‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The Choice Is Yours | Learning & Development | Primeast

What Strategies Can Organisations Employ to Attract, Engage, and Retain Employees?

Since April 2021, more than 19 million workers have quit their jobs. Dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’, organisations affected have been left scratching their heads as to why their employees are leaving, and how they can combat employee attrition. Many have implemented fixes that don’t tackle the underlying causes of employee resignations. They have turned to bumping up salaries and paying signing-on bonuses to lure talent to them.

In this article, we summarise the findings of research by McKinsey & Company, and help organisations who are struggling with employee attraction and retention to answer the question of ‘great attrition’ or ‘great attraction’?

What is causing talent to leave their jobs?

Pandemic lockdowns and working from home caused people to question why they do what they do. Sure, people need to be paid – they need to meet their cost of living, but the reason people get up in the mornings stretches far beyond the money they take home.

Employees crave engaging and enjoyable employee experiences. They want to do meaningful work that aligns with their values. And they want to feel valued by their employer. Work has become less transactional and more interactional – with purpose, colleagues, and managers. People want all of this, and greater autonomy and flexibility in their work, too, as well as opportunities, to advance in their careers. They are tired of heavy workloads and work that they don’t find engaging, and they desire better work/life balance.

Meanwhile, employers believe that those who quit are looking for a better job with improved compensation or the ability to work remotely. They also cite employees being headhunted and leaving because of poor health as the main factors behind their best talent quitting.

The great attrition is likely to continue

Not all industries and organisations have been affected equally by the great attrition. But thinking that your organisation is protected because it hasn’t happened to you yet is a poor strategy.

McKinsey & Co found that 40% of survey respondents said they were likely to leave their jobs within three months. Two-thirds of these said they would leave without a new job to go to. Of those who haven’t expressed a desire to leave, as job options increase the temptation to move on is likely to increase, too.

There’s another consideration that employers should take into account. As the number of remote jobs increases, the options for current employees to continue to do what they love doing and to benefit from better work/life balance could also be tempting to many talented employees

Even given all these disparities, when asked if they expected employee turnover to increase during the next six months, only 5% said they did, despite almost two-thirds experiencing greater voluntary turnover during 2021 when compared to prior years.

Great attrition or great attraction – it really is your choice

Organisations that learn why employees are leaving their jobs can improve their employee retention strategies, and become more attractive as employers of choice. Specific strategies should be developed across five areas:

Organisational culture

The pandemic, and ensuing societal issues, have changed the world. People have changed how they think, and often organisational culture has failed to keep pace. The fracture lines in organisational culture are deeper and more noticeable now.

It’s also crucial that organisations develop ways to engage their staff and ensure connection, even in remote or hybrid work environments. A sense of community – and of being part of something akin to family – helps to build loyalty and belonging.


An organization’s leaders must also adapt to move away from transactional leadership and toward transformational leadership. It’s crucial that people feel valued by their managers – and that the right people are in management positions.

We are moving to a new way of working, and it is critical that leaders, managers, and supervisors are trained to lead the new hybrid workforce.


It is also crucial that organisations consider what it is that is most important to people by way of compensation. Priorities have changed. Almost half of the workers now say that taking care of family is the most influential factor in their job choice.

Employers who focus on providing family-focused benefits, such as childcare and family health plans, are likely to have better employee retention numbers than those who provide free coffee and gym memberships.

Motivation factors

The research shows that only 58% of employees consider compensation as the main motivator to remain with their employer. At least as equally important are relationships at work, and feeling valued by their manager.

Organisations that deliver more personalised rewards when recognising contributions made by their employees are more likely to develop strong employee engagement.

Career goals

People desire jobs that offer career advancement, as well as delivering meaningful work. Further research by McKinsey &Company shows that employees who believe their work to be purposeful are 2.6 times more likely to stay with their employer, and 4 times more likely to have better health.

Organisations should find ways to personalise career paths, discuss professional development with their employees and provide appropriate training and development opportunities. To cement career progression, organisations should find ways to promote people within their current roles, rather than into new roles.

The bottom line

The Great Resignation, or Great Attrition, is continuing. For organisations that don’t seek to understand what is happening and why, it is likely to get worse. However, this also presents a great opportunity for organisations to turn the Great Attrition into the Great Attraction. By listening to employees and developing a people strategy that focuses on people's needs, organisations will improve both the retention of existing employees and the attraction of new talent.

To learn how our leadership coaching programmes can help your leaders and managers lead more effectively as you combat the Great Resignation, contact Primeast

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