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The Great Turnover Tsunami – How to Adapt as Employer of Choice

11 Mins read

This year, business leaders are preparing for what experts are coining “The Great Turnover Tsunami,” a tidal wave of employee turnovers due to pandemic burnout, among other factors.

While most employers are strategizing around retention, it’s also important to ensure that your company is a highly desired choice for top talent. […]

NOTES: The Great Turnover Tsunami – How to Adapt as Employer of Choice

Turnover is happening, regardless of whether or not you’re retaining your best team-members. 2021 is seeing a churn in the marketplace. In fact, a staggering 51% of American employees are seeking new opportunities. Therefore, millions of some of the most highly valuable workers will be available. It will become imperative that your company becomes the top choice for these top candidates.

Here are some of the things that your organization can do, and be well positioned to ride the great turnover tsunami.

Flexible and Remote Work

If there’s one thing people learned last year, it’s that the majority of work can be done outside of the office. Work-from-home options are becoming a must when it comes to top choice employers, pandemic or not, great turnover tsunami, or not.

Working remotely can be a slippery slope. But you still have to be an advocate for a healthy work/life balance. A hybrid work model can come to the rescue. It will help ensure continuous relationship building beyond virtual platforms interactions. 

One of the biggest factors of turnover is monotony, which can lead to employee ennui, stagnancy, and dissatisfaction. And employees are looking for modern-day, realistic workplaces. They want you to break free from conventional work standards and think outside the box. So, think about more open, flexible work environments such as “Hot-desking” and “Hoteling.” They are great ways to keep people from feeling like they’re chained to their desks.

Hot-desking refers to the practice of working at whatever desk or office space is unoccupied and available. Hoteling has employees reserving a workstation via checking in and checking out. In both cases, workspaces aren’t assigned. This gives people the sense of some control over where and how they get their jobs done. This allows for flexibility, freedom, and autonomy.

Competitive Compensation

Ensure that your employees’ salaries or pay rates are keeping up with the rising trends. To make the total compensation package competitive, offer excellent health benefits, and include mental health where possible.

Provide them with professional development opportunities. The majority of workers today prefer lucrative performance development opportunities to minor pay increases dispensed overtime. 

People are interested in being experts in their own fields and masters of their own wheelhouses rather than a jack of all trades. Foster that growth, make them feel valued and respected.

Flexible (Even Unlimited) PTO

Paid time off (PTO) is another form of compensation, where employees can accrue certain amount of days. Offering unlimited PTO is one way to keep your workplace flexible. It is ok not to assign a limited number of days, but allowing employees to take as much time off as they need within reasonable constraints.

Flexible and unlimited paid time off can help heal toxic work cultures. Especially where employees feel more “loyal” and “valuable” than others by not taking their much needed days. This can lead to burn out and resentment.

Diverse and Inclusive Teams

Companies with diverse and inclusive teams have been shown to have a higher rate of employee retention and outperform other companies. In the modern-day workplace, leaders should stay culturally informed, and consider inclusivity outside of just making sure their teams are “diverse.” They should be thinking of what D&I means when it comes to adaptability, progressive solutions, and team-building.

This should also be visible in the diverse representation of the leadership teams, and how underrepresented groups are being rewarded, highlighted, and promoted?

Company Visibility

Beyond your business website, and Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter handles, your company should be ‘live’ in community engagements. This is probably the number one way to attract talent—simply being seen. You as a company should be looking for events and engagements on a regular basis to get your leaders “out there” as representatives of your organization. Also, trust your employees to be the image and expert representation of your brand. 

Getting your leaders and employees out in the industry also provides them unique opportunities to collaborate with other teams, share and trade innovative ideas, and simply show up as the top leaders of your field.

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What Is Your Reason for Leaving Your Job?

Giving your reasons for leaving a job helps interviewers determine what satisfaction and engagement at work looks like to you. It can also shed light on what your long-term career plan is and what you want to get out of a new role.

1. More responsibility and better career growth. Wanting to develop your skills can be one. Give examples of the kinds of skills you want to build on and tangible ways you’d like to go about doing it.

