The Great Resignation: Your opportunity to be an employer of choice

Keith Butler | 13 October 2021

People are on the move. Reassessing their career options, recent research from Personio and Opinium has shown that 40% of employees are looking to change roles in the next six to 12 months here in the UK. This is backed up by our own experiences here at New Street Consulting Group where we have seen an increase of over 150% in the number of individuals registering their interest in new opportunities over the last two months.

And this trend is mirrored across economies worldwide.

So, what’s driving the mass exodus of talent being dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’?

  • Changing priorities
    The pandemic has led to people reviewing their priorities and, as part of this, whether their job gives them the right work/life balance and feeling of worth they are looking for. On top of this, many people are experiencing burnout due to the toll of working long hours, homeschooling and lack of social contact.
  • Dissatisfaction with their role or organisation
    Some people feel that the organisation they work for has not treated them and/or other employees as well as it could/should have done during the pandemic. Related to this is the concept of “negativity by association” whereby an employee associates what has happened over the last 18 months with their job, irrespective of their employer’s actions.
    A survey by Monster found that, at 32%, remuneration was the main reason people were looking to move. However, if we group a number of other reasons under the general heading of “dissatisfaction with current role”, this accounts for well over half of responses.
  • The bottleneck effect
    People may have wanted to change their jobs over the last 18 months but have not done so for a number of different reasons, including lack of opportunity, higher perceived levels of risk, being on furlough etc. Coming out of the pandemic, this bottleneck will now be released. It is also far easier to change jobs now, with flexible working and commuting being less of an obstacle.

Retaining your top talent

There will always be some element of employee churn and, whilst new talent can bring fresh ideas and energy, particularly high levels of attrition are costly and disruptive. Retain talent through The Great Resignation. The good news is that action can be taken by organisations to proactively address the main drivers resulting in dissatisfaction:

  • Make sure your employees feel valued.
    Personally invested in the team they work for and the wider organisation. Individuals need to feel the role they play is important and valued – not just now, but also moving forward.
  • Review your employee value proposition.
    Make sure it’s relevant, strong and a reflection on what employees really want. A key element here is flexible working with employers needing to recognise that a “one size fits all” approach might not be the optimum solution.
  • Refocus on training and development.
    Keeping the ship afloat was the main priority for many over recent times. The Beamery Talent Index reported that 48% of employees have not been offered the opportunity to learn new skills or develop since the pandemic started. However, personal development is really important to many employees and needs to be put back on agenda.
  • Recognise that there may be different levels of activity.
    This may depend on roles or geography. For example, the movement in IT or building safety jobs is likely to be greater due to high levels of demand for these skills. Similarly, there might be areas or functions where, for whatever reason, your organisation is particularly vulnerable. As such, you might need a different strategy for different roles and functions.

What to consider if you do need to recruit?

The good news is that the great resignation also means there’s a lot of eager talent out there. And, with high ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) credentials, the housing sector has an edge for those looking to find purpose in their roles. New talent means new skill sets and ideas -particularly if you recruit from outside of the sector. Also, those open to flexible working will widen their catchment area and, therefore, have a greater choice of candidates.

The challenge is to attract the best possible candidates in the face of other organisations also looking to recruit. And, if recruiting from outside of the housing sector, ensuring candidates have the approach and the transferable skills needed to be successful in a regulated, customer-focussed environment subject to continual change and a high level of public scrutiny.

Keith Butler is a consultant in our executive search team. If you would like to talk to us about what steps you can take to address potentially high levels of resignations in your organisation, then please get in touch.

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