the great resignation

Staffing in a Post-Covid World

When covid hit, the entire world was sent into disarray. It changed everything we know about life, socialising, health, travel, work, and all other major parts of our lives. The whole world had to adjust, and quickly! But what we thought were just temporary modifications until we flattened the curve turned into years of compromise. While for the most part, these changes have been exceptionally trying, there is a lot of good that has come from it. People have learned far more about themselves in a short amount of time. Finally finding the space to reflect, enjoy their hobbies and reassess what is most important to them. 

These are not just temporary changes apparent while the covid impact still lingers. These are long term mentality shifts, and they are not going anywhere. The impacts of Covid have hit the Australian workforce hard. Without the ability to travel across countries and borders, the amount of skilled and talented workers has been heavily restricted. This has impacted all areas of the workforce. From not having anyone to pick fruit for our farmers, all the way through to lacking scientists and engineers to help us rebuild and progress. With resources being leaner and businesses having to cut costs in uncertain times, they no longer have the ability to invest in growing new talent if they want to keep operating at the same level. This has shifted the power balance in recruitment in a way that has been unseen in decades.

The Great Resignation

After seeing so many people losing their jobs when Covid first hit, it’s surprising to see that Covid has also sparked The Great Resignation. But when you look into it clearly, it’s easy to see how this has become a worldwide phenomenon. Thanks to covid, the style of work changed drastically overnight with people needing to work from home. This turned out to be greatly beneficial to both employers and employees. Productivity rose and without commute times, people had more time to spend with their loved ones, saved money on commuting, and started doing more of the things they enjoy outside of work. But now things are returning to normal, this is where employers need to make their shift.

We’ve seen it first hit in countries that started to open up before Australia. And now that we are starting to return to our workplaces, The Great Resignation has finally hit Australian shores. A recent survey has shown that over 50% of Australian workers would stay at their current workplace if recent remote working policies remained permanent. It also shows that 77% of the full-time workers involved in the survey believe that it is important for employers to allow them to live anywhere when searching for a new role.

With skilled professionals in short supply, employers have had to increase their value to attract the small pool of talent they have to work with. The talented workers now have their pick of the top jobs, with working conditions that suit their lifestyle. If that isn’t with their current employer, in today’s climate, it isn’t hard for them to find someone who offers them better conditions as well as better salaries.

How Employers can avoid The Great Resignation

As much as the world loves to blame millennials for anything that shakes up the status quo, it’s not just the millennials that are resigning. It is across all age groups and genders, as well as all industries. Whether it is because Covid has encouraged many people to adopt the “life’s short” mentality, or because they are feeling undervalued in their position, the shift is happening. But it’s not all bad news for employers. There are lots of things they can do to either negate it or embrace it, and start their business thriving once more. Those resisting to let go of the ‘old ways’ of working are the ones who are going to struggle. Those who are embracing it are finding new levels of productivity and inspiration from highly motivated and happy staff.

1.    Understand the why

People aren’t generally honest when it comes to telling their employer why they are resigning. They aren’t going to tell you that they find the environment toxic, that they don’t enjoy the work, that they feel undervalued, that they know you are underpaying them, that they don’t like commuting when they can do the same job (sometimes even better) from the comfort of their homes. They’re going to give generic responses. Like “I’ve found something that helps progress my career”, “I’m taking time to focus on myself”, or “I feel like it’s time for a change”.

But the fact of the matter is, no matter which way your turn it, they want something better and started looking elsewhere. And whether that is because something changed in their current position, or because nothing changed, they are leaving. So as an employer, you need to assess your team and understand that everyone is different and desires different working routines. It’s often not worth having to find and onboard new talent, as well as run the risk of others feeling the same as the person who has just resigned. Increasing salary is a common, yet unstable and unsustainable way to retain staff. But improving the conditions and benefits your staff get can help you retain your staff as well as save your budget. This is your first step in avoiding The Great Resignation.

2.    Employee Value Proposition

Your Employee Value Proposition needs to be the same to both attract talented staff, as well as retain the talent you already have. This is not just about salary. In fact, many people are willing to take a lower salary for better conditions. But what do better conditions mean? Mostly, this is flexibility. Flexibility in hours, as well as working location. If it is not going to impact your business operations, there should be no reason that employees can’t work on their preferred timeframes, or from whichever location they prefer.

You may find that you lose talented staff, or can’t attract the right staff due to commute times and costs, as well as impacts on their work-life balance if you just want to see people in seats. Lack of trust in people to work from home contributes to their feelings of being undervalued. Employers have seen firsthand how productive their team can be from their homes. So to have a good Employee Value Proposition, the choice must belong to the employee.

3.    Salary Transparency

Once upon a time in a pre-covid world when recruitment was a buyer’s game, employers liked to withhold the salary band when advertising for a new position. This was mainly for negotiating power and not wanting their current employees to benchmark themselves against advertised positions. But now with the shortage of talent and The Great Resignation edging ever nearer, this only impacts negatively on employers.

For recruiting new talent, many won’t even bother applying if they don’t see salary transparency and the exact conditions they would be employed. This means that you could be missing out on the perfect addition to your team due to withholding the salary associated with the position. You could also be wasting a lot of valuable time in recruiting if you and your potential employee are not in the same ballpark. Remember that talent is getting snapped up very quickly due to shortages, so you need to do everything you can to speed up the process and attract the right people.

For current staff, their feelings of being undervalued and underpaid can be simply erased with company salary transparency. Most people believe that the same position should attract the same salary, or have clear criteria on what attracts an increase in salary to understand why their colleagues earn more. For those with performance-based positions, their base salary should be the same and bonus tiers consistent across all employees in the same position. This transparent approach removes issues of gender pay gap concerns, and restores faith in employees that the people they are working for are honest and ethical.

So what now?

Firstly, don’t go implementing any knee-jerk reactions. Instability within a business and erratic decisions are not going to help. But you do need to act quickly, as The Great Resignation is coming, and it’s coming fast. The first step is to take an honest look at how you operate, and if your conditions are fair amongst your employees. Then, you need to speak with a HR or Recruitment expert that has in-depth knowledge of what is happening throughout the workforce in Australia, and what new and existing talent is looking for regarding job satisfaction. These expert teams can help you analyse what you can do to improve your Employee Value Proposition and find the right path to suit your business.

Local Buy has three different Arrangements that have saved councils millions of dollars and can help you with making the right decisions for your business. Human Resources & Employee Services BUS278Recruitment Services – Permanent Staff LB297, and Recruitment Managed Services – Temporary Staff BUS259 (A) have all been established by councils and for councils with deep insights into local government resources. If you are interested in learning more about how these services can help you keep ahead of The Great Resignation and retain your skilled staff, please reach out to Sue McCaughey on 07 3155 4119, 0428 329 860, or via email at 

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