HR News/North America

Introducing: The Big Stay

Yet another trend has made it onto leaders’ radars, and this one could be working in their favor. 

By Zee Johnson 

Every so often, a new workplace trend emerges and daunts leaders enough to shape policies and procedures in preparation for its supposed impact. “The Big Stay” is no different.  

This latest trend, a concept based on research from ADP, is a slowdown in worker turnover as the job and labor markets begin approaching pre-pandemic trends. “The Big Stay” is essentially employees choosing to stay with their organization for an extended period as opposed to what they’ve been doing for the past several years: leaving in droves. 

Miriam Connaughton, chief people and experience officer at Simpplr, says while some employers may be ecstatic that the fear of attrition has lessened momentarily, organizations must remain readily prepared for the next big phenomenon. “’The Big Stay’ will be temporary, so employers need to avoid complacency as some talent challenges are alleviated – for now,” she says. “History tells us that voluntary turnover is, of course, dampened when economic headwinds are more challenging. History also tells us that when we come out of such times, competition for talent heats up very quickly.” 

On one hand, “The Big Stay” is reducing voluntary turnover, which is what businesses want, but on the other hand, Connaughton says leaders should consider the why behind it. Employees may be staying but remain disengaged or they are staying until job openings pick up. 

No matter if the market is experiencing a downturn or uptick, key skills will continue to be in high demand. So, employers need to continuously work on improving their employee experience to keep employees from wandering. “Reinventing the employee experience should be a perpetual state of motion for organizations,” she says. “In good times and bad, we need to work on delivering great employee experiences, supporting people in doing their best work and being productive, and elevating their engagement so they not only give their best but want to stick around even when new opportunities come knocking.” 

In a recent Deloitte survey, 85% of executives rated engagement as an important (38%) or very important (48%) priority for their companies. So to prolong “The Big Stay,” companies will have to employ initiatives that foster engagement, belonging, and loyalty. In addition to these components, providing standout rewards and recognition, Connaughton says, is another great way of strengthening the employee experience. “We know total rewards factors are more prevalent as retention drivers (i.e., pay/bonus, benefits, flexible work), whereas for engagement, it’s more about relational factors (i.e., my manager, the culture, and sense of belonging). But both are influenced by your experience at work. Now is the time to double down on your employee experience.” 

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