How to Turn “The Great Resignation” Into “The Great Retention & Recognition”


How to Turn “The Great Resignation” Into “The Great Retention & Recognition”

One of your top MVPs quit without warning, and you are left baffled. Did you miss the signs of disengagement? Or weren’t you offering enough? Would it set off a cascading fallout with other top performers following suit?

Hiring the right talent that fits the profile is hard. With the rest of the team running low on morale and wearing themselves out while taking up the slack, you risk pushing them to the tipping point.

Companies are starting to learn the hard way that they no longer hold all the cards and retaining talent is a much bigger challenge than hiring them.

Employees seek more than just a fat compensation for their time spent in the grind—they need to feel recognized and valued for their efforts, and a promise of a brighter prospect, or they won’t serve a company that doesn’t serve them.

Therefore understanding employee recognition and retention is the need of the hour to ensure your best talent sticks around.

How Employee Recognition Can Help Overcome “The Great Resignation”

“The Great Resignation” is happening now, and the numbers are staggering. According to a recent Gallup report, 3.6 million people in the U.S. resigned from their jobs in May 2021 alone, which led to a record-high number of vacant job positions across different industries.

Another article from NPR stated that the Great Resignation is an occurrence of employees reconsidering:

  • What “job” actually means in a post-pandemic world
  • The way they are valued at their workplace
  • The amount of time they spend at their workplace

While some quit to avoid the whole work-from-office situation, after enjoying the flexibility to work from home and eliminating those stressful commutes for more than a year, others waited patiently for the world to calm down before they could change their jobs.

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, HR managers are witnessing another major trend for the Great Resignation. It is “disengagement.”

According to the State of the Global Workplace 2021 Report, 74% of the employees searching for new jobs after the pandemic were disengaged. Interestingly, the issue is not about the industry, pay, or job role, but rather the issue is the workplace itself.

Today, employees want a workplace that not only meets their expectations but also makes them feel appreciated and valued. Recruiters and talent acquisition teams are integrating this throughout the employee lifecycle – right from hiring to retaining.

For instance, recruiters are shifting from the legacy hiring processes to a more holistic, consultative hiring approach by leveraging modern recruitment technology. By using automation in their hiring processes, they are nurturing candidates to ensure they are engaged throughout the recruitment process.

Recognition matters the most.

A company’s most significant competitive advantage is an engaged and happy workforce. And the way to accomplish happiness and engagement is through recognition.

Everybody loves to be appreciated for the work they do. A simple note of gratitude from employers can have a significant impact on employees. However, today’s generation expects more than just a pat on the back.

Having a system of rewards in the form of performance awards and corporate gifts or point-based reward systems is an excellent way to show your appreciation and that you care enough to keep them satisfied and happy.  

There’s no doubt that happy employees are creative, super productive, and more supportive towards their peers, but the most important thing is that happy employees stay with a company for a long time.

Don’t believe us? Then check out what HBR said. They found that 40% of the employees in the U.S. would put extra energy into their work if they were appreciated and recognized often.

Another article from Forbes mentioned that 66% of the employees would resign if they didn’t feel valued or recognized. Interestingly, for millennials, this number increases to 76%.

Another survey report from SHRM reported that 79% of the millennials and Gen Z employees would be loyal to their employers if they conducted RnR (Rewards and Recognition) programs more often.

Here are some essential tips for building the culture of recognition and appreciation in your company:

  • Recognize the efforts and accomplishments of your employees: Recognition is crucial for employees. It is the ultimate motivating factor that can drive excellent outcomes. So try to make sure that you appreciate and reward employees for their hard work.
  • Timely recognition is crucial: They say, strike while the iron is hot, and this stands true for employee recognition too. Imagine someone being appreciated and recognized after months of doing excellent work. The longer a manager takes to recognize an employee, the less likely he/she will see the proclamation as authentic.
  • Reward employees that go the extra mile: Employees that go above and beyond their responsibilities shouldn’t just be recognized. They must be rewarded with pride! This encourages them to make special efforts in the future too.
  • Recognize even non-work accomplishments: Recognise and reward employees who accomplish things outside work. Say, for instance, praise an employee that runs a marathon or quit smoking. Showing interest in their personal achievements makes them feel valued.
Additional Strategies to Retain Your Employees

Here are nine additional strategies that you can implement to turn around the “Great disengagement and resignation” and retain your employees’ long term: 

1. Square pegs in round holes 

Domain skills and expertise can be gained by most people who have worked in the industry long enough, so look for someone who fits your company’s work culture. Individuals who share the same set of values blend into the team sooner and can become valued contributors in a short time.

