The Great Resignation is turning out to be a global trend as countries emerge out of lengthy lockdowns, and people have had plenty of time to reflect on their lives and livelihoods. This phenomenon was first coined in the USA, as research was showing that employees were quitting their jobs in greater numbers than in the past 20 years across many different industry sectors and white and blue collar lines.
There are early indications that the Great Resignation is creeping into Australia too. Recent surveys conducted by Microsoft and PwC showed that 40% and 38% of employees (respectively) expected to leave their jobs in the next year. What is becoming evident is that workers are no longer willing to accept the terms employers are offering them. As we begin to savour our freedoms out of lockdown, many employees are re-evaluating their relationship to their work and what they yearn from their jobs. 
There is undoubtedly a huge cost to businesses if the Great Resignation were to take full effect in Australia.
As an employer, here are some 5 suggestions and strategies that you can implement to maximise employee retention.
- Work from home policy – the extended lockdowns have created an expectation for employees that working from home or a hybrid at a minimum, should be introduced as a standard way of working. Employers should consider implementing a work from home policy that helps employees balance their personal and professional life/work demands.
- Remuneration review – this is a timely reminder to check that you are paying your employees at or above market rates.
- Maximise employee engagement – do you understand the level of employee engagement within your business? Do you conduct informal (quick pulse checks) and formal (engagement surveys) reviews to get a read on the general employee vibe? More importantly, what you do with these insights is critical to understanding the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that are keeping your employees at work.
- Training and development – can you identify relevant training/development opportunities that enable employees to continue to develop their skills and capabilities within your organisation? Training doesn’t just have to be technical in nature, they can also involve building soft skills that are critical to performance.
- Career path/opportunities – if you are a growing company, can you nurture your internal talent and create opportunities from within, for your employees to expand their current roles and experience? Perhaps this could take the form of a “special project”; an opportunity to mentor others or be mentored; an opportunity to work more collaboratively across different teams; managing a direct report; or a chance to develop some cross functional expertise. There are endless possibilities. This may help to minimise the risk of employees leaving for “more interesting work” elsewhere.
Ultimately, for any business, employees are less likely to be a flight risk if there is a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Can you define your Employee Value Proposition? What does the employee experience look like in your organisation and what are your levers to increase retention, engagement and productivity? If this is of interest to you, feel free to reach out and we can discuss and explore this with you.
Nick Hedges is the founder of Resolve HR, a Sydney-based HR consultancy specialising in providing workplace advice to managers and business owners. He recently published his first book, “Is Your Team Failing Or Kicking Goals – Take control of your people and their performance”. It is a practical response to the most pressing HR challenges, which can be found at https://resolvehr.com.au/.
Disclaimer: The contents do not constitute legal advice and does not cater for individual circumstances. The information contained herein is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.
“The Revolt of the American Worker”, P. Krugman, NY Times, October 14, 2021
“The Great Resignation: A sense of possibility allows workers to quit their jobs”; J. Maley, Sydney Morning Herald, October 31, 2021.