This past August, HiBob conducted a national survey to understand the current sentiment of the U.S. workforce. Amid what industry experts are calling “The Great Resignation,” we wanted to understand what employees want, why they might leave their current jobs, and what HR leaders can do to prevent the “turnover tsunami” from taking their star employees. 

The study uncovers the reasoning behind the rise in resignations and shows that mid-sized companies (50-1,000 employees) are more likely to see employees quit compared to small (1-50 employees) and large companies (1,000+ employees). 

The survey was conducted online, with responses from 1,000 full-time employees ages 25 and up who have been working full-time remotely in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The results give valuable insight into what employees want, shedding light on how HR and leaders can create positive employee experiences that will retain and grow their people amidst “The Great Resignation.” 

Mid-sized companies see the highest potential for resignations

While 55% of employees from larger companies reported that they are working at the same job with the same company over the last 12-18 months, only 44% of employees of mid-sized companies report they have not changed their jobs. In addition, while only 16% of employees from larger companies quit their positions, 28% of the mid-sized companies employees did so. In addition, only 12% were promoted versus 19% working for large companies.

Turnover in the U.S. has never been higher. Our research found that the risk is highest for mid-sized companies, as those employees are significantly more likely to think about quitting than those at larger corporations or smaller firms. 

68% percent said they had quit their jobs over the last 12 months. 65% percent have thought about leaving their current role this past year, compared to 59% of those at smaller companies and 61% of those from larger companies. 

The likelihood of quitting is almost double for mid-sized companies. 56% said they were “very likely or likely” to quit their job over the next year, whereas only 40% of those at smaller companies and only 36% of those at larger companies answered that they were likely to quit in the coming year.

Why are people planning to quit?

We asked employees, “If you did quit your job or are planning to quit your job, what are the main reasons behind the decision?” Respondents could choose more than one answer, and most chose 2-3 reasons for quitting their jobs.

When looking deeper into the difference between employees of mid-sized companies and others, it appears that employees of mid-sized companies are searching for a better work-life balance (55% for mid-size vs. 40% for small companies) and also looking for better benefits (45% for mid-size vs. 35% for large companies). Conversely, the main reason employees of larger companies would leave is for higher pay (54%). 

Mid-sized companies risk losing talent over flexible working models

As companies re-evaluate return to the office models, many employees expect continued flexible working options as the most important benefit of staying at their job. More than half (53%) of respondents at mid-sized companies view flexibility as “most important” to them, compared to 38% at smaller companies.

While employees have been productive working remotely, 71% of respondents at mid-sized companies said their HR teams have backpedaled on policies related to flexibility. In contrast, only 60% of larger companies and only 52% of smaller companies have done so. 

The most direct question about the importance of workplace flexibility was presented to our respondents because we wanted to know if this could be the exact pain point people were feeling. 56% of employees at mid-sized companies said they would quit while only 32% of smaller companies and 37% of larger companies. It seems flexibility is a very important benefit when it comes to working at mid-sized companies.

Employees at mid-sized companies are productive working from home

Mid-sized companies need to manage flexible work models, as their employees are productive while working from home and expect flexibility, (more so than employees working for smaller or larger companies).

46% of employees working at mid-sized companies are very productive working from home while only 30% of employees working for smaller companies.  

66% felt that going back to the office five days a week would impact their success, compared to only 44% of respondents at small companies and 48% at large companies. It is a very different work experience for those who work for mid-sized companies.

34% of mid-sized organization employees believe taking advantage of flexible work policies can hinder their career growth, but only 14% and 16% of workers at small and large companies, respectively, feel this way. 

The fear of taking advantage of flexible work raises red flags surrounding equitable hybrid work models. We have seen many benefits of flexible models, and leaders/HR strategists must aim not to alienate those working from home against those choosing to work in the physical office.

Leveraging culture-enhancing technology, such as the Bob platform, to create a connected company feeling can be a major boon to mid-sized firms striking a balance between the two work setups.

Mid-sized company employees are seeking alternate income opportunities 

People working for mid-sized companies are more likely to pick up extra work. 71% shared they are more open to the idea of freelancing than they were before the pandemic, while 28% have taken a second job, showing they are disappointed in salaries and the lack of flexibility. Conversely, only 16% of workers at small companies and 11% at large companies have picked up another role, indicating those at mid-sized companies are less satisfied with their current jobs. 

Mid-sized company HR teams need to lead with flexible work models to hire and retain talent

The bottom line: flexibility is a win for retention and recruitment

HR leaders of mid-sized companies will have a difficult time, on the one hand, keeping their teams and, on the other hand, recruiting new team members if they don’t build a company culture that allows for flexible work models. It is not enough to offer flexible work in terms of location and working hours. The whole company needs to adjust to hybrid and flexible work arrangements. Work needs to be adjusted and managers need to be trained so their flexibility does not hinder performance and does not hurt promotion and career development. The hybrid work model needs to be adopted sincerely with the intention of accepting and embracing the new world of work.

Zoe Haimovitch

From Zoe Haimovitch

Zoe is a passionate manager and leader. Together with her team, she builds our brand story. She loves to connect with people who are passionate about what they do, speak candidly, and are authentic and willing to work together.