Your workforce is leaving you in the Great Resignation

The Great Resignation – Future Proofing your Organisation

As we adjust to life with Covid (whatever that means), it’s time for businesses to adopt a post-pandemic lens. As we’ve seen in the US, employees are walking out in search of stability and flexibility – a phenomenon that’s been dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’. 

Australia’s job market is not exempt from this trend, with many Aussies predicted to follow suit. According to a LinkedIn poll of over 25,000 people, 74% said that the pandemic has made them reconsider their job or career choices. No surprise there.

If you’re currently an organisation, you must be across what’s happening to future-proof your business before your greatest assets – your people – leave you. 

Let’s try to explain (we may fail, but we’ll give it a go): There are short-term solutions that organisations can adopt to prevent their employees from resigning, such as improved staff engagement (listening, mentorship programs, learning journeys), as well as long-term solutions to help reduce the impact of the coming Great Resignation. 

So – What is The Great Resignation and why is it happening?

The term ‘The Great Resignation’ came from the US when employers started to ask employees to return to the workplace. Yes, ask. Covid-19 had changed the way business was conducted, and for roles that didn’t require physical presence, many employees couldn’t see the value in returning, or felt anxious to do so. This is the new reality.

The catalyst for the abundance in resignations isn’t simply the pandemic making work difficult. Instead, it’s prompted workers to rethink their work-life balance. Workers are no longer accepting what was previously a given. 

Employees are leaving once-coveted jobs and searching for new opportunities. According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index, 41% of people globally are likely to consider leaving their jobs within the coming year. Just think about that for a minute – and consider the cost of this to your organisation.

The Current Market is led by Talent

We can tell you without doubt – it’s a talent-strong market (whether permanent or Gig workers), and salary expectations are very high. 

Companies are competing to attract top talent, but beyond simple salary increases (which we know you may not be able to afford) organisations must adopt a fresh approach to keep their current talent happy and engaged. 

In a market where talent is in the driver’s seat, companies need to make current roles more attractive, provide better pathways to progression and provide benefits beyond bean bags and gimmicky “coolness”.

What about Border Restrictions?

Since Covid-19 emerged, over 500,000 temporary and skilled migrants have left Australia, and it’s expected that over 75,000 more will leave Australia before the middle of 2022. 

The border and visa restrictions have been creating a strangle hold on talent– resulting in a talent shortage. These movements leave massive holes in Australia’s migration program, impacting Australia’s ability to attract and retain overseas talent in a global pool. 

As borders reopen, it’s also likely we’ll see many workers taking extended leave. So, we may see the mass exodus show up in numbers after these extended periods of leave are taken. 

Ok, So How Will the Great Resignation Impact Your Organisation?

It’s critical to know that your workforce, right now, might be thinking about leaving you. This will have an impact on everything from your finances to visibility over pathways to growth – and will make strategic workforce planning much more difficult. 

As we come off the back end of multiple lockdowns and the impact that’s had on individuals and businesses, you may be expecting a collective sigh of relief as you anticipate light at the end of this pandemic tunnel. 

But, just as your organisation re-emerges and we all try to turn the page on Covid-19, your talent may be preparing to leave you. 

So, what now?

Connect to your employees and contractors and engage with them. Have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening within your workforce and in the market at large. 

Every organisation should truly understand their employees’ or contractor’s expectations and communicate frequently and thoughtfully to stay ahead of the curve – ensure that you understand what they need beyond simply more money – clarity of progression, clear learning journeys, guidance and support via mentorship programs, clarity of over the organisation’s vision and purpose – and sense of belonging is paramount. 

Your employer brand is just as important to your current workforce as those looking to become part of your workforce. Keep ‘em close.

Engage with Your Current Employees

When it’s time for employees to transition back to the office (in some form), ask for feedback about things you’re willing to act on. 

While some employees and contractors may feel relieved to return to working in an office environment, others may experience a great deal of anxiety. 

