How to retain your people amidst the great resignation

The psychological impact of the ongoing pandemic has motivated many employees to rethink their career choices and consider their work/life balance more thoughtfully. This worldwide shift in mindset is what has propelled what’s been coined - The Great Resignation, a major uplift in employee movement that is predicted to affect businesses around the world.

Microsoft research revealed that 40 per cent of the workplace globally is considering leaving their jobs in 2021. In the US, in August alone, 4.3 million people resigned, and it’s a trend that is likely to affect Australia as well.

The pandemic has fundamentally changed the psychological contract had with employers. Until now, employees have been focused on the in-house benefits employers could provide in exchange for their time and skills. However, after two years of remote working, balancing children, homeschooling, and the general stress of an unprecedented event, employees are looking for opportunities to support a healthy work/life balance.

The job market has become employee-centric, and workers are unwilling to sacrifice their health and wellbeing in the name of career progression.

The Great Resignation is coming, but it also offers an opportunity for employers to look inward and adjust their policies, procedures, and employee health and wellbeing programs to align with what employers are looking for after the upheaval of the pandemic.

The great resignation the people practice

What can my business do to keep my employees happy in their roles and maintain employee wellbeing?

Here are practical strategies you can undertake to ensure your employees remain engaged and happy in the workplace amidst a time of increased employee turnover industry-wide.

1. Take a snapshot of your current culture and understand where it sits within your competitor's set

Audit your health and well-being program, organisational policies, and procedures. Find out what your employees think of your current company culture and compare this with competitors in your industry to ensure your internal culture reflects your values, and the benefits you are offering are competitive.

2. Create flexibility in the workplace

In consultation with your employees, find out what flexibility looks like for your people and how you can apply flexible working opportunities specific to your industry.

3. Think about alternative work benefits

If you are a small but growing business and want to attract top talent, think about what you can offer over and above remuneration. Offering a nine-day fortnight or a four-day week are attractive alternatives when you can’t compete on the pay scale.

4. Set clear expectations on working hours

While working from home opened our minds to different ways of working, the loss of a clear sense of business hours blurred the line between home and work life. Working late at night, catching up on weekends, or on scheduled days off meant many employees felt available 24/7 and lost the ability to switch off. It’s up to employers and managers to set clear work/life balance expectations to ensure employees’ health and well-being.

5. Review remuneration

Audit your remuneration packages across the business. Are you paying your employees in line with industry standards? If not, it’s time to get competitive.

6. Prepare for resignations and plan ahead

Identify critical roles in your business operations and plan to ensure these roles remain stable. Are your current employees happy in these roles? What advantages do you have over your competitors? How can you retain or attract top talent to keep your business moving in the wake of increased resignations and potential skill shortages? These are all questions to be prepared for to keep your critical roles intact.

7. Transition management

Australians have been working from home for two years, and the weight of the pandemic has been felt deeply. Expecting employees to come back to a typical office structure and a 9-5 workday as if nothing has happened will result in disgruntled, uninspired employees. Consultation with employees as to what the workday will look like post-pandemic, and clear communication around health and safety in the workplace, is integral to a smooth transition back to the office.

8. A people-first approach

Employees are fatigued, and what is attractive to one employee may not be appealing to another. Some people will thrive in the structure of the office 9-5, while others will appreciate the flexibility of working from home. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Businesses need to think about individual needs and bespoke ways to drive ambition and career progression without creating burnout to stay attractive to top talent.

Renée x

How can The People Practice help you retain talent?

The pandemic has re-shaped how we approach our work/life balance. Queensland has seen a 30 per cent growth with people moving from Sydney and Melbourne, the most significant shift in history. Major milestones like these highlight businesses also need to re-write the rulebook and review, audit, and understand deeply the benefits and culture that will attract employees to their business post-lockdown.

The People Practice takes a people-first approach to HR consultation, and we are well-placed to help your HR team review your current policies and advise on new retention solutions. We offer leadership coaching, which can help your team navigate through the uncertainty of The Great Resignation.

We can also act as your remote HR team to actively audit and review your current practices and execute a framework for employee retention, as well as provide executive mentoring to your leadership team.

Call us for an obligation-free chat to discuss your retention challenges, and we can tailor an approach to suit your specific needs.

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