The Great Resignation or The Great Awakening?

The relationship with work is changing. Is it a change for the better or for worse?

In the United States, a record 4.4 million employees voluntarily left their jobs in September alone. According to Gallup research, 48% of employees are actively looking to make a change, and according to Personio research, nearly 1 in 4 will do so in the next six months.

This ‘Great Resignation,’ a phenomenon created in the wake of the pandemic, is catching the attention of business leaders. In a recent survey of 117 CEOs conducted by Fortune and Deloitte, 73% said a skills shortage is the most likely external issue to disrupt their business in the next 12 months. In that same survey, 57% of CEOs said attracting and recruiting talent is among their organization’s biggest challenges, followed by 51% who said one of their biggest challenges is retaining talent.  

What is fueling the ‘Great Resignation’ trend?

It is no secret that many employees across all industries consistently reported experiencing emotional burnout during the pandemic. After working from home during the pandemic, many realized that commuting to an office had lost its appeal. And still, others were able to use this time to update their skills and find better job opportunities.

While all of that is true, perhaps what is really behind the ‘Great Resignation’ is a collective shift of mindset fuelled by the pandemic, one in which many have re-evaluated the very idea of what it means to work. The pandemic led millions worldwide to a desire for more meaningful, more impactful, and purpose-driven work.

Perhaps, rather than calling this moment the ‘Great Resignation,’ it might be more accurate to call it the ‘Great Awakening,’ a very valuable lesson on how to embrace adversity and turn it to an advantage. Business leaders can adopt this mentality, welcoming this mindset shift and clearly creating meaning in their employees’ work.

How to attract (and retain) talent during the ‘Great Resignation’?

Organisations are already fighting to recruit new talent. Now they also have to work hard to retain their current employees. And it takes more than an attractive remuneration proposition as the modern workforce looks for great development opportunities, more flexibility, and corporate responsibility.

ABN Resource has compiled some expert tips to help you attract and retain top-notch talent.

1. Build the culture that helps to keep the brand promise

To succeed in the turbulent post-pandemic business environment, organisations must focus on having the right people, processes, and tools to run and grow. All these elements make up a company culture, one of the most important things a candidate considers when seeking a new job. For candidates, it reveals what kind of behaviour is valued, how management interacts with employees and employees with clients. A positive culture is a vital recruitment tool that can attract more and better talent to a firm. It is also a key to retaining the talent a business already has.

2. Emphasise corporate responsibility

There is a lot of competition between employers for the best workers. Prospect candidates will look at the entire package, including corporate responsibility, increasingly this means a commitment to the environmental impact or a commitment to serving their community. Corporate responsibility programs offer a way for employees to feel good about themselves and their work. These programs also provide a way for employees to gain experience and develop new skills. 

3. Foster healthy D&I in the workplace

High salaries are no longer the primary motivator for professionals looking for jobs. While compensation and benefits have to be competitive, of greater importance is a compelling vision, aligned values, and a supportive company culture to become an employer of choice. 

It is proven that companies who actively hire diverse teams are more likely to attract and retain talent – something which we know is a pressing issue in the oil industry, with the ever-growing skills gap. This is another reason to include increased diversity efforts in the business strategy. However, improving the way companies identify, attract, and hire diverse workers does not happen automatically. It requires a conscious effort to reach out to a larger supply of quality candidates, removing the barriers to hiring and new ways of communication. 

Find more strategies in our exclusive Diversity & Inclusion report, here.

4. Cultivate a healthy workplace

Companies of all kinds can also attract and retain employees by creating an environment that fosters mental health and well-being. A healthy workplace proactively prevents burnout through policies that address a broad range of psychological needs, inspire employee connection, and provide flexibility. Working from home afforded employees flexible scheduling and a greater balance between personal and professional needs. 

The Gartner’s 2020 ReimagineHR Employee Survey showed that 55% of the workforce was more productive when they could choose when, where, and how much they worked during the week. Therefore, it makes sense to give your employees the freedom that captures everyone’s unique needs and preferences.

5. Introduce different hybrid working opportunities

According to Envoy report, more than half of employees would look for work elsewhere if required to return to the office five days a week. There seems to be a disconnect between what employees want versus what employers want. According to findings from a CNBC survey, about one-third of companies indicated they will opt for “in-person first” employment. Yet, more than half of workers surveyed want to work from home or want a hybrid arrangement. 

Some of the largest oil companies globally, including BP or Shell, are all contemplating and moving towards either long-term remote work or a hybrid approach. If the pandemic did one thing, it proved it could work. Flexibility leads to a sense of autonomy and control.

Flexible work environments are also more than a retention tool; they also increase the size of the talent pool. Hiring is no longer limited by geography. Allowing people to work remotely will mean leaders have to be more flexible in their approach and more intentional in building culture and teams. Still, those who can do this will have a competitive advantage in retaining and attracting top talent.

6. Be open to less experienced candidates

Less experienced individuals brought on board to meet the current, and the future needs of your company may be a great option. Coaching and training may take time, but the capacity for learning new skills, the hunger to succeed, and the attitude can rapidly make up for a lack of experience. With the right coaching and development, new employees can grow into the position – helping you build your workforce the right way and with the right people. The challenge is understanding the individual’s capabilities, aptitude for doing the job, and adaptability. 

At ABN Resource, we use extensive behavioural, psychometric, and aptitude assessments to help determine if employees are likely to excel in a role. The evaluation helps organizations determine if a potential candidate has the propensity to do the job even if they don’t have specific experience in a similar position.

Hiring with less experience is not necessarily less costly since you must train them, but when the skilled workforce is short, this strategy can become a competitive advantage. 

Challenge is Opportunity

During the ‘Great Resignation,’ or the Great Awakening, the workforce has evolved into one in which workers value organisations that offer three specific things: meaningful work, opportunities to make an impact, and environments that foster well-being. Many organisations have already incorporated these in the employee value proposition, and many more are working toward doing so. Business leaders who ultimately are not able to meet this moment, are at a risk to lose a skilled workforce.