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The Big Stay: what to expect in 2024

Published:

January 2, 2024

Updated:

January 2, 2024

Will the Big Stay movement be a defining trend in 2024, too? We believe it will.

The Great Resignation and Reshuffle movements have forced organizations to adjust to create more positive work environments. After the mass migration of talent between 2020 and 2022, it’s time for workplace stability and satisfaction. This evolution comes from a mix of economic uncertainty, the normalization of flexible work arrangements, and a stronger corporate commitment to foster a people-first culture

Yet, riding this wave of retention means doubling down on efforts that are proven backbones of the Great Stay. Although workers become more loyal to organizations that resonate with their values and needs, companies shouldn’t take this for granted. The challenge for businesses lies in ensuring that the foundations of employee centricity, flexibility, and empowerment are not just preserved but continually strengthened. 

Curious to learn about the right strategies to transform this era of retention into continuous growth and unshakeable faithfulness? Sit down and get a cup of tea, this article is for you. 

What is the Big Stay?

The Big Stay refers to a trend where employees who had previously been part of the Great Resignation and Great Reshuffle begin to settle into their new positions with a long-term perspective. This shift marks a transition from the prior high turnover and frequent job changes that have been one of the biggest consequences of the COVID-19 crisis in the job market. 

In spring 2023, workers started prioritizing job stability, work-life balance, and meaningful employment over the pursuit of new opportunities, higher salaries, or career exploration. Factors contributing to the Big Stay include economic uncertainty, improved work conditions, or satisfaction with their new roles. Let’s see more in detail what builds this new wave of retention.

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coworkers in a hybrid office

Why is the Big Stay happening? 

Companies’ efforts to answer employees’ expectations are paying off 

The Big Stay represents a successful outcome of the Great Reshuffle, where companies reevaluated their work models and aligned more closely with employee needs. This paradigm shift toward listening and responding to staff expectations has fostered a more fulfilling work environment. As a result, people are increasingly committed to their current roles, leading to a new peak in retention rates. 

This trend indicates that the efforts to create workplaces that prioritize flexibility, well-being, and career growth are resonating with workers. It’s a positive sign that the tumultuous period of high turnover is giving way to a phase of greater job stability and employee satisfaction.

The Great Reshuffle gave workers the opportunity to be more aligned with their dream career

The Great Reshuffle provided a pivotal moment for workers to look for positions that match their career aspirations better, be it in terms of salary, work-life balance, sense of purpose, or other key values. This widespread shuffling of the job market empowered people to prioritize their preferences and secure roles within organizations that responded to their motivations and goals. 

Consequently, now that many have successfully realigned their professional lives with their expectations and joined companies that offer a more satisfying fit, they have fewer reasons to look for a new job. This reduced need for change results in more stability, leading to the Big Stay.

The geopolitical and economic world context makes people think twice before quitting their jobs

The emergence of the Big Stay can also be partly attributed to a fragile financial and geopolitical landscape gripping the world. Economic uncertainty, driven by factors such as inflation, has heightened the importance of job security for many people. Geopolitical tensions and conflicts have further increased this wariness, as the global outlook remains unpredictable. 

In such an environment, staying in a stable position grows stronger, with workers placing greater value on the certainty that comes with established roles over the risks associated with seeking new opportunities in tumultuous times. Therefore, this cautious approach contributes significantly to the growing retention trend.

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woman thinking about quitting her job

Job-switching is not as financially worth it as it used to be

In contrast to previous years, job switching in 2024 isn’t bringing the financial advantages it once did. Besides global economic adjustments and a more stabilized labor market, the wage premiums and attractive rewards that are used to motivate frequent job-hopping have diminished. 

Employers are more focused on retaining existing talent, often by offering competitive raises and benefits to loyal team members, which narrows the pay gap between staying put and moving on. Additionally, employees have diminished bargaining power, making the financial gains from job transitions less pronounced than before.

Flexible work makes people stay

Previously, the wish for a job with flexible work arrangements was a significant driver of employee turnover, but as companies have grasped the crucial role that flexibility plays in job satisfaction, such policies have increasingly become the norm. Hybrid work models, which combine remote and in-office schedules, have been widely adopted in recent years, making it easier for team members to balance personal commitments with professional obligations. This new standard in workplace adaptability has minimized one of the key motivations for job switching. The reduced incentive to leave in search of a better work-life balance further nourishes the Big Stay phenomenon.

woman in a zoom call

What to expect regarding the Great Stay trend in 2024?

Quitting rates: the lowest number in the last years

According to the EY 2023 Work Reimagined Survey, 34% of workers are planning to quit their jobs in the next months. This percentage remains high as it still represents one person out of three. But this number definitely went down compared to 2022, which stood at 43%. These statistics prove that people start settling into new positions, and employee turnover decreases. 

Yet, if the Great Resignation and Reshuffle have taught us one thing, it is that workers are determined to get what they require for their careers. Thus, companies must continue their efforts to answer their team member’s needs and expectations if they don’t want to see another wave of resignation coming.

Gen. Z and Millennials: are the biggest job-switchers going to become loyal?