2. A career change. A new direction professionally, to find interesting and meaningful work.

3. Company reorganization. It’s helpful to give some examples as to why the new structure isn’t working for you. And what you’ve done to try and improve things and what you’d change. 

4. Better work-life balance. Try and focus on what you’re seeking for in the long term, whether it’s remote work, a four-day work week or flexible hours.

5. Relocation. Explain why you’re making the move.

Avoid launching into a barrage of complaints about your former workplace, colleagues or manager.

How Work-Life Balance Can Make You a Better Employee

Achieving perfect equality between work and life is a myth. However, it is far more beneficial to focus on the quality of time you’re spending both personally and professionally — and not so much on the quantity.

When work is all-consuming, it can result in feelings of powerlessness and resentment. Getting back a healthier sense of work-life balance could help you to recharge. This can get you back in touch with the aspects of your job that you loved in the first place.

There’s a time and place for hard work. But always remember, that, at the end of the day, the best thing you can do, is to step back and give yourself a chance to reset.

Work-life balance is the key to avoiding burnout. When people sleep well, they have time to handle their lives, families, health and recreation. They are better rested, less anxious and more energetic.

When people have time to experience different things — outside of work and colleagues — they are more creative. Innovating and solving thorny problems – which fills our daily lives – requires creativity and lateral thinking. The stimuli that comes from reading, exercise, nature and having conversations with non-colleagues also enhances that. Our non-work experiences provide more sources of ideas.

How to Create the Life and Career You Want With Self-Love

Self-love is the process of knowing yourself, connecting with your inner self, and overcoming self-limiting beliefs. It involves letting go of everything that doesn’t serve you, and falling in love with yourself.

Self-love helps silence the fear of rejection, our inner critic. But instead, self-love helps us to befriend rejection so it can serve us rather than taunt us. And once we have that done with, we develop confidence in what we stand for, when we know who we are from within. With self-love, we are able to let go of self-judgment, negative thoughts, and opinions. Including people who are not aligned with our positive future.

How to Create the Life and Career You Want With Self-Love

If you are not getting “No’s” as answers, you may just not be knocking on as many doors of opportunities as you should or can.

Some doors will open wide their arms-hinge with a “Yes, welcome in”. But many more will say “No.” Be grateful that they will not all slam the door at your face. And neither will any of them nail you in a confine, to stop you from pursuing other opportunities.

No, none of them can say, “this is the end.” So, keep pursing your opportunities, and do not stop practicing self-love.

We should learn to accept ourselves wholly for who we are. And when we do, people around us also start seeing us in the same light. Likewise, when we love what we do and do what we love, we are alive and soaring in all that we do. This further draws others with positive energy to us. Ultimately, that power of love for yourself, will not only elevate your relationship with yourself, but it will enhance and deepen your relationship with work, family, life, and everything else around you.


4 Tips to Address Back to Work Anxiety By a Psychologist

This is a difficult time for everyone. It is difficult for employees thinking about getting back to in-person office work. But it’s also difficult for managers, businesses and for employers as they try to kind of figure out the logistics of this new normal.

Co-workers and managers need to understand that some people may still struggle with the uncertainty of the pandemic. The fears of the virus or simply seeing co-workers again after being isolated away from physical contact with each other for several months.

While this is not an exhaustive list, the 4 tips below can be a good place to start as everyone works to address their back to work anxiety.

Start slowly

If you haven’t been out much the past year, you should slowly and safely start doing so. If it’s really intimidating, do so in off-hours when maybe the traffic won’t be quite so high. At that period of the day, you have an opportunity to explore and just be in the world again.

See the positive and bright side

Going back to the office could actually be a good thing to many. We are designed for interactions and scheduled close work proximity can help in the delivery of certain assignments.

Basic self care is first care

Make sure to take care of yourself and start with the basics. Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise and connect with others, virtually and face-to-face. Gradually expand your safety bubble of people you feel safe to interact with without fear of the virus.

