Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
4:00 AM 17th January 2022

Five Strategies To Combat ‘The Great Resignation’

Rebecca Dixon Head of HR Consultancy at Progeny discusses five strategies to combat 'THe Great Resignation'.

The pandemic has contributed to something of a perfect storm in the employment market, with what has been dubbed ‘the great resignation’ predicted to be coming our way.

According to a recent report from the recruitment firm Randstad UK, 69% of UK workers surveyed were feeling confident about moving to a new role in the next few months, with 24% planning a change within three to six months.

Rebecca Dixon
Rebecca Dixon
Whatever the reality of this will be, the recruitment market is certainly hardening and firms of all sizes are being challenged to look more deeply at issues they are facing and come up with a long-term strategy in terms of both retention and attracting new talent. Throwing money at the problem is only ever a short-term fix, so what can firms do to help them stand out as an employer of choice?

Assess your culture
More than a quarter (27%) of UK employees quit their job in the past year due to workplace culture, according to the Breathe Culture Economy 2021 report, with a toxic culture costing the UK economy £20.2 billion per year. Assessing your culture can be a difficult thing to do subjectively however, especially as it is often driven from the top down. Reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed are a good starting point for an honest window into your culture, as well as the feedback from exit interviews. You can also conduct anonymous temperature checks or engage the services of an independent third party to host an internal survey and help follow up on the results. This can encompass activities such as holding focus groups and creating an action plan to address problem areas.

Aid mobility
According to the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 2021, employees at companies with internal mobility stay almost two times longer. Creating defined career pathways is therefore vital, along with structured learning and development opportunities. Smaller companies often struggle with limited opportunities for ‘promotion’ but mobility focuses more on being able to move from one role to another or performing different activities.

Traditionally, a lot of focus is placed on the onboarding and exit stages of an employee’s time in a company. Regular review meetings in the intervening years are vital however, in order to assess, amongst other things, employees’ development and career ambitions. Regular, quality, one-to-one discussions can help managers understand what motivates their team and how they envisage their career progression. This enables employers to create individualised strategies as well as build a detailed internal picture to inform succession, development and recruitment planning.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Importantly, creating an empowering culture where employees feel able to push outside their comfort zone and practice new skills within a safe and supportive environment is key to facilitating personal and professional growth.

Focus on your psychological contract
A psychological contract is a term to describe the informal commitments, expectations and understandings that make up the relationship between employee and the employer and a common reason for employee turnover is when cracks in this unwritten agreement start to show. However, unlike a written contract, it’s much harder for an employee to look to replicate a positive psychological contract elsewhere and therefore can be a great lever for retention.

Because it includes more intangible qualities like respect, compassion and trust, this contract is often formed with a direct line manager and underlines the importance of ongoing management training. Emotional intelligence, the ability to act as a mentor and conflict resolution skills all aid the building and maintaining of a strong psychological contract with employees and the ability to help overcome any perceived breaches.

From a wider company perspective, creating an open and safe culture, engaging in clear communication, leading by example and setting realistic expectations all contribute to creating a reciprocal and respectful workplace.

Tell your story
According to the Global Leadership Wellbeing Survey, having a strong sense of purpose and meaning has been shown to have significantly more bearing on job satisfaction than almost all other known factors, yet research from Gallup found that fewer than half of employees know what their organisation stands for and what differentiates it from competitors.

Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay
Humans are hardwired to want to create meaningful connections and business ‘storytelling’ is an important tool for building a narrative and connecting with people on an emotional level. Microsoft, Virgin and LinkedIn are all masters at this, which can include:

History – What problems was the company created to solve, what challenges has it overcome and what are some of its key achievements?

Values – What does the company believe in and how does it demonstrate this?

People – Who are the faces behind the brand and what motivates them? Showcase company advocates and success stories.

In a competitive market, this will help make your company more memorable, relatable and inviting to prospective employees and create a vision that current employees can buy into and help work towards.

Excel in the hybrid world
Hybrid and flexible working will be the norm moving forward so it’s not just about offering this but also about investing in the right tools and training to make it successful. A gap will start to appear between those companies who simply allow hybrid work and those who actively support it.

The added advantage of fully embracing new ways of working is the removal of geographical barriers, providing access to a wider talent pool and creating competitive advantage.

However, ensuring equal status between onsite and remote employees will be key, as well as the challenge of making everyone visible and connected. Proximity bias is expected to be a rising concern as the hybrid way of working becomes more established, so it will be about ensuring managers are properly equipped to respond to this and other emerging issues.

Companies who are successful in creating a level playing field for all employees will be in a strong position going forwards in terms of both retention and recruitment.
In summary, the pandemic has radically shifted people’s attitudes and priorities and employers are being challenged to think beyond traditional boundaries and solutions. However, there are lots of strategies that employers can adopt to minimise future risks and costs, such as those that the Great Resignation presents, as well as cultivate a more engaging and attractive workplace where talent can flourish.