How to prepare for The Great Resignation


It’s coming: The Great Resignation. After prioritising job safety and security for the past two years, employees all over the world are ready to jump ship. Surveys are reporting that anywhere from 38% to 50% of employees are planning to change jobs in the next year. This is a huge leap from the historically low turnover of 2020, that saw just 7.5% of Australians switch jobs.

With all the economic instability of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no surprise that many employees chose to sit tight in their roles longer than they might have otherwise. Those employees are now feeling confident to pursue new roles, particularly young people looking to diversify their experience.

Up to 50% of employees are planning to change jobs in 2022.

With markets steadying and opening up, many are also eager to leave sub-par roles behind. A recurring theme is the number of employees who felt unsafe, ignored and burned out during the pandemic, particularly in customer-facing industries.

For other workers, a lack of career opportunities, pay rises and appreciation or recognition topped their list of reasons why they plan to seek new roles.

Picture your team - are you ready for every second or third person to leave?

The prospect might be a little terrifying. After all, replacing an employee can be horrendously expensive and time consuming. But with the right preparation, your business could come out in its best shape yet.

How to retain your current employees

Now is the perfect time to assess the satisfaction and engagement of your current employees.

A few key areas to look at are:

  • Remuneration - were pay rises withheld due to the pandemic?
  • Working arrangements - what degree of flexibility are you offering your workers?
  • Workloads - if you were forced to let workers go or pause hiring, are your current employees overburdened?
  • Safety - what are you doing to ensure the physical and psychological safety of your employees?
  • Recognition - what are you doing to actively recognise and appreciate your team?
  • Career opportunities - what opportunities for promotion and upskilling are you offering?

If your business changed to remote working throughout the pandemic, there’s a good chance that many of the structures you had in place to manage these aspects need a new approach.

If your business is ticking most of these boxes however, it might be time to focus on how you can improve upskilling and career development opportunities for your team. 31% of workers reported a lack of career opportunities as their top reason for wanting to move on - more than any other reason.

31% of workers reported a lack of career opportunities as their top reason for wanting to move on.

Small businesses in particular may struggle to offer regular or significant promotions within their team, causing team members to look outside the business for career development.

However, this can be mitigated by focusing on offering more opportunities within roles. Consider meeting one-on-one with your team to discuss areas and skills that they’d like to branch into. Set goals, and follow them through.

And if you’d like to offer your employees a chance to gain new skills but don’t have a lot of time on your hands, consider an employee learning platform like HowToo. With a platform like HowToo, you or your team members can capture your expertise in the form of fun and shareable online courses, giving your team the ability to upskill quickly and easily, no matter where they’re located, and without intensive mentoring.

How to attract new talent

Of course, with great change comes great opportunities.

Even with a fantastic strategy for retaining your employees, it still may be time to say goodbye to a few. These vacancies provide an opportunity to find fresh new talent to shake up your team.

Attracting the best talent is an art that any business can master. In fact, many of the same strategies that help to retain employees are perfect for attracting new workers.

The first step to attracting great talent is to review your job descriptions and advertisements. There’s a good chance they need updating! In a competitive labour market, businesses must be clear and focused on what they can offer employees.

Expert recruiter Emily Walker from Change Republic shares her top tip for writing attractive job descriptions. “In a tight talent market you need to know your value. Define some key points about your job opportunity and promote them. We call this ‘finding your why’. Your ‘why’ might be the team or company's mission, your leadership style, the culture plus a large dose of "what's in it for them". Memorise it. Keep it in your back pocket.”

Remember too that salary is just one element for attracting people, so if you’re unable to offer a highly competitive rate, consider how you can boost other elements, such as flexible work arrangements and career development opportunities.

Walker adds, “"We are seeing lots of talent forgo big salaries for flexible working arrangements on interesting projects or with purpose-driven teams. Employees can recognise an overwhelmed leader, so if you're burnt out and the team is overwhelmed look into a resourcing solution like Change Republic, or at least be prepared to present and talk through your resourcing plan."

Refresh your onboarding process

The third aspect to prepare for is onboarding, the process of assimilating new hires into your team.

Onboarding is a critical process to get right. Around 20-25% of new employees will leave a new position within their first 6 months, at a huge financial and time cost to the business.

However, a good onboarding program can boost the retention of new hires by as much as 50%. And by getting new hires up to speed faster, a standardised onboarding process can also boost their productivity by up to 62%.

Download: Free Onboarding Checklist

A good onboarding program can boost retention by 50%

So, how can you improve your onboarding process?

Start by auditing your current materials and processes to see what’s available, and where it’s located. Many businesses rely on piles of disconnected documents to onboard their new employees. It’s exhausting, confusing and disengaging. 

From there, consider how these can be consolidated into a single, easy to access location. At HowToo, we use HowToo Growth to create a series of engaging courses that introduce our new hires to our company, and guide them through our values and policies. This method has worked particularly well for onboarding remote employees who can complete the courses in the downtime between calls when it’s convenient.

Once a new hire is settled, it’s important to keep checking in regularly throughout their first 6 months to ensure they feel fully supported.

Start preparing now for The Great Resignation

Next year is going to be a year like no other. It'll be a year of huge change, but with the right preparation, your business can take advantage of The Great Resignation and come out in better shape than ever.

Free onboarding checklist. The ultimate guide to onboarding. Download now.

Nov 4, 2021

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