In April 2021, a whopping four million people, or 2.7% of workers in the United States, quit their jobs. And that’s just the beginning; according to a survey from Microsoft, 41% of workers globally are considering leaving their current employer this year. “The Great Resignation” has arrived, and it’s going to affect your company.

The massive spike in onboarding and offboarding means organizations need to be prepared to retain worker knowledge when an employee exits and to quickly get new employees up and running with minimal disruption. It also means you need to arm yourself with cutting-edge weaponry if you want a shot at winning the global talent war.

Openings, Opportunities and a Global Market

There are a lot of theories floating around about why the job market is so wild right now, but it boils down to a few factors. First, the significant number of job openings has created opportunities for people to upgrade their current position — everyone’s always looking to advance, and now’s a good time to do that.

Second, people are no longer limited by geographical location since so many companies have gone remote. Remove the need to live near where you work, and suddenly the world is your oyster. The job marketplace has officially gone global.

The third factor is a general shuffling of the employee deck at many companies. Some workers chose to retire early, while others took a long, hard look at their job situation and decided they needed a change. Whatever the motivation, people are evaluating their careers en masse.

Taking Marketplace Changes — and Capitalizing on Them

When organizations go through a big change in their workforce, they may worry about how it will affect business. But this shuffling of the deck presents a golden opportunity for employers to upgrade their talent pool.

Employers seeking highly-skilled talent are no longer limited by location — they can hire employees from anywhere. Employees hungry for opportunity are out in droves, looking for the next best thing. If organizations are prepared, they can use the “Great Resignation” to build a top-tier team.

Worker Knowledge is an Asset

Of course, handling employee exits is just as important as recruiting new talent because you need to be prepared to retain workers’ expertise. This is where process mapping and automation come into play.

When you look at a company’s balance sheet, you see typical assets like cash, accounts receivable and the building and equipment. What’s not on the sheet, but should be? The knowledge of the company’s workers. To reap the value of an employee’s expertise, you need a tool that can document it and make it accessible to everybody, even after that employee leaves. The trick is to make sure you’re doing this all along — don’t wait until people are getting ready to leave to start documenting processes.

It’s important to treat knowledge like you would any other asset, and that means getting it down on paper (figuratively speaking, of course). That way, you’ll be able to retain that asset no matter how many times your employee deck gets shuffled. Amidst all the turnover and tumult, current and future employees can easily access the knowledge once it’s been documented effectively.

Documentation isn’t just about preserving an outgoing employees’ expertise, though. It’s also about making the onboarding process smoother for the new people joining the team to replace them. When all your processes are documented and accessible, it’s easy for a new hire to pick up right where the old employee left off. What could be an arduous transition involving weeks or months of training becomes quick and seamless.

Leveraging Automation to Attract Top Talent

In a cutthroat job market, first impressions are everything. If recruitment and hiring don’t go perfectly right out of the gate, prospective employees are liable to take their skill set elsewhere. A smooth and efficient onboarding process shows sought-after talent that your organization is at the top of its game — you understand the importance of processes, and yours are cutting-edge.

The first impression is critical because it sets the pace, tone and tempo for the employee-employer relationship. This is especially true if you’re hiring for a remote position, where the only interactions potential hires will have with your company are digital.

An automated onboarding process also benefits your company’s bottom line because it allows you to scale hiring without needing to scale human resources (HR). In other words, you can hire new talent without having to also hire new HR people, because your automated onboarding process can take care of some of the HR work for you.

Moving to automation boosts efficiency, too, allowing you to examine your processes and determine what works — and what doesn’t. It gives you consistent data around onboarding and offboarding, opening up another opportunity to find efficiencies.

Automating for the Future

As we all consider what lies beyond “The Great Resignation,” automation will be key to moving through the disruption and coming out on top. No need to automate everything all at once; start with something low effort but high value and mature your processes from there. If you’re not snagging top talent, somebody else will.