Over the past two years, the “Great Resignation” has left employers scrambling to figure out what to do about the high turnover of their workforces. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that voluntary resignations accounted for 25 percent of vacancies in 2021, with overall turnover a whopping 57 percent. It isn’t stopping, either. Microsoft’s Work Trend Index estimates that 2 in 5 workers globally will leave their jobs this year.

Many businesses are trying to figure out how to stem the tide of turnover and retain workers, just like companies as diverse as Goodyear, National Cash Register, Kellogg’s and Union Pacific did in the early 20th century. These companies understood that worker turnover undermined productivity, so they devised a solution called “employee welfare work” — and their solutions from over a century ago can help businesses today grapple with the expensive cost of employee turnover.

Source: Washington Post