Great Resignation | Hudson Shribman

Five ways to avoid the ‘Great Resignation’

We live in uncertain times and as the cost of living crisis looms, more and more people are questioning their career choices. The ‘Great Resignation’ refers to the increasing trend for long-term staff to up and leave. For SMEs, a few key resignations can be disastrous. Some fortunate industries can increase wages and perks but for many tightening the purse strings may be essential for riding a recession. We look at low-cost ways of holding onto your top talent in challenging times and avoid the great resignation.

Be transparent and fair

Most importantly, be transparent about the situation the company is in. If you are freezing wages and claiming there are no profits but also offering senior directors bonuses, staff will be looking for new opportunities. People are generally very accepting of business decisions if they are deemed to be fair to everyone and in the best interest of the company as a whole. Communication between management and staff is vital in difficult times. Anxiety will be high and if people feel their boss is hiding information it can result in them leaving for more certain employment.

Offer sustainable options for flexible working

The concept of flexible working seems still controversial. Often this is because it’s not that well planned or managed. When poorly organised, resentment can grow and suspicion of slacking can create a toxic team. Remote/flexible working requires a much more task-based rather than hours-based approach to managing workload. Creating a really good structure for how people work, what targets they are judged by, and ensuring excellent communication is so valuable. When people know what is expected of them and what is expected of their colleagues it creates an efficient, productive team. Everyone should be offered flexible working, based on their role rather than seniority. Don’t let messy management and arbitrary WFH policies push great people to find work elsewhere. If you continue to resist flexible working, the great resignation will be knocking on your door very soon!

Increase training and highlight career progression

We’ve all felt that our careers are going nowhere from time to time. If wages are stagnant, workload increasing, and financial pressures are mounting, we want to see that there is hope in sight and if our current company can’t offer that we look elsewhere. As an employer investing in training should be costed into every hire. Make sure everyone has professional training lined up. There are so many free or low-cost online training options available that it needn’t break the bank. Make sure everyone has input into the courses that they attend. To retain motivation, it must be really relevant and increase skills, competence, and specialist understanding. It should take into consideration the individual’s particular fields of interest and strengths. Discuss how this will lead to additional responsibilities or taking on new tasks. Work with each employee to create a clear path, timetabled, reviewed, and rewarded.

Create a workplace that people want to be in

One way to make staff feel undervalued is to give them a dark desk by the toilets, facing a blank wall with a nasty draft. Some old-fashioned employers still think that a workspace is literally just a place to work and niceties like plants or decent lighting are a waste of money. The competition has cottoned on to the value of attractive, well-designed offices. They will win in the battle for talent.

A quality workspace design leads to a less stressful and more productive atmosphere. It’s essential that employers take the physical work environment of their employees into consideration. Employees need to feel comfortable and calm in their physical work settings to produce their best work.

Alan Kohll, Forbes

Again it doesn’t need to cost the earth. Get your staff involved, set a budget, and transform your space into a haven of calm and productivity. If a posh coffee maker is identified as a popular addition, it’s a small investment to make. It’s not only adding to the workplace but demonstrating that staff opinion is valued and listened to.

Create open dialogue and let staff lead improvements

Increase the time you set aside to listen to staff. This could be just an informal open-door policy or you may want to introduce a weekly team meeting dedicated to staff wellbeing. Every business is different but as a leader, you need to decide how best to elicit honest feedback from staff, understand their motivations, and work to improve their work lives. You may not come up with some instant fix but if you genuinely want to hear from people, you need to find a way. Build that trust, follow through on promises and you won’t experience the exodus so many are fearful of.

The ‘Great Resignation’ may be a buzzword but in challenging times you can’t afford to lose staff. Avoid stagnation at all costs and invest in people.

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