The Great Resignation

May 2022

In a recent blog we wrote about the increase in, and demand for, hybrid working. In that we observed ‘that many workers have adapted rather too well to the new world order and are in no hurry to return to the old one. Is it so surprising that the world of no commuting, no hot desking and lunches at home has proved to be altogether more desirable?’ So, an examination of the great resignation phenomenon comprises a natural sequel.

The great resignation
The great resignation

What is the great resignation?

It’s the idea that the Covid pandemic has prompted a tsunami of life stocktaking. And that this introspection has led to a big rise in the number of people giving up their jobs – either to a new one that is willing to give them the hybrid working that they seek. Or in some cases to carve out a new life outside of the workplace. It began in 2021 and is continuing in 2022.

, quotes a survey of 1,000 UK workers. It showed that almost a third (29%) of UK workers are considering finding a new job in 2022. The findings also revealed the industries most at risk from this mass staff migration. We have legal workers at 44%, IT and telecoms at 42% and sales, media and marketing at 40%. It further uncovers why workers want to leave their current jobs and why almost one in three (32%) have put it off.

It’s clear that companies with a hybrid or remote working offer are not so likely to suffer this resignation problem. Indeed, one in three (28%) of workers admit that flexible working policies encourage them to stay where they are. Something further supported by the reasons workers gave for wanting a different job. Almost one in five (16%) of those who wanted to quit cite their employer forcing them to the office/workplace when remote working is quite feasible. Alongside that statistic, 20% feel their employers show favour to those who work in the office over their remote workers.

Other factors

Despite all the above, the main reason (23%) that workers look elsewhere is salary-related and their employer not offering pay rises and/or bonuses. In addition, there is a loud call from employees for better technology and ways to stay connected with colleagues. 13% chose to leave a job because of poor investment in collaboration technology.

How can employers combat the great resignation?

Well, in the first instance, as Timewise suggests, see it as an opportunity not a threat. They suggest you grab hold of this opportunity to plan for the long-term and look to the future. Why? Because, as Timewise point out, it’s clear that the effect of the pandemic on how we work and the subsequent shift in employee priorities, doesn’t look like going away. There’s an understandable temptation to panic and put in place short-term initiatives in an effort to keep your staff. But putting energy into building a culture for the support of long-term employee retention is more worthwhile.

Well, you might:

  1. Involve your staff in decisions and discussion around hybrid working. If you’re partway down that path then it’s crucial you involve your staff in the process. Imposition of work arrangements is almost guaranteed to make your staff up sticks and go.

  2. Undertake a skill’s audit – if you’re a smart employer you will use this period, this situation, to get your business ahead. Think about the skills you’ll need to get to the forefront and upskill and reskill your staff to help them help you to succeed. There are two benefits to this. In the first place, it’ll help you stay competitive. And in the second it will show your staff how much you value them and want to invest in them.

    Once you’ve got your findings, use them! Use them to design roles that can deliver against both the needs of your business and your staff. And remember at all times the importance of in-building into your roles, the flexibility that’s such a high priority for millions of workers right now.

    When recruiting

    Be crystal clear about what you’re offering in terms of flexibility. There’s a big mismatch between the percentage of people wanting flexible working and the amount of it available. So offering it is sure to give you a competitive advantage in the search for talent.

    Get in touch

    Go-Legal can and will help you with anything discussed in this blog – or on any other topic of course.

    We can give support with writing flexible working policies, recruitment and more.  So don’t wait – get in touch. You’ll find all our contact details on our website here. 

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