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How to prepare your business for the great resignation

How to prepare your business for the great resignation

​With much of the world now free from COVID restrictions (or very close to it), the focus has turned to what is set to be the next big challenge for businesses - "the great resignation". The predictions that millions of workers across the world will leave their jobs in the next several months seem to be legitimate, with clear evidence it's already begun in some countries. And it could mean significant problems for employers.

We can't tell the future - we don't know when resignations will hit, or to what extent. But what we can safely say is that the pandemic has had a massive impact on the way we work and has changed how we view our jobs. It's no surprise that many people might refuse to go back to the way things were, preferring instead to move on.

This means many businesses will have to make some changes, or risk being left behind. Luckily, we've been given a chance to prepare for this. We can keep an eye on what's happening in countries ahead of us and learn from them before these issues hit our shores.

Can you stop employees before they leave?

They say the best offence is a good defence. If you can stop employees wanting to leave in the first place, you won't have to worry about dealing with mass resignations and the fallout.

There's no harm in taking this approach, and it could prove to be a good one - depending on employees' reasons for leaving.

One of the realisations of the pandemic is that set hours or working environments aren't required for the successful operation of many businesses. This has changed ideas about what a good working environment is, and what valuable employee benefits are. It's become less about things that benefit work - bigger bonuses, 'cool' office amenities - and more about things that benefit lives - more flexibility, more leave.

As things go back to 'normal' post-pandemic, it can be expected that:

•Some staff will believe they are due pay increases, promotions or praise

•Demand for more flexible arrangements will increase

•There will be an unwillingness to keep working so much or so hard

This would be a great time for business leaders to consider their current setup, expectations, and structure. Think about 'the new way of working' and where and how you can adapt current processes to meet new expectations. You might find people more likely to stick around if the new work environment matches their new idea of what they want work to be.

Recruitment after resignation

Some people will have made up their minds and you can't change it. Whether they're wanting a sea or tree change, to spend more time with family, move overseas, or to follow a lifelong passion, some people won't be convinced to stay - no matter how flexible you can be.

This means some people will have to be replaced. Which means recruitment (potentially on a bigger scale than you're used to). While it's not an ideal situation for any business, there are a few key things you can do to prepare for this scenario:

Optimise your recruitment processes

Recruitment is an important and detailed process, but it doesn't have to be a long one. If you're trying to replace multiple positions, then it needs to be efficient and effective. Making sure your hiring processes are set up to ensure you can get the right people quickly (and your HR team can manage the challenge) will be vital.

Consider important roles and responsibilities

Is every role you have now completely necessary? If someone left, would it have a catastrophic impact on the business? The answer might be yes - but it might also be no. Consider which roles are the highest priority to replace and which ones could wait - or even be removed altogether.

Set clear expectations

Decide what you are going to offer incoming employees and what you expect from them. This includes normal things like pay and benefits, but also things like vaccination expectations.

Don't forget about remaining staff

Unless roles and responsibilities can be made redundant, then someone will have to pick up the slack in the gap between resignation and hire. Consider the burden on the remaining staff and prepare accordingly. This might mean organising temporary help or maybe offering a bonus or extra leave. Don't expect staff to voluntarily pick up extra work - or you might find even more leavers on your hands.

Don't go it alone

If you do find yourself in a spot where you expect multiple people to leave or want to change their working situation (for example, working fewer hours), then it can be incredibly useful to have some help recruiting replacements.

HR teams have been under enormous strain for 18 months. Add managing a return to work and multiple resignations to that and carrying out efficient recruitment becomes an impossible task to carry out in house.

BWS Recruitment has over 25 years of experience delivering the right candidate, long-term retention, and commercial value to every business we work with. Our recruitment specialists can help you achieve an effective and efficient hiring process - our record for filling a role is just two hours. Contact us for answers to all your recruitment questions or for support with your hiring process.

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