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Mark Seemann


Founder and CEO

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The Great Resignation: How to ensure your appraisals aren’t too little, too late

What actions can HR professionals take to help stem the flow of 'The Great Resignation' in 2022?

People are leaving their jobs in droves and this has led to a recent phenomenon that economists have dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’. In fact, a recent Microsoft study confirmed that over 40% of the global workforce considered leaving their employer last year. 

While talent retention has always been a high priority at the best of times, the pandemic has clearly re-written the rules when it comes to worker expectations. 

Interestingly, Anthony Klotz, who first coined the term ‘The Great Resignation’, describes three core reasons for the record number of people quitting their jobs:

  1. A backlog of churn: many people who wanted to quit their jobs in 2020, yet decided not to due to the uncertainty at the time, are now acting on this.

  2. Emotional exhaustion and burnout.

  3. The pandemic has led to a lot of people reevaluating their jobs and what they want from their career.

There is one key element that ties the above three together: employees are not happy in their roles. 

As such, it’s clear that fostering a positive workplace culture is key to helping retain employees. The best way to ensure employers create this positive culture is through recognition, feedback, and appraisals.

Continuous appraisals for the win

HR leaders are quickly learning that sticking to the traditional annual appraisal process is ineffective in the hybrid world of work.

For one, annual appraisals offer employee feedback on past events that are often outdated by the time the yearly check in comes around. What’s needed is a more regular check in process where employees can discuss performance objectives, development, and wellbeing more than just once a year. 

It is also important to place stress levels and the mental health of employees high on the corporate agenda, as check-ins can act as an early warning beacon, helping to flag up when employees are struggling to cope. 

More often than not, burnout occurs when tasks are not prioritised properly

As stated above, employee burnout has been listed as one of the main drivers behind the great resignation. More often than not, burnout occurs when tasks are not prioritised properly – therefore, setting clear objectives within these regular check-ins is more important than ever. 

These need to be connected on a company-wide, departmental, and personal level, and be communicated clearly with employees. When teams have a clear view of their targets, employees can prioritise their workload based on what really counts, rather than work themselves into the ground. 

Recognition, recognition, recognition

Sometimes, all it takes for an employee to feel energised and motivated is to be recognised for the hard work they’ve done. 

When people work hard and it goes unnoticed, it’s no wonder they look for other opportunities that can give them this deserved recognition. Remote, hybrid, or otherwise, employees want to feel valued, so making this a part of the feedback process is vital. 

This doesn’t always need to come from the top-down – business leaders should encourage peer-to-peer based recognition and intertwine this with corporate values instead of just performance.

With the workforce in a constant state of flux, people need to know where they are heading within a company.

Another way to make employees feel truly appreciated is by giving them clear career progression opportunities. 

With the workforce in a constant state of flux, people need to know where they are heading within a company, especially as more people turn to remote working – otherwise, it’s easy to feel like you’ve hit a brick wall. 

When employees are given these opportunities, it makes them feel like they’re growing with the company and provides a sense of purpose, which in turn fosters loyalty. 

Providing constant feedback is a straightforward way to achieve this – ensuring employees are always on the right path. 

Foster a community with a purpose

In a recent StaffCircle survey, we found that 42% of employees said the culture of their organisation has deteriorated since the pandemic. 

Prior to this, when most organisations operated on a Monday to Friday, in-person office schedule, it was easy to see if someone was unengaged or unhappy, and whether they got along with their team members. 

This is undoubtedly more difficult to spot within a virtual world, even with video-streaming systems like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. While these tools do the trick when it comes to communication, they are not designed to track sentiment and engagement levels. 

42% of employees said the culture of their organisation has deteriorated since the pandemic. 

With that said, business leaders need to introduce a system for two-way communication that fosters a sense of community. 

This is particularly important within a hybrid or remote setting. Technology that enables one to one check ins, feedback loops, or monthly reviews is crucial to ensure your employees always feel continuously seen within a company. 

Moreover, there are now technologies that can provide HR with unparalleled access to employee-related and other business data points. Such initiatives are vital for helping business leaders make strategic real-time decisions that focus on turning outdated processes into real results-driven changes. 

The bottom line 

‘The Great Resignation’ is certainly shaking things up, but it’s only a threat if organisations don’t proactively approach the way appraisals are conducted. 

Rather it is an opportunity to build a positive, engaging and irresistible work culture. Making sure appraisals aren’t too little, too late, will be key to this, and a crucial way to retain top talent. 

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Mark Seemann

Founder and CEO

Read more from Mark Seemann

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