How to Improve Internal Initiatives to Combat the Great Resignation

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Through the tumultuous pandemic-ridden years and the Great Resignation, businesses have been left to face the ongoing challenge of finding top talent and retaining current employees. The constant fluctuation in employment numbers  in 2021 and BLS data showing 11.3 million job openings  in January 2022 proved that organizations are still struggling to find the best talent for their companies.

According to Lever’s recent 2022 Great Resignation: The State of Internal Mobility and Employee Retention Report , the Great Resignation has forced organizations to rethink hiring and retention. Employers’ policies and employees’ priorities have shifted compared to life pre-pandemic. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that 47 million people will quit their jobs in 2021 , creating a dynamic that leaves employers fighting to fill these open roles. Let’s dive into three key ways organizations can improve internal initiatives to attract new talent and improve employee retention rates this year. 

Provide Opportunities for Internal Mobility to Help Increase Retention

Other studies have found that internal mobility is crucial in driving retention since employees at companies with high internal mobility tend to stay twice as long  as those who don’t. The Lever report also found that, of the employees staying at their company, nearly half (41%) will ask for some role change in 2022, so being well-equipped with mobility opportunities is crucial for holding on to top talent.

However, 33% of employees don’t feel encouraged to pursue new roles internally, and more than one in five (21%) do not feel they can openly discuss internal opportunities with their managers. This lack of support around internal mobility may hinder employee retention and stifle employees’ career progression.  

Additionally, LinkedIn notes that employees who have found new roles internally are 3.5 times more likely  to be engaged than those who haven’t, further emphasizing the power of internal mobility. These opportunities benefit employees and help create overall success for the company as well. In a post-pandemic society, employees are searching for work they enjoy doing, even if that means creating a new role at their company. 

According to Lever’s report, employees have become so invested in creating a new role that nearly a third (31%) would take a pay cut to change positions, and three in five (61%) would start searching for new jobs if their company didn’t allow them to switch roles. Companies can get ahead of the Great Resignation and help offset the labor shortage by providing and encouraging internal mobility opportunities, benefitting their talent and the company. 

Provide Upskilling Opportunities for Employee Growth

Ensuring employees have the tools, resources, and opportunities to upskill or reskill benefits both employers and their teams. Lever’s report also found that at companies that provide upskilling or reskilling, 61% of employees have taken courses to grow in their current role, while 23% have taken classes to grow into a new position. These opportunities can help employees grow in their current roles and provide educational insight and tactical skills that can take them far in their careers, a motivating factor for retention.

In addition, the report found that over two-thirds (70%) of employees say their company provides opportunities for upskilling or reskilling—an offering that motivates nearly one in 10 employees (and almost one in five Gen Zs) to stay at their company. Though Gen Zs (17%) are the most likely to remain at their current job because of upskilling or reskilling opportunities, this generation (56%) is also the least likely to say their company provides the opportunity for upskilling and reskilling.

Gen Z is eager to learn and grow within their company but often struggles to find the means to do so. As the newest workforce group, upskilling opportunities are valuable for their education and confidence to grow within their careers, and business leaders should consider this when determining retention strategies. Businesses are missing out on new ideas and perspectives without the Gen Z workforce. 

Approach Gen Z Retention with a Different Lens 

Generationally, companies find success when approaching each demographic with a different lens. Unfortunately, for current employers, the newest workforce members are already planning their departure. The Lever report says that two in five (40%) employees plan to stay at their current jobs for less than a year, but attrition rates for Gen Z are much higher, with 65% of employees planning to stay at their company for less than a year.

Implementing work perks such as flexible work arrangements, upskilling, and competitive compensation moves the needle on internal retention rates and offers a sense of purpose and culture at the company. Overall, Gen Zs (42%) are more likely than other generations to be searching for a job that gives them a sense of purpose, while higher compensation is more appealing for Millennials (49%) and Gen Xs (56%). It is clear that priorities have not only shifted in this post-pandemic world but also vary by generation and quit trends. You won’t solve labor shortages with one unanimous strategy. 

To successfully fill open roles this year and ensure your teams have the support they need, HR teams should focus on the unique ways to improve retention and recruiting strategies. Implementing internal mobility and upskilling opportunities while approaching each generation with a different lens are just a few pathways to retention success and company growth. Businesses that work to appeal to employees’ desires and follow the ongoing post-pandemic workplace trends are bound for success and overall company longevity. 


Caitlyn Metteer is the Director of Recruiting at Lever.


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By Caitlyn Metteer