More Than One In Four Workers Plan To Leave Job Post-Pandemic

Twenty-seven percent of U.S. employees plan to leave their employer as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, according to a new national employee survey from Eagle Hill Consulting. More than a quarter (29 percent) of workers expect to leave their job in the next year. The numbers are even higher for Millennial workers. Thirty-three percent plan to leave post-pandemic, while 36 percent expect to leave within the next year.

More than one in four U.S. employees plan to leave their employer post-pandemic, and employees reporting burnout are three times more likely to leave.

These results indicate that employee intentions to seek new employment are not subsiding. In November 2020, 25 percent of U.S. employees said they plan to leave their employer once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

The findings are based upon the The Eagle Hill Consulting COVID-19 Workforce Burnout Survey conducted by Ipsos on May 12-17, 2021, and November 12-16, 2020.

The research also finds that burnout is problematic for more than half of the U.S. workforce (53 percent). Again, the numbers are higher for Millennials, with 60 percent reporting burnout.

In terms of the causes of burnout:

  • Fifty-two percent of respondents say that workload is the top cause.
  • Forty-four percent say it’s juggling their personal and professional life.
  • Forty-one percent indicate a lack of communication and feedback is a cause.
  • Thirty-seven percent attribute burnout to time pressures.

These burnout drivers are at their highest levels since Eagle Hill began surveying employees on this issue in April 2020.

Importantly, the findings indicate that employees who report burnout are three times more likely to leave their organization after the pandemic as compared to colleagues who are not burnt out: 39 percent versus 13 percent.

“The talent turnover tsunami is here,” says Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting. “With vaccinations rates climbing and workplaces re-opening, employees increasingly feel confident looking elsewhere for a job. And that is highly problematic for employers given the acute labor shortage.”

“Another complicating factor is that more than half of the workforce feels burnt out, much of which can be attributed to their workload. These often are the employees who are most motivated to make a move. Now is the time for companies to carefully examine their talent retention strategies or they will find it increasingly difficult to bounce forward in a post-pandemic economy,” Jezior explained.

Strategies for retaining workers in a post-pandemic environment include:

  • Think creatively, act strategically. By reallocating talent thoughtfully, companies can fill talent gaps and help reduce workload burden, thereby motivating employees and addressing burnout. Companies also can weigh the options and trade-offs of on-demand models and gig workers, partnerships, and global resources.
  • Keep top performers engaged. To help A players feel valued, companies should focus on career growth. This can include targeting A players for stretch exposure, offering exclusive training, and providing more transparency about career progression and compensation. Also, stay interviews provide insights for creating a differentiated employee experience for high performers.
  • Listen to employee needs, then listen again. Conducting employee surveys, encouraging “open door” exchanges, and providing career counseling and mentorship opportunities are all effective approaches. Employee views change so fast, it is key to pulse employees regularly because yesterday’s needs won’t necessarily be today’s.
  • Take action swiftly and proactively. Employees’ desire to continue working from home more frequently than before the pandemic could make or break decisions to stay with a company. Listening to employee voices on issues like hybrid work and others is essential, but proactively controlling potential turnover happens when employers act on what they hear.
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