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Economic shutdowns, widespread job losses, shifting business models, and the term social distancing’s adoption into mainstream verbiage are among the many impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the most paradoxical results of the pandemic, though, is a phenomenon known as the “Great Resignation”: Despite high unemployment and labor shortages across many industries, workers have quit their jobs in record numbers.

According to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), 4.5 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in November, marking the eighth month of resignations exceeding pre-pandemic highs. The high level of resignations left 10.6 million open jobs by the end of November. Workers are leaving their positions for myriad reasons, including dissatisfaction with work-life balance, fear and hesitance to return to in-person work after exposure to working from home during the pandemic, and the reevaluation of long-term career goals.

Recent data analyzed by the Home Builders Institute suggests that the number of construction workers needed to keep up with demand is approximately 740,000 new workers per year for the next three years. Despite the unexpected strength of the housing industry during the ongoing pandemic, the lack of skilled labor remains a key limiting factor for improving both housing inventory and affordability. Amid the labor shortages, turnover, and effects of the Great Resignation, the ability of construction sector businesses to not just find new workers, but retain their current workforce, has taken an even greater level of importance.

For many builders, retention is not an issue that can be solved with a one-size-fits-all tool. It requires a multifaceted approach, one that includes proper compensation, competitive benefits and offerings, strong communication and transparency, and exceptional culture.

With workers searching for better opportunities that align with their values, David Weekley Homes has positioned itself to be the “greener pasture” that employees might be seeking, according to Rob Hefner, vice president of human resources. The company has built a culture and family-like environment with an emphasis on people that employees want to stay in long term. As such, Houston-based David Weekley has had a turnover rate far below the company’s goals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Reston, Virginia-based Stanley Martin Homes, the company believes there is a strong relationship between retention and company culture and values.

“We lean heavily into highlighting living our values. We like to focus on the purpose behind someone’s job and the value and recognition of what they do. Those are the additional pieces that make it appealing [for employees to] want to stay with us,” says Debra Fletcher, Stanley Martin Homes’ vice president of team and culture.

Charissa Wagner, senior vice president of people operations for Scottsdale, Arizona-based Taylor Morrison says culture plays a “vital role” in employee satisfaction, the employee base’s sense of connection to one another, and the success of the organization overall.

“Our people-first culture is one of our main points of pride and one that we feel differentiates us within our industry and beyond, helping us to at- tract and retain best-in-class talent,” says Wagner.

Meridian, Idaho-based CBH Homes understands people are the “heart and rocket fuel” of the company and places a strong emphasis to make sure employees feel loved and appreciated.

“To us it’s simple, ensure [employees] feel and know they’re loved,” Ronda Conger, vice president of CBH Homes, says about employee retention. “Are we promoting a safe work environment? Are we showing and telling them that they’re needed and are making a difference?”

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