The Great Resignation

By Hanna Barry, Hanna Barry
Principal
16 December 2021

It’s no secret that staffing is an issue for many employers right now. Having spent the last year and half with our borders shut and our movement restricted, skilled workers are in short supply. Aside from the obvious gap that this creates in our workforce, the flow on effect for many employers is a resourcing issue – the recruitment of new staff to fill vacant roles or growth strategies and the retention of existing staff to maintain stability and the ongoing operations. Managing an ongoing recruitment process and diligently attending to your retention strategies is both time consuming and disruptive.

So, how is this playing out?

Employees are feeling fatigued as they continue to stretch themselves to backfill gaps and cover shortages. They are feeling enough pain to consider a change. In response, employers are starting to the feel pressure to fill roles, they are making decisions from a place of scarcity – they are going to great lengths (and costs) to secure staff. So with the lure of other employers (with seemingly greener pastures) – why wouldn’t employees consider the move? Cue: The great resignation – one of the Media’s newest, self-fulfilling prophecies. Headlines read that “the ABS found that in the 12 months to February 2021 almost 1.1 million Australians left their jobs”… However, this is only half the picture. The reality is, that’s not unusual. In most years more than a million Australians leave their jobs. So how much of this is real and how much of this is just a beat up?

So, what can you do about it?

The great resignation is both a risk and an opportunity to us. There are always winners and losers. So how can you capitalise on this and minimise the impact on your business:

  • Opportunity to lose some of the “deadwood” or clean out some of the legacy roles and people.
  • Really right size your operation – consider what are the needs of the business, how can you better utilise your resources? How can you meet these – who can complete these roles – just because we have assigned this combination of responsibilities to role X – is this really how we have to do things?
  • Be creative – literally. Create opportunities for the staff who are key to your operations. Do this using clever incentives that reward your team and benefit the business.
  • Systemise and process drive as much of your operation as possible – not only will this aid in your efficiency overall, it can operate as a benchmark for consistency and ultimately – quality and assurance. Perhaps you may need time to get your new recruit up to speed, a process / system will help them to make sure that they have crossed all the “t’s” and dotted the “I’s” just as you would.
  • With a leaner workforce, efficiency is essential. Engage your team to bring this to life. Not only will you get intel from those on the ground and who know where the opportunities lie but the goodwill and ownership of a project like this will help to create loyalty and encourage and solidify team relationships (the social glue that is so often overlooked as a retention strategy).

Times are tough and options are limited but life still goes on. Decisions need to be made. The decisions you make, the actions you take – the actions you consistently take, will define you and your success.