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How can employers attract and retain talent to combat the effects of the Great Resignation?

The ‘great resignation’ is a buzzword that has been a hot topic of discussion for the past 2 years. It is a term used to describe the record number of employees who resign from their jobs.

Many leading experts believe that the great resignation is here to stay for the foreseeable. The pandemic has caused a change in how employees perceive the way they work; they are more aware now than they ever were before of their mental health needs and have had a taste of a good work-life balance due to hybrid working.

Every sector in the UK has been affected by the great resignation. Research undertaken by Randstad involving 6,000 adults found that those who are employed in construction, tech, and logistics are the most confident in changing jobs, whereas those in HR, legal and accountancy professionals are the least confident in the UK to move jobs.

In the healthcare sector Q2 2021, 31% of staff left the NHS (a total of 41,126 personnel). According to a recent BMA survey, nearly 7 in 10 employees - approximately 68% employed in general practice - confirmed that workforce supply shortages are an influential factor towards their decision to leave the health service.

As employees resign, many go on to a change in career direction, or to a competitor. The Nursing and Midwifery Council register as of 31 March 2022 has 758,303 professionals, which is 26,403 more than there were a year earlier. From 2012 to 2021, licensed doctors grew by more than 42,000 to 274,891 according to the General Medical Council. The number of job vacancies according to ONS from February to April 2022 rose to 1,295,000 - another new record.

However, the rate of growth in vacancies continued to slow down. The UK unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in nearly 50 years, resulting in a tight labour market which causes employers to work even harder to attract and retain staff. 

What are employees currently thinking and why are they resigning?

New research carried out by Edenred states that not all employees are paying attention to the great resignation; many are more focused on work-life balance and the cost of the living crisis. The research confirmed that only 12% of employees in 2022 plan to leave their job within the year and 45% have no plans to leave. But this is still a time when there is little room for employer complacency as it is an employee’s market.

To retain employees, employers have to deliver much of what employees want right now: flexibility, greater appreciation for their work, more support from their employer in improving their financial wellbeing, training and development, and a good work-life balance.

It is estimated that it costs employers on average between 6-9 months' salary to replace a salaried employee. Retaining the current workforce, however, proves a lot less costly than recruiting new talent in the long-term.

So what can employers do to attract and retain talent?

  • Many employees want to be challenged and want to take on more responsibility; to attract and retain talent, creating quality work and flexibility will help. Flexible working is one of the highest priorities for job seekers, and employees have proven to be highly productive while working remotely, with many seeking flexibility as part of their new role.
  • Employers who engage with employees on the cost of the living crisis will be the ones to stand out from competitors. Providing employee financial well-being support to your workforce can make a valuable difference.
  • Developing a policy that informs employees where and how they can get financial support and communicating to employees the benefits you offer can result in a healthy workplace where employees can thrive and reach their full potential.
  • Managing ill health and absenteeism by providing occupational health services promptly can be effective in treating long term absenteeism, as you are addressing the issue early on.
  • Investing in training and development benefits the organisation and teams throughout as you are developing a skilled workforce which is known to lead to an improvement in employee satisfaction, as the workforce feels valued and supported through their career progression.
  • Employees who receive training benefits are loyal to their employer due to the opportunities provided to them and are motivated to excel within their role. This means they are more likely to recommend you as an employer to their social circle which in return increases the employer brand.

The labour market is tight, with more vacancies than candidates making recruitment difficult for employers. Employers need to look inwards at their current workforce and the employee experience with you as an employer. Improving this will sustain employee retention and in return will assist with recruiting skilled talent as your employer brand increases.

 


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