The Great Resignation.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers throughout the world faced difficult personnel decisions, including layoffs and reducing working hours. Two years later, the world seems to have adapted and moved forwards with the ‘new normal’ (e.g., hybrid/remote working). However, despite efforts to adjust, employers are now facing an even greater challenge: The Great Resignation.
To help employers get through The Great Resignation, we look at 5 things you must do to ensure staff retention and top talent attraction.
What is The Great Resignation?
The Great Resignation is an ongoing economic trend where employees are voluntarily leaving their roles for other opportunities. There is no one cause of The Great Resignation, but several factors brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. A study undertaken by McKinsey showed that 40% of employees are somewhat likely to leave their role in the next 3-6 months. In the same study, McKinsey revealed the top factors employees cited as reasons for quitting were that:
- They didn’t feel valued by their organisations or their managers
- They didn’t feel a sense of belonging at work
1) Conduct stay interviews
It almost goes without saying that valued staff and a strong workplace culture will reduce staff turnover and increase staff retention. But how does an organisation know how valued their staff feel? And how effective their culture is?
This is where a stay interview comes into play.
Conducting a stay interview is a valuable way of understanding your current work force and what keeps them at your organisation. It also allows your employees to raise any issues or concerns that you may be unaware of.
Questions you can ask can include:
- What do you look forward to most when you come to work every day?
- What do you dread about work every day?
- What is the best part of your job?
- What part of your job would you cut out straight away if you could?
- Do you feel valued and recognized in the company?
- How would you like to be recognized for the work you do?
The questions above were taken from The Academy To Innovate HR (AIHR) article “21 Best Stay Interview Questions to Ask”.
2) Make your workplace culture the envy of other employers
When it comes to a workplace culture, candidates are not looking for perks such as free fruit, a beer fridge on Fridays, and a bicycle loan. They are looking for a culture that understands their needs, certainly as an employee, but also as a person.
A workplace culture needs to be one that is supportive, flexible, and rewarding:
A supportive work culture starts with competitive pay, a clear job description, KPIs, and benefits (e.g., medical insurance, annual leave). On top of that, communication and transparency is key. It is imperative to ensure candidates and employees understand what is expected of them and what the company will do to help them succeed. Workers who do not know where they stand with your company are more likely to feel isolated and resign.
A study by Future Form showed that 93% of knowledge workers want a flexible schedule, while 76% want flexibility in where they work. This is where you, the employer, need to set yourself aside from the competition.
Regarding location, think about where your candidates and employees need to be. Is the role customer-facing? Does the candidate expect the role to be remote, hybrid, or office-based? Does the role need to be office-based? Getting the location wrong can deter top applicants from applying. Therefore, it is vital that you get this right from the onset.
Regarding hours, if for example the role is full-time, do they need to do their full-time hours between the typical business hours of 9am and 5pm? If they start early or finish early, would this impact your business operations negatively? By offering a flexible schedule, you are showing that you trust your workers to do their role no matter what time of day it is.
In essence, when your organisation instils flexibility, you needs to focus on work-life balance and place an emphasis on giving employees more choices on how they live their lives.
As stated earlier, a study by McKinsey showed that most workers leaving their role are doing so because they feel undervalued. It is important that you do not fall into the trap of offering more money when an employee has expressed feeling undervalued. Oftentimes, this is not what they mean. This feeling often emerges because the company are not offering career progression nor training. It also occurs when the company have failed to deliver on promises.
The key here is to look at each role within your company and create a path of progression. Make this path realistic and achievable for both you and the employee. Use it as part of your recruitment message and show that your work culture is a rewarding one.
3) Utilise LinkedIn
Statista stated that LinkedIn’s global user base was approximately 774million last year. Coupled with the fact that 87% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn, it is clearly a no brainer to use LinkedIn to find top talent.