Create as much flexibility as possible to cater to all, empowering each employee to decide what’s best for their wellbeing. 

This allows positive staff engagement, as employees who feel connected to their organisation work more effectively, are happier and stay with you over time – as long as they can see clear pathways to their own success.

Understand Australia’s Job Market, and Shift Your Mindset

To understand the market, engage with your existing employees to get to know their needs. Can’t do this alone? Then engage with an expert partner as you invest in employee development. 

Have regular feedback sessions and share company strategies to reinforce trust and a sense of security. 

Again – clear pathways to understanding their skills, learning needs and support.

Keep Workforce Planning

Without a solid workforce plan, you’re neglecting your most valuable assets. By partnering with experts in Strategic Workforce Planning, you’ll have the support to future-proof your workforce. 

You’ll have the right talent at the right time, ready to scale, grow and pivot.

Let’s be honest. The concept of Workforce Planning often remains a concept. We get it, it’s hard. The problem is, it’s often hard to get the entire business engaged in effective planning because there a so many unknowns. 

The problem is in the current market, you may need to start targeting and nurturing specific talent – which means you need time. 

Let’s keep it simple. If you’re not doing so already, start.

  • Analyse your current ‘talent supply’ (internally & externally)
  • Consider any future needs. If you’re struggling to accurately forecast, work with the business a allocate time to understanding demand
  • Identify gaps and build an understanding of how accessible that talent is
  • Keep the communication open and set expectations. Resource constraints cause endless frustration – demonstrate you are proactively working on solutions

Longer Term Solutions

To minimise the effects of The Great Resignation, organisations need to make meaningful, long-term changes to workplace culture and the way they invest in employees. And it’s not always just about more money.

So, what if you can’t offer more money?

As Douglas Adams said: Don’t Panic! A smaller percentage than you think tell us salary increase is their primary motivation when seeking a new job. Sure, a great salary is important, but a true sense of engagement and a clear pathway to success are critical to both employees and contract workers. 

If you can’t provide either of these things, then you way as well say goodbye. This is an avoidable challenge that employers should address head-on. It’s crucial because talent moves on from stagnant gigs, looking to add value elsewhere if they can’t see it where they are now – with you.

Employer Branding

With the market more competitive than ever, all forms of communication need to stand out. Work with professionals or use your internal outward-facing marketing experts to show internal and future employees why they should work for you through clear, effectively executed communication. 

Just think, if people want to work for your brand, then you’re less likely to be affected by The Great Resignation. Think of Google – who wouldn’t want to work there?

Use Data to Power your Decision Making

Australia is finding its feet in a period of change. To understand where your business sits and where it could be, look at current trends and use that data to power your next steps. 

If you are lucky and end up avoiding The Great Resignation, at the very least your business will experience a significant realignment as you move into a modern workforce that’s ready for the future.

Three words: Data. Data. Data. One more for luck: Data. In this context, think of data as tiny puzzle pieces, slowly building a picture of the market. Once you know where the talent is hiding, then you can develop and execute and effective strategy. 

External tools such as LinkedIn Talent Insights can help you identify trends and themes in the market – allowing you plan more effectively and understand how the talent market is behaving.

If your recruitment strategy primarily relies on reactive job applications, it’s only going to become a bigger problem. Attracting, engaging, tracking, managing and nurturing talent has never been more important. In a candidate short market, make sure you’re the organisation that’s listening to what the market wants.

A Final Word

It’s Time to Adapt. The Great Resignation is a unique moment in history to transform the way we work. 

The businesses who adapt will find themselves retaining their current workforce, attracting new talent, and subsequently thriving. 

Critical elements such as workforce planning, employee consulting, leaning programs, understanding the skills of your existing employees, mentorship programs, thoughtful employer branding, and more – there’s no better time to reach out and begin future-proofing your business than now.

Want help? Simple – give us a call or check out our full range of services. We may just be able to help.

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