In a three-part series, we’re going to talk about arguably one of the most important topics for your business: the great resignation, and the ways your company can avoid being a victim of the “big quit.”

A Gallup analysis from July of 2021 found that 48% of America’s working population are actively job searching or watching for opportunities. At the same time, more than 4.4 million people resigned in September of 2021, leaving a lot of open positions, additional workloads, and downstream negative effects on customer service.

Anthony Klotz, a Texas A&M professor who came up with the phrase “the great resignation” back in May of 2021, believes that during the pandemic, people “re-imagined what normal could look like,” without commutes, with more family time, better pace, and less pressure. Comments like “Life is too short to be unhappy for five days a week in exchange for two days of freedom” have been posted; and hashtags, memes, and TikToks have emerged around “quit my job.”

So what can you do to avoid a great resignation of your own? What kind of experiences can you create for your teammates to ensure the benefits of your workplace outweigh the option to resign? We all know that the employee experience is closely tied to employee retention, so here are a couple of ways to create a positive culture and positive employee experience.

Make your culture healthy – full of healthy experiences – emotionally and physically.

Klotz told Bloomberg Businessweek there have been “pent-up resignations” stemming from people feeling stressed and insecure. So keep your employees’ wellbeing in check. Employee burnout builds up over time; and it’s a combination of multiple factors both emotional and physical. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2021 report, “Mental health, emotional strain, social isolation, financial shocks and caregiving responsibilities all influence work performance over the long term. Over time, the negative side of these experiences can lead to burnout.” Companies who have a focus on employee wellbeing can build a strong culture with an eye to ensuring their teams are managing negative emotions (worry, stress, anger, and sadness). “When people perceive that their organization cares about them, they’re seven times more likely to want to stay three or more years, and they’re four times less likely to burn out and feel that they can’t participate,” said Henry Albrecht, CEO of Limeade citing a 2019 Limeade Institute report that looked at employee experiences.

Create regular recognition experiences as part of a total rewards strategy.

Recognition strategies play a critical role in shaping high-performing cultures that produce low attrition. Many companies lack a strategy to make recognition and rewards a priority. Here’s why this is so important. Recognition touchpoints create emotions – emotions shape attitudes – attitudes drive behaviors – behaviors shape your culture and your culture drives results. People need to feel appreciated. People need gratitude. This is what can help maintain a satisfied employee base.

Integrate learning experiences into your workplace.

It’s been said many times before; it’s never too late to learn, right? Learning opportunities that are relevant and worthwhile (uplearning) and skills development (upskilling) offer tangible reasons to support an employee’s experience in your company. Education and learning are one more reason, one more benefit, one more connector to your company not only to help recruit new talent but also as Tim Sackett, CEO and author of The Talent Fix says, “to re-recruit your existing employees,” which “gives employees a reason to stay.”

2022 will be the year of the renewed employee experience, and your chance to flip “the great resignation” into “the greatest year of retention.”