Turning the Great Resignation Into the Great Attraction

Workers ditching their jobs is still a thing. Here’s how you can flip it in your favor.

April 20, 2022

Start of a Resignation Letter

By Sara Counihan

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Labor issues are undeniably one of the biggest issues facing convenience retailers today, and many of the issues within the labor force stem from the Great Resignation, which was at its height last year. But the flip side of the Great Resignation is the Great Attraction, according to experts from McKinsey and Company, a management consulting firm.

Forty percent of employees are somewhat likely to leave their current job in the next three to six months, and over a third of people who left their job in the past six months did not have another job lined up, according to McKinsey and Company.

“Some of it is coming from that unprecedented burnout that we are seeing, those large declines in wellbeing, both self-reported and objectively measured, and the idea that COVID fundamentally changed the way people think about their jobs and what they expect of their employers, what they expect of their day-to-day,” said Annie Valkova, associate partner, McKinsey & Company, on this week’s Convenience Matters podcast episode.

Valkova says there are three pillars to flip the dynamic of the Great Resignation and retain current employees and attract those quitting their jobs. The first is to make sure that a company builds a culture that values its employees.

“That can be the difference between an employer saying you need to do your job and saying I’ll give you the tools to do your job. And if you don’t have them, let’s get you what you need,” said Valkova.

The second pillar is to make the day-to-day job simpler, meaning a more manageable workload with better tools.

“A job that used to be complex became even more complex during COVID, and that is the opposite of what employees are looking for,” said Valkova. “That idea of how do we simplify the job, be it through better processes, better tools, better training, to get to a point where both some of the pre-COVID inefficiencies and paperwork and manual work are now eliminated, but also a little of the COVID complexity that got introduced.”

Alex Rodriguez, partner, McKinsey and Company, adds that machines and automation are not the enemy but a help to employees.

“Introducing tools to help, including automation, can actually make a huge difference for people, especially if everything is framed in the way that is actually intended, which is to simplify the work. It is to eliminate those things, allow them more time to focus on what they love doing,” said Rodriguez.

Find out what McKinsey and Company’s third pillar is on this week’s Convenience Matters podcast episode No. 332 “Is the Great Resignation Over?” Hint: This one directly influences your turnover rate.

Rodriguez and Valkova headlined a “Great Attrition” session at the 2022 NACS Leadership Forum in Miami. Read coverage in the April issue of NACS Magazine.

Sara Counihan is contributing editor of NACS Daily and NACS Magazine. She can be reached at scounihan@convenience.org.