Seek professional support

If you need more help, talk to a professional. Act, talk to your manager about your concerns, engage with your human resource to understand any new policy in place and to know what type of support is going to be available. Determine to remove all possible barriers to a healthy career; seek other professional help, for example, to address mental health concerns.


I Feel Like I Am Being Their Dad Rather Than Just a Parent

The wall of tradition is coming to an end, and millennials have cemented and taken on the mantle of gender equality. Fathers in general are more involved in their children’s lives more than ever before, and now with the pandemic even more so. And they like it.

But women still carry out more of the responsibilities at home. Women still do more housework than men even if they earn more money than their husband. The scales of society rules are still tipped in man’s favor, but equality is in the pipeline.

Simple things like not having to be in the office meant not having to be out the door before the kids woke up.

Not having to do all that has allowed me time to have breakfast with the kids, which is something really small. But now, I couldn’t think of not doing that.

It allowed my wife to be more relaxed going to work, knowing that the kids were being looked after.

I Feel Like I Am Being Their Dad Rather Than Just a Parent
Fathers in general are more involved in their children’s lives more than ever before. And they like it. Photograph: iStock

For many dads who may miss going to the office, being present in the family life “certainly outweighs” the rat race. This is what has always saw us struggling to get to the office for 8am.

A dad said, “the kids are enjoying having me around and I am enjoying being there and being more available for my family. These days, I am 100 per cent happier as a person and as a father. I feel sad in a way. And that is because I wasn’t around far more earlier in my kids life, when they were younger.

Giving individuals control over how to work boosts motivation. It allows them to produce quality work, and encourages a strong work-life balance.

You may also like; Define Worklife and Work-life Balance


A Blueprint For Designing Hybrid Work Policies

Shifting to remote work should not be the only focus of work redesign. A policy declaring that people must work remotely, or even one saying they can work whenever and wherever they want can have issues. It can easily become pressure to work longer hours and be available 24/7—leading to burnout over time. 

Research Outcome

There are two important elements of the initiative studied by Erin L. Kelly and Phyllis Moen. They are; training managers to shift how they approached their roles and how they can help their teams to identify and reduce low-value work.

First, managers need to express support of employees’ personal lives and to clearly articulate performance goals and expectations. This help managers to focus on monitoring results rather than “face time” at the office. 

Secondly, structured team discussions helped overloaded employees identify changes they could make as individuals and teams. This work redesign approach ultimately changed everyday work practices. Such as, reducing the number of meetings or the number of people required to attend them, and increasing the ability to work remotely. It also help with the identification of low-value work that teams can reduce and still hold work hours steady.



These changes improved well-being and work/life integration for employees and managers. There was an increase in job satisfaction, and the company benefited from reduced costs associated with turnover among valuable employees.

But such benefits arise only when employees feel they can choose where and when they work – not by mandating some particular mix of remote and in-office work. It is also critical that managers and coworkers respect workers’ personal and family situations. In other words, the benefits documented come not from a policy allowing remote work per se, but from gaining a sense of control and support.

No One Size Fits All

The exact mix or blend of remote and in-office work may depend on the work being done and the personal lives of the workforce, but working at home exclusively only works well for some employees and roles. However, the research shows that having some say in when, where, and how they work is highly valued by many employees, and can be good for a company’s bottom line.

Next Steps

The work redesign approach deployed in this study did not set up formal policies laying out how much time was expected in the office. It does not also require individuals to get permission from their managers to work from home. Instead, it encourages regular conversations about how people hoped to work and how the team could coordinate to do its best work. Thereby, setting the stage for adaptable and customized ways of working.

This is the perfect moment to launch a work redesign initiative like the one researched. This can be done by inviting teams to discuss and learn from how they adapted during the pandemic and how they struggled, and to imagine what might work well for them. Erin and Phyllis created free training resources from their study, including a facilitator’s guide to implementing this kind of work redesign program.

Erin L. Kelly is the Sloan distinguished professor of work and organization studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Phyllis Moen holds the McKnight endowed presidential chair in sociology at the University of Minnesota. They are the authors of Overload: How Good Jobs Went Bad and What We Can Do About It.


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