q The Great Resignation - Thrive Law

The Great Resignation

You may have seen the term ‘The Great Resignation’ begin to appear more frequently around the news and social media. This is referring to an apparent increase in number of employees who have quit their jobs lately.

So why is this happening? In the UK, job vacancies soared to an all-time high in July 2021, with available posts surpassing over one million; this is the biggest vacancy there has been in the employment market for years. Over in the US, four million people quit their jobs in April 2021 which was then followed by a record ten million jobs being available at the end of June 2021. A Microsoft study found that 41 per cent of people are likely to consider leaving their jobs within the next year. It seems a combination of factors involving the fallout from Covid-19, expansion of technology sectors and, in the UK, the impact of Brexit, means that people have roles to move into, and so will hesitate less when they consider resigning.

Impending Floodgates

Across the globe, countries have been reopening their borders and rebooting their economies. However, the issue that many countries’ workforces are facing is that the demand for new recruits appears to be higher than the number of available employees. This means we’re shifting from what was once an employer’s market to an employee’s market.

As an example, let’s look at Reed, the job site. They said that in September 2021, they had their highest number of monthly postings on their website since 2008. They added that opportunities that were advertising remote work had grown more than four times compared to pre-Covid.

Especially for white collar workers, this means that employees appear to have the upper hand due to the opportunity of flexible and remote working. This was explained perfectly by John Goulding, CEO of Workvivo, an employee communication platform in which he commented that “someone can finish at a company on a Friday evening, have a new laptop delivered, and start a new job on the Monday morning without even having to leave home.”

The Impact of Covid

So, did the pandemic cause the issues? It certain appears to have sped up the already changing employment landscape in terms of remote and flexible working. That, combined with nearly two years of stress, solitude, sadness and soul searching could have resulted in a mass burnout. This has provided an opportunity for employees to reflect on their role, their employer and the values they work to, and question whether they are truly happy. If you add into this that other roles are available, perhaps offering higher salaries and better incentives, it is clear why employees might be looking to move roles.

Retaining Staff

So, how does an employer not fall victim to the Great Resignation? How do you keep hold of your valued staff?

Arguably, the key is to support your staff and make them feel valued, more so than ever before. This doesn’t necessarily mean increasingly salaries or benefits, but can be as little as small gestures like reaching out and letting your staff know you appreciate them. Other initiatives valuing wellbeing and work-life balance will also be well received at the moment. Employees are seeking companies with a great sense culture of emotional connection, recognition and communication. A companies accolades and awards are not the only demonstrative factor, but reviews of staff, both past and present, that paint a picture of the company’s culture are now being taken into account.

Its important to bear in mind that employers, whether knowingly or unknowingly, are now competing with other companies to retain their employees. And now its not just the businesses in commuting distance, but  with remote working, employers are potentially competing with every company in their country or, in some sectors, the world. As an employer, it’s worth getting an idea of what the market looks like and whether the average salaries are increasing, to see if you should be looking to budget to also increase salaries.

The Importance of the Exit Interview

So, if an employee has resigned, what can an employer do? Firstly, it’s worth noting that resignation doesn’t have to be final. If you value that employee enough and feel they’re critical to the work you do, there’s nothing stopping an employer from having a frank conversation and perhaps seeking to increase or match the new role the employee is moving to. The fact is that, unless the employee is desperately unhappy, they will likely be keen to remain in a role they know, with people they know, rather than go into the “great unknown”, if they can secure the same benefits or salary. Especially with inflation rising in the UK, the fact is that unfortunately employees may be being forced to leave jobs they otherwise love, because they financially cannot afford to remain there.

If they are resigning and an employer doesn’t want to enter into a “bidding war”, then we would still advise that an exit interview is a good way to expose what issues might have caused the resignation in the first place. An employer can then use the information gained in that interview, to perhaps reduce further resignations in the future; especially if you consistently have the same messages coming through, you can start to tackle these internally.

How can Thrive help?

If you feel you’re struggling to retain staff or wish to discuss your culture and how to reflect your culture in your workplace initiatives, we can help here at Thrive.

Using Thrive’s HR services makes your life easier; we provide you with quick and most importantly, correct HR decisions so your staff management is stress-free and sufficient. We take care of everything. From drafting contracts and handbooks tailored to your business to advising and supporting you through redundancies. There is no limit to our knowledge, if you have an HR question, our qualified solicitors have the answer for you. We are always one phone call away.

Why should you outsource your HR services to solicitors? Getting your HR services from a solicitor means, should a case ever proceed to tribunal everything we have ever discussed is protected by Legal privilege meaning all conversations are protected. Whereas if you were to use an HR consultant, all conversations and documentation regarding that employee would be disclosable in the tribunal.

Get in touch today to invest in your business and make your HR stress free.



Please note this blog is for reference purposes only and is only accurate at the date it was published. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action. Please contact us if you have any questions at enquiries@thrivelaw.co.uk

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