Why Workers Quit (Hint: It’s Not All About Money)

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Back at the August BrandSource Convention, AVB CEO Jim Ristow referenced “The Great Resignation” in announcing a new set of employee recruitment and retainment tools for BrandSource members.

See: Ristow Intros Sweeping HR Initiatives

Just how “great” those walkouts have been, particularly for dealers, came into sharper focus this week with the release of the latest job figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the federal agency, 721,000 retail workers resigned in August, representing a “quit rate” of 4.7 percent, the third highest following the food service and leisure/hospitality industries.

Overall, the total number of resignations rose to 4.3 million across the U.S. workforce in August, for a record quit rate of 2.9 percent nationwide.

So what gives? According to a recent survey by Limeade.com, an HR software firm, 40 percent of employees cited burnout as a top reason for leaving their jobs. In fact, workers were so dissatisfied with their situations that more than one in four (28 percent) left without lining up another position. Other top quit factors included:

  • Organizational changes (34 percent);
  • Lack of flexibility, instances of discrimination, or ideas not valued (20 percent each);
  • Insufficient benefits (19 percent)
  • Well-being not supported by the company (16 percent)

What’s an employer to do? While BrandSource members should leverage the expert advice provided in AVB’s HRPlaybook, all businesses must focus on improving employee engagement and job satisfaction, even above salary. That’s the word from Ashley Furniture CEO Todd Wanek, who addressed his own company’s labor challenges during a Home Furnishings Association webinar last week.

As reported by Furniture Today, Wanek acknowledged a 70 percent increase in turnover at Ashley. “That tells you our employees are not satisfied working for us, they don’t feel engaged,” he said. What’s more, “Higher pay isn’t going to fix it, it’s only a component,” he noted. Instead, “Employees must love working at your company. We must reinvent the employee experience.”

To do so, employers should create emotional bonds with their workers by talking to them and guiding their career paths, he said. To that end, Ashley has begun assigning “mentors” to new hires for their first three months on the job to answer their questions and help them feel welcome.

“We’ve got to connect with our people in a different way,” Wanek said. “I know you may not be happy loading a truck, and I understand that … You want to work in an office? We’ll teach you how.”

“Be a coach to employees,” he added. “That’s the gold standard.”

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, furniture, mattress and CE dealers.