The Great Resignation Might Not Be as Great as Expected

New WorldatWork Survey Reveals 21 Percent of Organizations Experienced Voluntary Turnover in the Past 12 Months

May 17, 2022

Scottsdale, Arizona — Employee turnover rates are higher than pre-pandemic levels yet lower than expected for a Great Resignation era, according to a new survey published by WorldatWork in partnership with UFlexReward.

The survey, “Workforce Planning in the Great Resignation Era,” shows that while the voluntary turnover rate is higher in the United States than in any other country, it only increased by 3 percentage points since prior to the global pandemic.

“We have heard a lot about the “Great Resignation,” but no one has really quantified the turnover directly from a group of leading organizations. This new joint research study by WorldatWork and uFlexReward provides the most recent turnover benchmarks but more importantly feedback from organizations on what has been more effective in addressing turnover,” said Steve Brink, President of uFlexReward. “The study also provides benchmarks on remote work, priorities of skills in HR and other valuable information.”

Top priorities for survey respondents, both employees and job seekers, are remote work and work/life balance. Among the most effective areas of action cited by respondents to reduce turnover were recruitment; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); recognition; and development/performance management.

“We see that the most effective actions employers are taking to reduce turnover relate to remote work and work/life balance. Of organizations who have implemented or are currently implementing action in HR policies, 87% are adding remote work options which shows their recognition of the importance and effectiveness of work/life balance on retention and recruitment,” said Deirdre Macbeth, WorldatWork Content Director. “In fact, organizations are recruiting more HR staff to address these issues, and to redesign the way the workforce works.”

Sample Findings: Turnover is higher than pre-pandemic levels yet lower than expected for a Great Resignation era.

  • On average, 21% of organizations have experienced voluntary turnover in the past 12 months, a 17% increase from prior to the global pandemic (18%). Even across organization size, this is consistent.
  • This turnover rate is most emphasized in the U.S. than in any other country.

HR policies, compensation and recruitment are cited as the most effective areas of action to reduce turnover. Other areas of action included DEI, recognition, development/performance management and benefits, but some of these actions may take longer to achieve desired impact on retention.

  • 47% prioritized work-life balance.
  • 47% prioritized work-life balance.
  • 47% modified or added flexible work schedules/alternate schedules.
  • 44% modified or added a remote work policy.
  • 44% modified or added new paid leave benefit (including paid holidays).
  • 42% increased geographic scope for sourcing qualified candidates.
  • 42% increased off-cycle pay increase.
  • 32% modified compensation levels or pay bands for roles.
  • 20% modified or added a DEI program or initiative.

Organizations are prioritizing recruitment skills when recruiting new HR talent.

  • 80% of organizations say labor shortage/competition for talent is the greatest HR challenge in 2022.
  • On average, the number of full time HR employees focused on talent acquisition and recruitment in HR has increased by more than one-third) since prior to 2020. 

On average, half of employees are currently working remotely.

  • Prior to the pandemic, 13 percent of employees were remote, with a high of 67 percent during the height of the pandemic, with that number now leveling out at 50 percent. Of those with remote workers, eight percent of organizations have 100 percent of employees working remotely.
  • A quarter of organizations plan to downsize their physical workplace.
  • Over half of organizations using hybrid schedules are doing so on a two or three-day basis.

About the Study

WorldatWork invited its broader membership and customer base to participate in an electronic survey on pay equity initiatives. A total of 556 responses were received, representing organizations of different sizes and across multiple industries. Email invitations were sent directly to participants on Feb. 14, 2022, and results were collected over a 14-day period. Sample sizes vary by question.

About WorldatWork

WorldatWork is the leading global nonprofit organization for professionals engaged in the critically important practice of Total Rewards. We serve those who are responsible for cultivating inspired, engaged, productive, and committed workers in effective and rewarding workplaces. We guide them in the design and delivery of Total Reward programs with our education and certification; idea exchange; thought leadership; knowledge creation; information sharing; research; advocacy; and networking.

About uFlexReward

uFlexReward is the world’s first digital global total reward platform, combining multiple total reward data silos into one real-time ‘always on’ platform. The platform facilitates agile transformation in reward and HR by quickly providing a continuous, drillable database into any organization’s largest spend - people. With the highly configurable platform, you can use built-in modelling and what-if functions or using other applications to address challenging questions and problems quickly throughout your organization. Aggregating all your data from disparate systems allows the unique ability to view, evaluate and make decisions around keys items such as detailed pay data for complex statutory disclosures; gender pay gap and executive pay ratios; and manage pay equity across all your countries, functions and teams. Since the tool contains all elements of total rewards, uFlexReward provides intuitive real time total reward statements with the ability to select options to personalize total rewards for each individual.

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