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Could COVID-19 be causing employees to quit?

Of course it's not COVID-19, but rather the situation that has been created from it. However, whether we like it or not, the pandemic is part of this story. We could be facing a turnover tsunami in recruitment in the coming months, so it is worth addressing some of the key issues driving this trend to quit.

 

Of course it's not CovidCOVID-19, but rather the situation that has been created from it. However, whether we like it or not, the pandemic is part of this story. We could be facing a turnover tsunami in recruitment in the coming months, so it is worth addressing some of the key issues driving this trend to quit.

 

What is actually causing workers to quit?

There are a variety of reasons and lots of theories. The only real way to get to the bottom of this is to ask workers themselves, which is exactly what the Adecco Group did with a massive global online survey of 14,800 workers back in early 2021.

It was incredibly revealing. What’s interesting is that those factors behind the “great resignation” are broadly similar across most countries, including Switzerland. Let’s delve into some of the highlights from a Swiss perspective.

1. Workers are overworking

 

The blurring of lines between home life and work life has had some unexpected results. Despite the benefits of flexible working brought on by the pandemic, some workers find that this unstructured work environment means they end up overworking.

In Switzerland, there's been a sizeable disconnect between hours worked versus what workers deem necessary to do their jobs. 70% of Swiss workers believe they worked 40 hours or more in the past 12 months, while just 52% believe that 40 hours or more is needed in the future.

The benefits of flexible working cannot be overstated. It is now an essential benefit for attracting talent. However, those benefits quickly dissipate if workers feel they are being overworked. If this does happen then workers with a flexible-work mindset may choose to quit and find a role that is more suitable to their lifestyles.

 

2. Workers are quitting because they want to upskill and develop

 

Now this might seem surprising because many companies believe that they invest significantly in up-skilling and reskilling their workers. But there is an underlying problem.

There is a significant disconnect between what leaders of a company perceive versus what employees believe they receive on skills and development.

Globally, 69% of leaders believe that they are sufficiently encouraging time and resources for training, up-skilling and reskilling. However, only 48% of managers believe this is true. More shockingly, just 31% of non-managers believe this is the case.

Younger generations of workers want the opportunity to learn, grow and pursue new challenges within the organisations they work for. If they don't believe these opportunities exist, then they are likely to leave or search for new opportunities outside their firm.

In Switzerland, just 43% of workers are satisfied with their career prospects offered by their company. Naturally, this has become a major reason why workers decide to resign and move.

 

3. Wellness is a huge factor for why workers quit

 

Another reason why workers are resigning is because of the collective mental and physical toll Covid-19 has had on their lives. Think of it as a pandemic within a pandemic. Anxiety over disease, social and economic uncertainty has collided with some workers feeling they are being overworked. There has been a significant rise during this pandemic with work-related burnout.

In Switzerland, 30% of workers have reported suffering from burnout over the last 12 months. 32% believe their mental health has declined as a result. Overall, Generation Z workers (45%) at all levels and millennial's (42%) are more likely to suffer from burnout than older generations of workers.

Improving employee wellness, both physically and mentally, not only boosts the company's employer brand but also helps retain and keep employees motivated. Creating organisational empathy and making it part of the culture can help prevent employers quitting. Overall, happier, healthier and more engaged employees are good for business.

 

So, what’s the solution?

 

There are a whole range of other reasons why workers choose to quit. There is the reduced social interaction from remote working, the increased workloads as we’ve mentioned, but also the lack of mental health support. Health and safety issues could also be catalysts driving post-Covid turnover.

In this environment, it’s essential that HR teams update their contracts and policies. They need to provide benefits that are suitable and relevant to workers in a post-pandemic world.

This is about developing a strong employer brand based on strong leadership, heavy investment in training and development, and a strong emphasis on promoting wellness in the workplace.

It’s not Covid-19 that is causing workers to quit, but rather the lack of flexibility that some companies suffer from in this new work environment.