The last few years have seen a seismic shift in the behaviour and attitudes of the global workforce. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are likely all too familiar with the phrase ‘The Great Resignation’ (also known as the Big Quit and the Great Reshuffle.) The clickbait term has dominated the news the world over, but behind the headlines is a deeply concerning economic trend. The numbers are sobering:
- 41% of employees are considering resigning from their jobs
- UK job vacancies are at their highest since records began
- One-third of workers report being unhappy at work
This major disruption was spurred on hugely by Covid-19 (during which record numbers of employees voluntarily quit their jobs) however, this crisis is not just short-term turbulence caused by the pandemic. The trend has been quietly bubbling away for the past decade, coming to a culmination as employees took stock of their priorities during the biggest health crisis in a century. On top of all this, and in spite of a looming recession, the trend shows no sign of slowing down.
The Times They Are A-changing
In the past, people could be tempted into roles by the promise of job security and decent pay. In today’s world, that just won’t cut it. Employees are seeking purpose. They want to feel invested in the work they do, and they want to know that their employer shares those values.
Understanding the role of purpose and culture in today’s workplace is vital. As is recognising the needs of diverse employees and Gen Z recruits.
In order to find a remedy for the Great Resignation, it’s crucial that employers get to the root of why people are leaving and what needs to change to keep them. Now’s the time to go back to basics and build a strong employee offer that meets the needs of today’s workers.
Putting the Employee First
With more open positions than there are workers to fill them, employees are truly in the driving seat, and they know their worth. In the most competitive talent marketplace in decades, a small salary bump is not going to cut it; employees want to:
- Feel a sense of belonging
- Have flexible working options
- Feel valued
- Have growth potential
So, how do you go about putting these values at the heart of your employee offer and retaining the fantastic talent you have whilst attracting more great candidates to your company?
It’s time for businesses to invest in developing purpose-driven employer brands. Here are five factors that can transform your current organisational culture into one that attracts new talent and motivates employees to stay.
- Purpose, purpose, purpose
Organisations with a well-defined purpose have a much better shot at attracting and retaining top talent. In fact, a recent Harvard Business Review study found that a staggering nine out of ten employees would take a pay cut for more meaningful work.
Employees are not only looking for purpose-driven companies, but they also want to know that their leaders live by those values too. Leaders who can embrace the company’s purpose and lead ethically are much more favoured by Millennials and Gen Z workers in particular.
- Recognise greatness
McKinsey & Company’s research on the Great Resignation found that a majority (54%) of employees who quit their jobs felt that they were undervalued by their employers.
Truly talented people aren’t highly motivated by money; feeling special is often more important to them. Treat your top talent like valued individuals, not like members of a group.
Skilled workers know their worth. It’s key that employers do too.
- Flexibility remains critical
The pandemic made it clear that employees can be as productive (if not more so) in a work-from-home environment.
Remote work has become normalised over the past two years and can be a real morale boost for workers. It’s a great option for businesses, too, as it significantly opens the talent pool, allowing employers to recruit from anywhere in the country or anywhere in the world!
Offering flexible hours is also an important perk for workers today. It’s a win for employees with families, who can plan around childcare and school pick-up times. It can also be a bonus for those commuting into cities from the ‘burbs – avoiding a nasty commute during rush hour can be a huge contributor to workers’ wellbeing.
- Promote a culture of inclusion and belonging
Adjusting hiring procedures with an eye toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a great first step toward greater workforce representation, however, it’s crucial that this work continues beyond the hiring stage.
Ensure DEI initiatives are embedded in your talent retention plans by promoting an employee experience that recognises the specific needs of all employees. For instance, some underrepresented groups (like working mothers) may be more inclined to stay working at an organisation if they offer flexible work arrangements. If you are not prioritising DEI, and the specific needs of underrepresented employees, then there will be an inevitable knock-on effect on staff retention.
- Practice what you preach
It’s all well and good taking a position on these retention and attraction efforts, but it’s crucial that your words and actions match the promises you make. Anything you say to attract new talent is meaningless if your internal environment and actions don’t support it.
We are experiencing a major shift in the workplace; it’s only right to consider your talent retention and attraction strategy with the same level of scale and ambition. Things are changing, and the businesses that don’t keep up will get left behind.