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Jonathan Greenhalgh Technology & IT, job-hunting...

The Great Resignation

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What is it? Is it real? How do you protect your business?

We're seeing a lot of talk online at the moment about "the great resignation" and the risks and challenges being created by mass resignations being driven by people who have ridden out the pandemic and are now looking to move on. 

We're going to look into whether the "great resignation" is happening, how you can use it to your advantage and prevent it from happening in your business.

So, what's driving "the great resignation"?

Many people have taken stock of their working situation over the pandemic and are now questioning their priorities. More people are taking the chance to take a leap of faith and pursue their dream job or stepping away from work completely to have more family time. In fact, a recent study undertaken by Personio found that a massive 38% of people that responded are looking to change jobs in the next 6 to 12 months, with 50% saying that they would take a pay cut for a job that they enjoyed more.

Why is it happening now, though?

Workers who may have felt undervalued, overlooked and unheard. These are all key players in toxic workplaces and causes of workplace stress. While these aren't new things, the Covid pandemic and a looming return to the office has pushed those that already felt stressed and under pressure over the edge.

What opportunities does the great resignation present?

What goes up must eventually come down, and the same can be said about "the great resignation". Most of those employees that have left the workplace will have to come back to employment eventually. Does that mean that there's going to be a ready-made pool of hot candidates at your disposal? Well, yes and no. Whilst the talent will be there, they may not want to work with you on a full-time basis or may not want to come to the office.

Hybrid working has risen to the top of many candidate demand lists, and depending on what sector you're in; this could be an opportunity or a problem.

Having a large pool of candidates willing to work remotely or on a contract basis could save companies some overheads and other potential recruitment costs. Businesses that are struggling to adapt may find that they struggle to attract the employees that they need. In other industries such as manufacturing, this isn't as much of an issue as a lot of the work simply cannot be done from home.

It's not all about just wanting to work from home in their pyjamas and getting up late, either. Many workers have realised that they also don't miss things like office politics, bad managers and a general lack of recognition, and these are all factors that can drive people to leave a business.

The great resignation presents businesses with a fantastic opportunity to make sure that their EVP is on point and that they are offering a great place to work.

How likely is it that all your staff will leave?

There isn't really any way to project how many, if any, of your employees will hand in their notice. "The great resignation" is all about employee engagement and satisfaction; businesses with low employee satisfaction that don't listen to their staff are at higher risk of their employees choosing to work somewhere better.

How can you harness "The Great Resignation" to your advantage?

This is quite simple. Firstly take advantage of the fact that hot talent might be looking to move on and hire, hire, hire. Secondly, but perhaps more importantly, give your workplace a shake-up to help retain your existing talent.

In both cases, it's crucial that your workplace meets the standards that an employee in 2021 wants to see. Because although "The great resignation" is an unprecedented event, the mindset of the modern worker is likely to have shifted, meaning things probably won't go back to the way they were before. Your employees want their workplace to tick all the boxes, and they won't be afraid to leave if it doesn't.

Employee engagement, what is it? How can I do it better?

This is not an easy question. Every business is unique, and only your employees can tell you the good and the bad. Don't be afraid to invite your staff to share feedback; it's probably the most important thing you can do to boost staff engagement and take steps to create a better place to work.

You can use many different approaches to collect employee feedback, from direct conversations to anonymous surveys. Anonymous surveys give your staff a platform to be more open and honest than they would perhaps be in a face to face situation. This kind of feedback can then help you understand the area of your company that need attention.

The conversation about increasing employee engagement could go on for hours and hours and is a whole other blog in itself. So here's a couple of things you should 100 percent NOT do.

Throw money at the situation: There is an awful lot of truth in the saying "money can't buy you happiness". If an employee feels overworked and you assume that paying them more will balance this out, you'd be wrong in many cases.

An overworked employee is probably stressed out, feeling undervalued, and probably needing a better work-life balance. The best way to help out an overworked employee is to get to the bottom of why they are feeling that way and then fix it.

Introduce tons of new stuff without fixing the existing problem - Business owners will sometimes spend money on treats and rewards in an attempt to solve low workplace engagement. In an already happy workplace, this may well boost employee engagement. But, it's not the fix-all for unhappy workers.

The most common reason people, around 66%, leave a job is terrible management; this is why it's imperative to train your managers to be great leaders and not just focus on the aesthetics of your business. 

Don't forget about your existing team - You need to ensure that you are doing enough so that your current team doesn't jump ship. Champion recognition, define clear career pathways, develop them, follow through on promises and most importantly, look after their well being. Doing all of these things will make sure that when a recruiter comes calling, they won't just up and go. Run some engagement surveys, and be sure to nip any issues in the bud before they turn into resignations.

In summary, "the great resignation" poses a threat to companies that haven't stepped up and tackled issues, leaving them to stew and go under the radar. Some businesses are now facing a challenge to adapt or go the way of the dinosaur, which is forcing them to change their workplaces for the better and actually listen to how their staff feel.

Are you confident that your staff will stay put, or are the resignation letters piling up on your desk? Either way, now is the time to act. Ensure you engage your current staff and make your workplace a better environment for them and your future hires.

Speaking of hiring, Employment Solutions can help you secure the talent you need. Give us a call on 0161 839 5353 or fill in the form below if you want to have a chat about your upcoming recruitment.

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