Employee Engagement

Staff turnover is about to soar: why you need to act fast

Lydia Watson

Is change always good? If you’re an employer, it’s time to hope that not everyone thinks so. 

The end of the pandemic may be in sight, but like any traumatic event, it’s clear that nothing will ever be quite the same again. Employees in every industry have suffered redundancies, furlough, job insecurity, pay freezes, and generally the sense of a career on hold. Change is calling.

‘The great resignation’: a new crisis is threatening to emerge

Dubbed ‘the great resignation’, one academic is warning of a looming boom in employee turnover – fuelled by the end of coronavirus restrictions, and the rollout of vaccinations. Resignations have already been seen to rise in the US – now at a 20-year high –  and a survey found 38% of UK workers want to move to a new role this year. 

This could have been manageable, were it not for a severe talent shortage. The UK has the highest skill shortage in the world, with 77% of employers struggling to hire for certain roles – doubling in the last few years. So what can you do? The first step is understanding why your people might quit.

Reasons for resignation post-pandemic:

  • New career decisions: the enormous impact of the pandemic has meant reflecting on life choices, and for some, that may mean making bold new choices about their jobs
  • Staying remote is a priority: 1 in 3 workers say they wouldn’t work somewhere that forced them to be in the office full-time, so any end of WFH could lead to turnover
  • Pre-existing reasons: 66% of employees had low engagement before the pandemic, so quitting could’ve been on their minds for a while – it’s just now they feel safe to act

Employee turnover & talent shortage: how worried should you be?

Staff turnover is expensive. It’s disruptive to the rest of your workforce, and it upsets your company culture. It’s also just inconvenient and wastes your time. So it’s important to understand the risk level to your organisation – so you can take appropriate action:

It depends on your industry

Some sectors are more at risk than others. For hospitality and construction, the impact of the pandemic – from redundancies to the furlough scheme – have compounded the shortage of staff caused by Brexit. That means any level of churn is going to hit even harder.

It depends on the staff you need

There was already a digital skills shortage in the UK, so keeping the talent you have is vital. These workers are more likely to be offered attractive salary packages, will have a lot of employment opportunities and are going to be harder than others to replace. 

It depends on your remote working policy

58% of employees surveyed said if their employer stopped allowing remote work, they’d look for a new job. Like it or not, workers feel they have the right to flexible work policies – and if that’s not going to work for your organisation, prepare for a lot of resignation letters.

It’s time to act: prevent job hopping by making your organisation a better place to work

Maybe you’re considering a hybrid working model, maybe you’re not. And solving the talent shortage is arguably a societal issue, not an organisational one. But what you can do is start thinking about your company culture, the day-to-day experiences of your employees, and how you can create a more resilient organisation:

  1. Listen & measure

It’s simple. To solve a problem, you need to understand what you’re dealing with. And the best way to do that is through employee feedback. Run one of our 20+ employee surveys, really listen to what your employees are saying, and get a quantifiable way to work out how strong your organisation is, and where your weaknesses are. 

2. Reflect & respond

You get a score, you get focus areas, you get an insight into what people really need. The next step is considering what tangible changes come next, and communicating that to your employees. Tell them what you’ve learnt, and what will happen as a result – so they feel heard, and know that things will get better.

3. Change & continue

New initiatives, structural changes, a renewed sense of purpose – whatever it is, get it done. And after that? Repeat the process, by measuring again. Slowly but surely, you’ll build a stronger organisation – one that your employees want to belong to. What are you waiting for? 

 

It’s time to start the conversation

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