When making a decision, ask questions that pertain to the organization’s value system and explain how their roles match the values. The turnover rate of employees is lower when new employees know what is expected of them. Do not hesitate to go off the textbooks and take the off-beat track to assess prospects. 

2. Onboarding and Mentorship  

The support and training you give to new employees from their first day set the tone for the rest of their tenure in the organization. A good onboarding process should quickly warm them up to the company culture and their roles in the team.

As an extension of the onboarding process, new employees can be paired with mentors for familiarization and guidance. It’s an opportunity for both as the newcomer learns the procedures and the mentor gets a fresh perspective.

Existing employees can also benefit significantly from mentorship programs. The improved performance and the subsequent job satisfaction are added advantages. 

3. Compensation and Perks

The compensation you offer needs to be competitive to keep your employees happy. Fair appraisals and constant evaluations that can lead to a hike must be done frequently to keep the top performers in top shape. Even if you cannot afford to increase the pay at the moment, consider other forms of compensation, such as bonuses, incentives, retirement plans, or health benefits.

While fair compensation is a given, work perks are valued by all professionals and go a long way in boosting morale. Perks, such as remote working options, flexible schedules, or paid parental leaves, can entice new talent and make your company stand out. 

4. Adopting a Hybrid Work Model

Flexible working options have become one of the top things most employees expect from their companies. While it mainly stayed as a work perk before the lockdowns, it is now an expectation as recent surveys show that close to 74% are willing to quit their jobs to work remotely, and 26% left a current job position to work remotely.

Although remote working has proven to be a good arrangement for both, many organizations are still not entirely convinced about a virtual workforce. The advantages to employees include saved commute time, fewer distractions, and improved work-life balance.

On the other hand, companies can benefit from the savings in terms of overheads, infrastructure costs, and a decline in office politics and absenteeism. Perhaps the most significant advantage is an abundance of talent brought due to the extended geographical reach. 

5. Responsibility and Respect 

One of the best ways to motivate your employees is by showing your trust and giving them more responsibilities that facilitate their growth. Newer tasks might require them to gain new skills, which broaden their horizons and bring more opportunities in the form of promotions.

A competent employee is respected by all. And thus, as a manager, it should be your priority to show your respect and appreciation regularly so you can set a positive workplace culture and motivate others to take up more responsibility and grow. 

6. Training for Growth

In today’s rapidly changing technology environment, upskilling employees is critical to help them keep up with all the advances and challenges that come their way. With evolving business requirements, they need to gain new abilities and competencies to stay relevant.

Getting involved in helping them achieve their short and long-term career goals is a smart employee retention strategy that many fail to recognize. Showing that you are invested in their future earns their loyalty, and they are more likely to stay for lesser pay if they see growth opportunities. 

7. Feedback and suggestions

Feedback is critical, and companies are embracing the frequent team meetings over the annual performance review. Shorter feedback cycles introduce corrective suggestions sooner so employees can develop in the short term and think about their long-term goals.

Discuss their potential career advancement and plan realistically to reach career goals. When it is time to let go of someone, conduct exit interviews that can help you assess your employee management approaches or uncover poor management practices that lead to attrition. 

8. Investing in Wellness

Keeping your employees fit both physically and mentally should be one of your top priorities. Investing in their health not only shows them that you care about their well-being but also improves productivity in the form of fewer sick leaves and absences due to medical emergencies.

To support their health, invest in stress management programs or reimburse fitness or wellness classes that improve their condition. You can also set up corporate wellness programs that monitor the employees’ health through regular check-ups and lifestyle advice. 

9. Work-life Balance 

Work-life balance is one of the most sought-after aspects of employment for most people. Job satisfaction is highest when work is rewarding, and they get time off work to indulge in meaningful pursuits.

The importance of work-life balance cannot be overstressed for employees with their own families. Therefore show them that you understand that they have lives outside of work and encourage them to set boundaries between their work and life.

Offer them ample vacation time to recharge and compensate with extra time off if they had to burn the midnight oil to wrap up important projects. 


Employee retention strategies need to evolve with the rapidly changing work requirements and environments. Employers must stay up to speed with the market standards of compensation, benefits, and perks to attract and retain the best talent.

Work culture modification, flexibility in working models, and active involvement in the well-being and development of the employees are some of the newest areas where managers and companies can make much progress to show employees that they care. 

About Mary Madhavi Reddy

Mary Madhavi Reddy is a content marketer with 20 years of experience. Her career spans GE Money, Google, and several growth-stage startups. At Xoxoday, she handles product messaging and positioning for Empuls by Xoxoday, an employee engagement platform.