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iStock 13194105833
iStock 13194105833

How to stay one step ahead of the Great Resignation

By: Deborah Gray, Founding Director of Totum Partners

2021 will be remembered as the year of the “great resignation.” In the UK almost one fifth of adults left their job through choice while in the US more than 4.5 million people quit their jobs in November alone.

With a new year well underwaythe trend shows little signs of abating. Almost one third of the workforce is considering a new career in 2022.

In the UK, 5.5 million people are employed in Financial, Professional and Business Services (FPBS) and the sector accounts for 10% of economic output so prolonged issues around recruitment and retention pose athreatfor bothbusiness and economic disruption.

Astonishingly, fewer than 10% accountancy business owners are making their recruitment strategy a business priority and less than 5% see talent acquisition as a priority for future planning.With almost a third of FPBS companies saying they are affected by skills shortages that must change. But where to start?

Values and culture 

The pandemic turned business on its head. Company values and culture evaporated into the background during the pandemic as workers became more remote. Conveying your brand and culture to a remote workforce is challenging at the best of times. But now it is essential to maintain engagement with workers who may become disengaged and to attract new ones.

The FPBS sector recruits almost 20% of graduates entering the labour market each year. Butresearch by Adobe has revealed that 57% of Gen Z and 54% of millennials have been particularly affected by the pandemic, feeling pressure to be available at all times of the day as the shift to remote working has blurred the boundaries between work and home.

Highlighting social aspects of the workplace can help here, for example communicating about monthly socials, internal sports teams or clubs is a great way to reinforce the separation between work and social.

It can help to embed and highlight corporate values whilst remainingconnected to employees. Companies that foster better relationships within their teams will, in turn, give employees the incentive to be loyal to them.

Diversity and Inclusion 

Ignoring the ‘S’ in ESG credentials is also a contributing factor to the Great Resignation. A toxic work culture can become pervasive, stifle creativity, decision making and the overall effectiveness of a business, damaging both profits, company success and reputation.

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Actively promoting diversity and inclusion iscrucial. A report by Savanta’s Diversity & Inclusion team revealed 42% of Black employees have left a job due to a lack of diversity,while one in three jobseekers admitted that they would be put off any company where there is a notable lack of diversity and inclusion amongst the team.

At Totum, our most recent Diversity and Inclusion report demonstrated that in 2021, 27% of candidates who registered with us identified as Asian/ Asian British, Black/ Black British, or mixed/ multiple ethnic groups. We have also witnessed our number of female candidates rise to 60%.

Reassessing your recruitment policies and communication style is an effective way to ensure that unconscious bias is not entering the process. Similarly, looking out for talks and webinars on recruitment can aid in rethinking your approaches. At Totum, we have hosted events such as: ‘How black professionals navigate the world of business services’ and ‘How to create the most diverse firm in Britain’.

The perils of remote onboarding 

For new employees, starting a job, can be a stressful and daunting prospect. Onboarding processes are there to ensure new joiners feel welcome, valued and are given time to connect with other team members, learn the culture of their new workplace and have access to all the support resources they might need.

And it is crucial to get right. But even before the pandemic, just 12% of employees felt their company was successful at onboarding. As the process has become increasingly remote, the opportunity for new joiners to walk into your beautiful offices, to get a feel for and connect with your company has been lost.

With the prospect of remote and flexible working becoming long term it’s time to get clued up on remote onboarding and start building permanent solutions to the disconnect has emerged between new workers and their employer.

There are many simple solutions that can make it a more social and supportive process. Working from home comes with a lack of informalrelationship building, so perhaps an employee ‘buddy’ system could help to overcome this?

The battle for talent

With the Great Resignation showing little signs of disappearing, recruitment, retention, and company values are crucial areas for companies to review and get right. Promoting a vibrant and inclusive environment is one of the most powerful ways to create an engaged and happy workforce.

As competition in the marketplace increases companies must pay genuine market rates or risk employees flexing their muscles in the search for higher pay, a better working environment or simply an employer who rewards them properly.

Unless firms prioritise this now, refresh their values and re-energise their corporate culture, it’s likely they will find themselves on the losing side in the increasingly tough battle for talent.

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