The Great Resignation – is it real?

The Great Resignation – is it real?

With the majority of us having to live through the pandemic in lockdown and having to work from home, one thing was for sure – it allowed us plenty of thinking time despite the endless Zoom calls, home schooling and putting out the washing.

If you stopped to think (rethink), your career goals and aspirations, then you were not alone.

Consider this – in the US, since the pandemic, millions of employees and workers are going through what is being dubbed as the Great Resignation.

These workers and employees come from a range of backgrounds including frontline (health, hospitality, carers) through to senior corporate executives.

And the interesting point about their leaving work is that it’s been completely voluntary – in other words, they are choosing to do so rather than results of redundancies or restructures.

A recent study by Microsoft showed that more than 40% of the global workforce are considering leaving their current employers this year.

While Australia may not be at the front of many leading trends, one thing is for sure, we (Australia), typically end up following the cultural trends that dominate Europe, UK and the US.

Which means that employers in Australia need to be bracing themselves for the same following as the US.

So, what happened to the well beaten path of ‘get a job, stay in that job then retire?’

Why is the Great Resignation happening?

World events have the power to shift the balance of power from one group of people to another and the recent event (pandemic), has shifted the balance of power from employers to employees.

The traditional model of employer-employee involved the employer offering a great worker experience through salary, an office, bonuses, and other perks.

However, now, post the pandemic, employees do not want to be seen or categorised as ‘workers’ – rather, they want to be seen as humans that are a part of a complex network that helps to get ‘stuff’ done.

The implications of this, amongst many, include going beyond the material benefits of being just an employee (money & perks), towards how an employer can make the lives of the employee much richer and more fulfilling.

The career shift

One of the biggest aspects of the great resignation is the move towards having a better life overall rather than just being fuelled by career ambition.

Amongst many ‘workers’ there is a shift to having jobs that involve fewer hours and/or something with less responsibility and stress.

As mentioned earlier, lockdowns and working from home have given people some valuable thinking time where they had a chance to truly evaluate what it is that they want in their lives.

Some of key signs businesses need to look out for to avoid the great resignation in their workplace include:

  • Feelings and talk of burn out
  • Seemingly endless virtual meetings
  • Talk of being micromanaged when working from home – bosses not fully trusting their employees
  • Working additional hours – the workday ends up drifting into late evening
  • The pressure to chase down new targets and/or having to meeting excessive performance goals

Right now, the great resignation is more prominent in the US, however, there are underlying signs that it’s happening in Australia as well.

What can businesses do?

An increased desire for flexibility in their roles and the employee’s willingness to change jobs, businesses will be forced to come up with solutions, that don’t involve a pay rise, if they want to hold on to their talent.

Here are 3 crucial actions a business needs to undertake if they don’t want to be a great resignation statistic.

  1. Offer flexibility

Working remotely (working from home), during lockdowns finally legitimised this concept for both business and employees.

Pre-pandemic, most businesses resisted the notion of work from anywhere.  Since then, though, not only did work from home show that it could be done, yet it could be done productively.

  1. Don’t micromanage or over burden

Following on from being flexible with work from home policies (having to only come into an office 2 or 3 days a week), you need to have continued trust in your employees.

Again, as mentioned in the list of reasons for the great resignation was the need by employers to micromanage and ‘check-in’ with their staff every 2-3 hours.

Business needs to understand how hard their employees are working and they must find ways to ease the burden.

One of the simplest and most effective strategies is to focus on productivity outcomes rather the inputs.  In other words, rather than tracking and monitoring how many meetings the employee attends or how often they are online or how many touch points they had with their customers, focus on the output.

Focusing on outputs means setting measurable and quantifiable key performance indicators along with metrics, for example, if in sales, it could be 8 customer touch points per week.

  1. Conduct “stay” interviews

The ‘old’ way was to conduct exit interviews.

The problem with this…it’s too late to salvage the employee.

Stay interviews are focused on spending time with your employees/staff to hear what’s going well and what they’d like to see change or improve.

These interviews, while still in employment, gives the employee a chance to discuss what motivates them to stay on and even more importantly, what is motivating them to ignore offers they get from the outside/competition.

And you may find that only minor adjustments are needed to keep your employees onboard, that don’t involve lots of money.

Recruitment Australia has worked closely with numerous businesses, both small and large, to help them not only attract high-calibre talent, yet also hold on to their most valued and cherished people.

Contact Recruitment Australia to see how we can help you design and build a culture that offers the best working environment for your or phone +61 2 9634 5912