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The Big Stay: Why Americans Don’t Quit Their Jobs in 2023

After the Great Resignation, people want to stay at their jobs. Here’s why and how to capitalize on it.

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What if long-term employee commitment has just as many benefits for workers as it does for businesses? Recent data from over 500 companies reveals that the average employee tenure has risen1 by 15% from 2012-2022. Economists have coined a new phenomenon of employee retention as “The Big Stay.” This transition away from “The Great Resignation” (when over 50 million people left their jobs2 in 2021 and 2022) is excellent news for both employers and employees. 

Here is everything you need to know about The Big Stay, including causes, statistics, and benefits across industries, plus how you can capitalize on the trend.

What is The Big Stay?

The Big Stay describes a workplace shift toward longer employee tenures and higher employee retention rates in American companies. In the wake of The Great Resignation, quitting rates have slowed3, and many employees are making longer-term commitments to companies that meet their standards, including:

  • Work-life balance
  • Career development opportunities
  • Positive workplace culture 
  • Remote work options  

Millennials, Gen Z, and The Big Stay 

The Big Stay phenomenon is particularly notable in Millennial and Gen Z generations, who were previously viewed as “job switchers” with little company loyalty. Compared to their parents and grandparents, these workers typically do not have the pension plans or extensive benefits of long-term dedication to one company. 

Nonetheless, surveys show that digital native workers are more loyal4 than you think. The younger workforce plans for an average of 6-10 years of employment at their current jobs.

What’s Causing The Big Stay? (& How to Prolong It)

You could theorize that The Big Stay is a direct reaction to The Great Resignation. Companies realized that, in order to keep staff around, they need to step up their game.

The Great Resignation was mostly linked to wage stagnation and unhappy employees in the wake of a post-pandemic economy. In contrast, The Big Stay phenomenon sheds a positive light on the direction of the modern workplace.

This trend reflects a widespread shift toward better workplaces that prioritize the happiness, health, and productivity of their employees. Potential causes for higher employee retention rates include:

Work-life balance

A study from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) indicates that employees with more work-life balance5 are more likely to stay with their current company. Moreover, a 2022 Gallup survey of over 13,000 U.S. workers found that 61% of people6 are less likely to quit jobs where their personal wellbeing is prioritized. 

Companies can encourage greater work-life balance by:

  • Offering flexible work opportunities: The American Opportunity Survey7 found that people who can work from home or set flexible hours are much happier in their current position.
  • Encouraging a “leave your laptop” policy: In the past, workers who brought home their laptops were celebrated for going above-and-beyond. But if you want to encourage a low-burnout culture, consider challenging your team to leave their work at work.
  • Hosting office retreats and team bonding: Show your staff that they are more than cogs in a machine. No matter your budget, here are the 27 Best Team Retreat Ideas You’ll Ever Need.

The evidence is clear: hustle culture and burnout simply won’t cut it for the modern workforce. Managers can lead the way by modeling balance with their own habits. Consider embodying a “work smarter, not longer” mentality regarding hours and projects. You can also adopt and share these 21 Productivity Tips, Hacks, & Strategies For Maximum Focus.

Career development opportunities

A survey from LinkedIn found8,key%20challenges%20for%20business%20success. that 94% of employees are willing to stay at a company who invests in their professional development. When people feel like their employer is investing in them, they are more likely to put forth their best work ethic and dedication to the company.

As a business owner or manager, you can:

Don’t miss these free 13 strategies for taking your career training to the next level:

As an employee, you may want to:

  • Request a meeting with your supervisor regarding your career trajectory.
  • Ask your boss for “reach projects” where you can expand your knowledge and experience.
  • Create a vision for where you want to go with this guide to your ultimate Professional Development Plan

Positive organizational culture

Toxic culture was a major reason for employees resigning their jobs in 20229 Poor communication, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, lack of leadership, and aggressive management styles are just a few of the ingredients for a crappy company culture. 

Study10 after study shows the psychological correlation between positive workplace culture and employee retention11 But we don’t need research to know that people are more likely to leave a workplace with domineering management, petty gossip, and a negative vibe.  

To create more positive culture, managers and business owners can:

As an employee, you can:

  • Invest in your own mental health and personal growth through reading, journaling, and daily habits for happiness.
  • Build up your frustration tolerance by knowing your triggers (including specific people) and practicing calming techniques before interacting with them.
  • Uplift your coworkers by noticing when they do a good job.
  • Compliment your colleagues on their work ethic, project execution, or even their fashionable work attire! 
  • Coach your peers or offer assistance with tasks they are unfamiliar with. Peer coaching is proven to build positive culture12 and boost engagement.

More remote work opportunities

The science of remote work is clear: Remote workers are happier13, more productive, less distracted14, and healthier15! Plus, telecommuting saves businesses billions16 of dollars.

To capitalize on this component of The Big Stay, managers can:

Don’t miss The Definitive Remote Work Guide (2023).

Key Takeaways: Capitalize on this Shift in the Modern Workplace

Of course, people want higher salaries and greater benefits, but The Big Stay trend reminds us that modern workers are seeking deeper levels of job satisfaction. 

The top four driving factors of The Big Stay are:

  1. Work-life balance
  2. Career development opportunities 
  3. Positive culture and personal wellbeing
  4. Flexible and remote work options

Fortunately, this phenomenon benefits us all:

  • Employees can enjoy more benefits, better company culture, and greater career opportunities without the stress of moving jobs and learning new skills.
  • Companies can reduce employee turnover costs and retain their knowledge, talent, and loyalty for years and decades to come. 

Want more? Here are 12 Strategies to Retain Employees (with data and actionable steps!) and our full guide on how to Be Happy at Work: 10 Science Backed Ways You Can Be Happier.

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