Not really, one out of three Gen. Z employees plans to quit this year. Despite 2024 being hailed as the year of the Big Stay, Millennials and Gen. Z are still anticipated to be the most active job hoppers. These younger generations have been characterized by a desire for rapid career advancement, continuous learning, and a profound need for work that aligns with personal values. 

As Gen. Z employees are at the formative stages of their careers and lives, they tend to seek new experiences and challenges that foster their professional and personal growth. Additionally, their digital nativity and comfort with agile, tech-driven environments make transitioning between jobs less daunting. These factors keep them more open to change compared to other demographics. Therefore, their reputation as job hoppers is going to continue this year, even at a time when the overall workforce is valuing stability.

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Gen Z in a hybrid office

Quiet quitting: staying doesn’t always mean thriving

The fact that the Great Reshuffle has slowed down and we have entered the Big Stay era isn’t always something positive. Yes, the risk of receiving resignation letters is lower. But, as we mentioned above, the motives are various. Consequently, if your staff is not staying for good reasons, this can drastically impact the company’s growth. 

If people stay because they worry about the current financial and geopolitical situation but aren’t happy and satisfied with their jobs, they might start to adopt quiet quitting behaviors. And this is not good for anyone, neither your business nor your employees’ mental health.

The expectations and predictions that nurture the Big Stay trend

The expectations and predictions that companies will place a stronger emphasis on practices that foster employee retention in 2024 reinforce the Big Stay trend. For example, 84% of the respondents to the MyPerfectResume study believe that organizations will invest more in mental health initiatives, and 75% think there will be an increase in salaries. 

Other anticipated changes involve more upskilling and reskilling opportunities, leading to a rapidly transforming job market. Employers are also expected to emphasize DEI in the workplace more profoundly, creating workspaces that are not only diverse but inclusive, too. These trends reflect a broader shift toward a more holistic and proactive approach to workforce management, aiming to ensure employees are engaged, equipped, and empowered to face the future.

How can you continue to surf this wave of retention in 2024? 

Maintain your actions to promote a positive corporate culture

For businesses navigating the Big Stay, creating and promoting a positive organizational culture is pivotal to talent retention. A strong corporate culture emphasizing DEI, recognition, and collaboration is the bedrock for employee engagement and satisfaction. It’s the intangible currency that protects you from getting into a toxic work environment and witnessing burnout among your team. 

Workers are increasingly in search of workplaces where they feel supported and aligned with their core values. Companies that actively grow such a culture will see their efforts reflected in higher retention rates. In today’s work landscape, a positive corporate culture is not just a nice-to-have but a strategic imperative for sustaining a committed and productive workforce.

happy employees working together

Sustain your efforts to foster employee centricity and well-being

We often talk to you about the correlation between happiness and productivity at work. However, continued efforts to foster employee centricity and well-being are essential for keeping talent within an organization. When workers feel valued and recognized, they are more likely to be engaged, go the extra mile, and remain committed to their job, their team, and the company itself. This, in turn, improves performance and reduces turnover. 

Investing in people-centric initiatives, such as professional development, health programs, or flexible work arrangements, demonstrates a company’s commitment to its team members. Moreover, it simultaneously enhances job satisfaction and solidifies a loyal, productive team ready to face future challenges together.

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Continue focusing on employee empowerment and professional development

Employee empowerment remains a core aspect of retention strategies in 2024. The modern workforce yearns for autonomy, the ability to make decisions that impact their work, and a sense of ownership over their projects. By empowering your staff, you boost confidence and enhance trust in the workplace. Not only does it improve individual morale, but it also fosters a culture of accountability and innovation. 

This empowerment can manifest by giving your team members self-directed projects or letting them manage their work schedule for a better work-life balance. When people feel they have a genuine stake and voice in their organization, they tend to be more committed and satisfied.

two women discussing their careers in front of a laptop

Keep promoting flexible work arrangements

Flexible work arrangements will continue to play a critical role in talent retention throughout 2024. The workforce has tasted the benefits of flexibility, from remote working to adaptable hours, which has fundamentally reshaped their expectations. Employees now place significant value on the ability to integrate work seamlessly into their lives rather than fitting their lives around work. 

Companies that recognize and accommodate this requirement by offering various forms of flexibility at work are more likely to retain their talent. Flexibility has become a non-negotiable aspect of the modern employment deal, as work-life balance remains a top priority, making it essential for attracting and keeping skilled professionals.

Applying the above recommendations can truly help you surf the wave of retention and make the ride as long as possible. While the economic and geopolitical context makes people value high remuneration, maybe more than in 2022, employee centricity, flexible work, and empowerment continue to be top priorities. Strengthening these core aspects of a modern and positive corporate culture gives you a greater chance of keeping your talent by your side and benefiting from the Big Stay in 2024.

How do you manage your hybrid workspace and teams since you’ve adopted flexible work arrangements?

Request a free demo of the deskbird app to discover our user-friendly desk booking software and great features developed to meet the modern workforce’s needs!

Sources: 

Paulyne

Paulyne is a hybrid work specialist, who writes about sustainability, flexible work models and employee experience.

The Big Stay: what to expect in 2024