Avoiding ‘the Great Resignation’ – retaining staff the low-cost, high-value way

Human Resources 2nd February 2022

One surprising consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the phenomenon known as The Great Resignation. It’s an occurrence that’s been especially strong in the United States. Staff, disenchanted by employers’ or government’s inadequate response to the pandemic, have simply left their posts. Fortunately, there are few signs of the same phenomenon occurring here in the UK … until now.

However, the number of job vacancies in the United Kingdom has recently been breaking all kinds of records. In the three months to December 2021, vacancies reached a record high of almost 1.25 million – around 658 thousand more vacancies when compared with the same period in 2020.

Replacing staff – costly, demoralising and time-consuming

Clearly, many companies are struggling to retain and recruit staff – an alarming trend that’s both inconvenient and costly. It isn’t only the expense of recruitment that’s the issue here. The process of bringing in temporary staff, piling pressure on colleagues by asking them to fulfil unfamiliar roles on top of their current roles, as well as onboarding – these can be demoralising, time-consuming and expensive.

The question is – how can organisations maintain the morale of their people other than with costly wage increases or incentive schemes? The good news is that, with a little imagination and original thinking, there are ways to increase staff retention without spending a fortune.

Employees need to feel valued

One of the most common reasons for which employees leave a company is that they don’t feel valued. Surprisingly, this sense of value isn’t always to do with how much they’re paid. To feel they’re valued, people need to feel ‘engaged’.

Many employees feel little or no relationship between their day-to-day work and their employer’s goals. Is it any surprise that disengagement and employee turnover are on the increase? When employees can’t see the impact that they have on a business, it reduces any sense of purpose and productivity. Try re-imagining your goal-setting processes.

Communication is a vital part of goal-setting. It’s all very well to establish clear organisational goals, but for your people to feel engaged and genuinely valued, you need to ensure that these goals are regularly reinforced and communicated. People are much more likely to feel loyalty towards your company when they understand the common goal and their role in achieving it. Involve your people in the process and they will become engaged.

Retaining loyalty through ‘leave‘ arrangements

Whereas employees, out of necessity, value their salaries. Surveys repeatedly show that they also regard non-material factors as important, the chief of these being their leave entitlement. An appreciation of the value of work-life balance is a key hr trend for 2022. By giving your people more time off, you will often be rewarded with a much-enhanced sense of loyalty and application.

Carefully managed, increasing the leave you offer your employees can be virtually ‘cost neutral’. It also increases motivation and can reduce absenteeism; and presenteeism. Here are four ways to implement the idea:

1. Give extra entitlement based on service, for example, an extra day per year for each year served, up to a maximum level. This way, you’re rewarding both loyalty and longevity, holding on to vital experience.

2. A day off for a birthday. This could be offered either on the day itself or on the Friday or Monday closest to the birthday, to enable the staff member to enjoy a long weekend.

3. Duvet days – to be offered (maybe twice a year) when staff just don’t feel up to coming into work. By making this gesture, you’ll be demonstrating that you value the importance of mental health at work.

4. One way to increase the feeling of ‘value‘ is to link this extra leave entitlement to productivity. When targets have been reached or exceeded, rewarding your people with time off is a remarkably effective way of building loyalty.

Expert advice on employee retention

Are you doing all you can to keep your employees? Are too many of them leaving? Save yourself the cost of recruitment. Work harder at keeping your people happily engaged. Here at Gravitas HR, we’ll support you with your employee retention strategy.

For straight-talking HR advice – 01604 763494

Or email – info@GravitasHR.co.uk

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