Almost a quarter of UK workers are actively planning to change employers in the next few months, according to recruitment firm Ranstad UK.
This comes as part of the so-called “Great Resignation” – where workers in the UK and US are resigning from their jobs in record numbers.
Why are Workers Leaving?
While many may have been planning a job change before the pandemic, but opted to stay put for job security, there has also been a record number of workers experiencing burnout. Research commissioned by Asana found that three quarters of UK workers reported suffering burnout in 2020, up from a global average of 71%.
Burnout has proved a considerable factor for many teams. Those who’ve been working at full capacity or close to it for most of the pandemic are increasingly struggling to cope with the sustained pressure that they’ve been kept under. With only 16% of workers describing themselves as “worried about trying to get a new job” its clear they won’t settle for their current situation.
It’s also been a unique period of reflection for the UK workforce – many have reconsidered their attitude to work and are looking to find employment that affords them more free time with family. As some businesses ask employees to return to the office after a period of remote work, not everyone is willing to concede their work life balance.
How Companies can Retain Talent
Everyone knows that staff turnover is a natural part of any company. But when this turnover starts to exceed typical levels (approximately 15% a year in the UK) the cost of hiring and onboarding new staff quickly stacks up.
Research carried out by Oxford Economics found that it takes recently hired professional workers 28 weeks to reach optimum productivity, with an attached cost of roughly £25,000 per employee. If other statistics didn’t impose the potential losses, this should prove an eye opener to employers.
As record numbers of people have left their job in recent months, companies are now being forced to offer more competitive salaries and benefits, but this isn’t the only thing employees are looking for. While the right salary and benefits are essential to maintain staff retention, it’s a combination of different strategies that will help to reduce the issue.
For those looking to slow the tide of resignations, your first point of call is making sure your team feels heard, with regular opportunities to share their feedback, and a clear process to enact the appropriate suggestions. This can be with regular feedback sessions with leaders, or via routine staff surveys. This will allow the team to share concerns and give your senior management team key areas of focus.
From there its essential to evaluate the working conditions (hybrid, working from home or flexible working to support those with caring responsibilities) to find out what makes sense not only for your organisation, but for your team. Ensure that your wellbeing strategies and support frameworks are up to date and comprehensive, and that your team are aware of what support is available.
Your retention rate is also heavily influenced by the career progression available to your staff – which is why developing existing talent is so crucial.
Attracting New Talent & Developing from Within
As you bridge the gaps left by departing team members, having a robust onboarding process (especially important for remote workers) will help to keep turnover low. But of course, this is fruitless if you’re not hiring the right people. In the face of Digital Skills Disaster, employers need to be considering all available options to attract and develop the talent needed to grow.
Having a developed Diversity & Inclusion strategy is also crucial in the current hiring landscape. Not only does the Great Resignation offer an opportunity to champion Diversity & Inclusion, but a recent Glassdoor survey also found that 67 % of workers consider diversity when seeking employment. Candidates look for signs of diversity across your website, but they’ll also talk to friends, and check review platforms for a real insider view.
Upskilling your team should be a focus now more than ever. Lorman found that retention rates rise 30-50% for companies with strong learning cultures. Alongside the proven boosts to retention, an employer that prioritises development and progression paths is much more attractive to new hires. This is one consideration among many for prospective new hires – making sure your website represents your core values is crucial. You could make use of videos from existing team members about how their careers have progressed to highlight this commitment.
With a number of different government initiatives available for developing staff and hiring, including Skills Bootcamps and Apprenticeships – employers need to think strategically about what will alleviate staff turnover, boost retention and best prepare them for future growth.