Singapore companies must brace for Great Resignation

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Towards the end of 2021, there was an increased focus towards the Great Resignation phenomenon as more and more companies found themselves unable to avoid its effects.

According to a study published in September 2021, nearly 4 in 10 workers in the US, UK, Ireland, and Canada were planning to change jobs within the following twelve months. In Australia, 24% have been actively seeking other employment since the second quarter of 2021.

As the Great Resignation leaves its mark across companies globally, EngageRocket released the “Turning the Great Resignation into Better Retention in Singapore” report to uncover its impact in Singapore. It also highlights what organisations can learn and optimise for a better retention ahead.

Key findings from the report note that the USA’s Bureau of Labour Statistics shows that Americans have been quitting their jobs at a record high of 2.9% in 20 years, even above the 2008 recession rate which stood at 2.1%.

Presently Singapore’s resignation rate does not mirror the trend found in the USA.Data from the the Labor Market Survey conducted by the Ministry of Manpower showed that resignation rate in Q3 2021 was at the same level (1.7%) as the first quarter of 2020

However, it does not mean that organisations should be laid back and take attrition lightly. Studies conducted in 2020 on employee engagement found that the levels are low in Singapore, despite it being a significant predictor of employees’ intent to stay in the organisation. For example, global HR and payroll leader ADP found that employee engagement levels in Singapore (11%) are lower than the global average (14%).

EngageRocket’s study of over 7,000 employees in Singapore confirms this, whereby the number of detractors (unlikely to recommend a company to friends and family) increased by 17% between 2020 and 2021. 

Here are some recommendations on what companies can do to improve retention in their own organisations:

  1. Find out employees’ sentiment and intentions to leave before they actually do.This can be done easily through regular pulse surveys and continuous listening.

  2. Strategise and intervene to increase employee retention. Organisations need to make sure that their strategy goes beyond just asking employees about their intention to leave. Encourage two-way communication without compromising employee’s confidentiality to explore potential reasons that may have influenced their decision.

  3. Conduct an analysis to find out drivers of retention/attrition. After collecting employee feedback, managers and HR can work closely together to analyse which factors are most critical to influence their retention.

  4. Empower managers to take relevant follow-up actions based on the drivers. Share best practice action with real-time tracking of action/ROI.  For example, if growth is found to impact employees’ intent to stay, then managers can help carve out time on employees’ calendars for self-development or for training.