Preparing for the Resignation Boom
Nobody likes uncertainty, and with the pandemic causing people to cling onto the stability of their role (and finances), there’s now going to be a hangover effect with a lot of pent up resignations which didn’t happen last year.
If you’re sat there with your head planted firmly in the sand, convinced you’ll escape the resignation spike that’s going to bulldoze its way through many businesses, then grab that bucket and spade. If, like us, you’re sat up ready to brace the storm, have a contingency in place and stand by your core values – and that those who are truly aligned will stay – then kudos.
The problem companies are going to be faced with is that as we see a steady return to work, there will be a significant increase in the number of resignations. You’d be mistaken for thinking that the employee who was on the fence prior to COVID is any more inclined to stay, especially now that they have more options with the world reopening.
So what can you do about it?
It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot, but it’s true — prepare to plan; prepare to fail. Do you really want half of your workforce dropping off? No, I didn't think so. You need to make a plan of what your return to work is going to look like for the team, how you’re going to implement this, and how to manage damage control. Very few businesses are going to please everyone, but tackling the majority is key. What steps could you take to encourage people to stay? What are the real reasons they’d be looking to leave? What can you do about it — or should I say, what do you want to do about it? However you go about it, addressing these questions early on will help you to map out your strategy.
2. What aren’t you doing
If you’re all of a sudden seeing an influx of apologies hit your inbox or resignations land on your desk, you’ve got to take a hard look in the mirror and question whether it’s not them, it’s you. Does the leadership team really understand the new-found needs of its staff – more family time, flexibility, commuting, balance – brought about by the pandemic? If you’re insisting on a full-time return to work and a handful of your top earners drop off, you might need to re-evaluate.
At 9am we’ve had to revisit our own way of working, catering to the ‘new norm’ and striking that fine balance between our team’s needs and simply getting the job done. We make sure the team feel super supported throughout their return to work and encourage an open dialogue where every voice is heard.
On the flip side, you might find yourself asking too much of your employees. Has COVID meant that you’ve had to make some cut backs and can’t afford to offer that exec the promotion they’d been selling their soul for? Get to the root of the problem and determine whether it can be fixed before you lose out.
3. Get feedback
This is so important — miss this step and miss out. If employees are going to quit, wouldn’t it be good to take this as a learning curve? Asking for feedback – however brutally honest it may be – will help you to understand the employee’s mindset but also help you to recognise your shortcomings. Remember that the introverts among us might not feel comfortable with listing out the finer details. So how can you generate feedback without the other party feeling awkward? An anonymous survey as part of their offboarding – or even a good ol’ fashioned suggestion box – would do the trick.
4. Recognise the risk takers
While I’m sure the majority will be resigning for legitimate reasons, aka they actually have a better offer, not everyone will be quite so genuine. Sadly in the world of work where many businesses are solely built on the self-fulfilling prophecy of reward=work, there will be some team members looking to capitalise on the resignation boom by chancing their luck in a bid to scare their employers into a pay rise — because god forbid they wouldn't risk losing anyone else. Before you dish out the dollar and reveal your desperation, do your research. Ask questions. Don’t panic until it’s legit.
5. Beware the boomerang employee
It’s not uncommon for an employee to leave, only to return a while later when that project/book/side hustle didn’t pan out and they miss the safety net of their old, reliable job. For the boomerang employees who are worth taking back, make sure you’re ending things on positive terms.