Posted: Mon 18th Oct 2021
Enterprise Nation adviser Ifty Nasir talks through 'The Great Resignation' and how your business can avoid an post-Covid exodus.
It’s obvious that Covid has shaken up the transatlantic workforces. Across the pond, US businesses are haemorrhaging millions of team members as staff quit their jobs in droves. And over here, the picture is equally as alarming.
Dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’, employers everywhere are growing increasingly concerned that their companies will be impacted by the skills shortage.
What is happening and why?
The media has by-and-large painted a picture of a working-class revolution in The States, with fast food and retail workers turning in their aprons at a rate of knots. Closer to home, Brexit has been blamed. Without a healthy supply of European workers, it’s feared that the UK’s supply chains will soon grind to a halt.
However, the picture is far more complex than that and studies show it isn’t just blue-collar jobs that are failing to retain their staff, but also those in management and technology. In fact, Visier’s newly published study reveals that resignations within the ‘high tech’ sector are amongst the highest, with a 4.5% rise year on year.
Another study by job.com shows that the high stress of going from office to fully remote and back again has been the last straw for many desk-based office professionals.
The Covid effect
From micro to macro, Covid has turned everybody’s lives upside down and it’s very clear that the disruption has given literally millions of people pause for thought. It’s also left millions of healthcare and frontline workers completely burnt out.
Arran Stewart, co-founder of job.com writes that: “workers are moving to companies that fit their work style preferences”. Frankly, the pandemic has highlighted imbalances and shortcomings in many people’s workplaces, who are now putting wellbeing front and centre of their working priorities.
It’s also clear that once the initial panic created by Covid had subsided, that a wave of entrepreneurial spirit emerged. People are rethinking their careers altogether and in fact, one in seven adults now plan to become an entrepreneur, according to Natwest’s latest report.
How to protect your company
It’s clear that we are in the eye of a perfect storm and company leaders will need to act fast to protect their businesses from imminent talent migration.
If you suspect that some of your staff are looking to leave, what can you do to persuade them back?
The top three ways to attract talent and keep it:
The study showed that the number one factor that motivates most Brits is to simply be thanked and appreciated. However, if your staff haven’t been feeling the love, it’s hard to turn that around overnight.
You can try to make more of a conscious effort to be empathetic and grateful going forward, but a more immediate solution might be needed to persuade those on the fence to stay.
When comparing one identical job to another, 66% of workers would choose the job that offers the most flexible working options. Office workers have experienced the benefits of working from home (or from the beach or from the coffee shop…) and for many, there’s no valid reason for being forced back into the 9-5.
If your company can offer flexible working but is opting not to, or you are trying to force everybody back to pre-covid patterns, you might find that your employees are amongst those looking elsewhere.
3) Share schemes
The research also showed that one in three would choose a company that operates a company share scheme over one that didn’t.
Share schemes kickstart a psychological reaction known as the ‘ownership effect’ in which participants feel more responsibility, loyalty and tenacity for the thing they have been given.
In terms of loyalty, we discovered that 95% of business owners agree that these schemes have improved their retention rates. A huge figure!
The stats aside, what sharing equity does to a team is transformative. Employees with a stake in the business are likely to perform better and support each other as they have a vested interest.
Those who contribute to a company’s success deserve a slice of the pie - a reward for their efforts. It’s a philosophy that can inspire teams to do great things.
See the Great Resignation as an opportunity to do better.
While lots of people quit their jobs over the course of the pandemic, as we’ve shown, others are only considering it. Granted, that’s a cause for concern, but it also presents a unique opportunity. Adapt now to build a better, stronger business.
One that employees will want to stick around for.