Getting the most out of LinkedIn requires a strategic approach, which goes beyond simply posting a job vacancy. To succeed with LinkedIn, you must:
- Update your company page. Candidates that see your role on LinkedIn will want to know more about the company. Regularly post content on your page, including content on your company’s work culture and successes (e.g., employee success stories, client case studies, etc)
- Consider paid message targeting. You can use LinkedIn’s Message Ads functions to target your ideal candidates. Specifically, you can target individuals based on their current job functions, seniority level, education, etc. You can view more targeting options here
- Join groups. There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn for almost every industry in the world. Be sure to spend time in these groups and engage with others as often as possible. This practice is a sure-fire way to increase brand awareness and assert your company’s credibility in your sector. This looks good to any potential job seekers who engage in these groups
- Make meaningful, important connections. If you send a message to someone who is not interested nor looking for a role, do not disconnect with them and move on. Ask if they would like to stay in touch for future opportunities and engage with their posts on the platform. Should they be looking for an opportunity in the future, they are more likely to remember you and get in touch. And that person could be the best hiring decision you ever make
4) Engage Candidates during your recruitment process
With today’s busy digital marketspace, job seekers looking at job vacancies want to know who you are, what you do, and what you are offering quickly. In addition, they want the application process to be simple.
Candidates are switched off by excessive information and needlessly complicated application processes (e.g., a 5+ page application portal on a website).
This evokes the acronym KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Make sure the information you post on your job vacancy is concise, relevant, and only requires the applicant to apply with a CV and cover letter. Some job boards allow you to add pre-qualifying questions, e.g., “do you have 5+ years’ experience in marketing?”. Adding these questions is fine but try to keep the number of questions down to a minimum.
Also, think about the candidate experience after they applied. How are you keeping your candidates informed during the application process? Have you given them an estimated timeframe for a response? Will you keep them posted if there is a delay?
Even if you have to tell your applicants there is a delay in the recruitment process, this is better than not telling the candidate anything. Uninformed candidates simply move on, and your organisation misses out.
5) Screen your new starters
Whilst you may see some of your employees leave because of The Great Resignation, you may also see a wealth of top talent coming to your door. And on the surface, a lot of them will appear suitable to work at your organisation.
But how do you know they are top talent?
And how do you know they are who they say they are?
This is where background screening comes in. And it’s vital!
Consider this scenario:
You are onboarding a candidate who appears to be right for the role. They have the skills, qualifications, and experience, and they are ready to start next week.
You offer them the role. They accept.
Months later, they are underperforming, engaging in unlawful activities, and/or in trouble with local police authorities. This begs the following questions. Did you check if they had a criminal record? Did you ask for their employment/educational references (And did you review them)? In short, did they go through a background screening process?
To prevent your organisation from legal, reputational, and/or financial damage, it is vital that you conduct background checks on all new candidates. There are ten background checks you should implement, including:
- Right to work (required by the law in the UK)
- Criminal record check (also known as a DBS check in the UK)
- Employment references
- Educational references
- Credit check
- DVLA check
- Social media screening
- Medical checks
- International sanctions
- Sanctions checks (UK)
Software for background screening
It is advised, where possible, to use software to automate the background screening process, so as not to slow down your overall recruitment process.
The common misconception with background screening software is that it can be very expensive. This is not actually the case. In fact, many employers find that using software saves them significant amounts of resources. In addition, background screening software helps organisations maintain compliance with strict employment laws and regulations.
We offer fast, automated, and compliant pre-employment/background screening software, which you can view here.
The Great Resignation – Takeaway for employers
The last few months have proved that no company is immune to The Great Resignation. However, by assessing and amending your recruitment and retention processes, you can come out the other side with a stronger and more agile workforce.
The key takeaways of this article are:
- Conduct stay interviews. Learn as much about your current workforce to improve retention and strengthen workplace culture
- Make your workplace culture one that is supportive, flexible, and rewarding
- Utilise LinkedIn to market your job vacancies to potential, top job applicants
- Engage your candidates throughout the recruitment process (particularly the application stage)
- Conduct background checks on all new starters (using software to help)