovation. But it’s constant change, rather than innovation in general, that’s turning-off for employees. Rather than ignoring progress entirely, this trigger should warn employers that any investment must be matched with a digital adoption programme that helps their workers adapt. 

Then to the fourth cause of the Great Resignation – recognising performance. This boils down to the business having a smarter and more structured way of tracking and reviewing work to drive better employee engagement and reward top performers. The right tech platform can help with that too. 

And, finally, the response to the pandemic. The problems facing deskless workers were many, but at the core were managing workloads and responding to demand. Fortunately, advances in scheduling technology provide greater operational agility to overcome these problems. And employers can take advantage by scheduling more jobs around their home addresses.

The Great Retention

The Great Resignation is a very real and potentially daunting challenge for businesses today. Born out of a global pandemic that few predicted, staff are now making career decisions they may not have otherwise made. 

As a result, the reasons why so many deskless workers are leaving their jobs are complicated – and even more difficult to manage when you’re not there to support them in person. 

This means there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But one thing is certain – a focus on employee experience, and empowering deskless workers with greater autonomy, should be at the heart of your response. Learn how the right scheduling software can give your employees more freedom, flexibility and a better experience, or book a demo today.

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