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The Great Resignation or The Great Reshuffle?

2021 ushered in the ringing of the term “The Great Resignation”, as we witnessed record levels of resignations and career changes across the globe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly during the last quarter of the year, with the US reporting nearly 3% of the workforce resigning in the month of October alone[1] and job vacancies soaring to over one million for the first time in the UK[2]. The term itself creates a sense of fear for businesses post a period of decline or stagnation with many now trying to regain market share and switch back to growth mode. However, the truth is that it isn’t as ominous and negative as it seems. Throughout 2020 and in the first half of 2021, the jobs market was cautious and tentative. In the face of furlough, candidates were reluctant to move from what they perceived to be secure jobs, regardless of job satisfaction. Added to this are the reassessment of work/life balance, career, and time available to turn hobbies into a side hustle that was born out of the global pandemic. While this means an exciting opportunity for individuals, there is a knock-on effect for businesses – however, while it might feel like you are trying to fill up a leaky tank, it isn’t all doom and gloom.

An Era of Innovation

Quite often we can spot unhappiness prior to someone leaving a business, with the feeling of discontent infiltrating a team before spreading to the wider business. While it can be difficult to let good talent go, ultimately, it’s better for them and it’s better for your business and it leaves you with opportunity. Resignation rates are currently highest amongst the mid-senior level[3], meaning there are large volumes of qualified candidates in the market looking for their next venture, who display a wide range of skills and several years’ experience under their belts. These are the individuals who are looking to step into leading positions and drive businesses forward. Their fresh mindsets, perspectives, and prior experiences will bring insights and innovation to businesses, allowing you to pivot if the current team structure isn’t working or ideas to evolve what you already have. These resignations also allow you to address diversity within existing teams. Introducing new recruits to a business creates the opportunity to develop diverse teams and individuals, and we know this has the ability to increase innovation and creation. Albeit training new employees requires time and resources, the positives bring longer-term benefits. Granted, losing key members of your team can be daunting but if we’ve learned anything as we (hopefully) near the end of the pandemic, the current workforce is resilient, capable to adapt to new situations, and can thrive in adversity.

A four-day working week in the UK here to stay?

With competition for talent remaining at an all-time high, attraction and attrition have never been such a complex process for businesses. A recent survey of ours asked participants what their biggest consideration is when moving role and unsurprisingly, salary and benefits came out on top with 47%, followed by 28% selecting business culture, and 23% choosing hybrid working. The results of this highlight the financial insecurity and increase in the cost of living we have seen since early 2020 and an increase in competition for top talent with companies making offers well and above market rate to secure talent. However, while a top salary might help you in the offer stage, culture and flexible working will surely help you with retention. After working from home for long durations of time and not having access to that much needed human interaction, a positive business culture has never been more important to employees. Businesses need to think beyond the basics and create an environment their employees can build personal connections, be it virtually, through social evenings, or team incentives and activities that go beyond the realms of a traditional office setting. Remote/hybrid working is no longer seen as a 'nice to have', but now an expectation. The UK jobs market has shifted univocally, entering an era of individual choice, but also the balance of scale tipping to the side of life, rather than work. The dramatic shift forced by the mandated work from home order in March 2020 means organisations are better equipped to navigate the practicalities of a technology enabled, hybrid working environment. Looking beyond hybrid working, we are now seeing businesses trialling four day working weeks in a bid to increase productivity but also to increase staff retention and tackle mental health issues and corporate burnout[4]. For Atom Bank, their trial of the four-day working week has led to a 500 percent surge in job and an increase in satisfaction with 86% of staff now looking forward to going to work each day, up from 77% [5]. While this is one-way companies are looking to innovate with their workforce, what is clear is the opportunity available to businesses who want to see it as such. Losing staff might seem daunting but for companies who want to introduce new hiring strategies and build a team that will enable their long-term growth, there has never been a better time. If you’re looking to not only grow your team but understand how best to retain your top talent, we’re here to help - get in touch today.

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