‘The Great Resignation’. It’s the post-pandemic workplace movement that has hit the USA and is predicted to hit Australian shores in 2022. One thing that the pandemic has done is change the dynamic of the employer/employee relationship. With over 90% of the workforce working from home during the pandemic, almost every employee has had to juggle working from home alongside things such as homeschooling, working around the kitchen table in a houseshare, or fighting over bandwidth for zoom meetings. All these added pressures on employers during the last 18 months have led to an increase in people considering the three R’s. RESIGNATION, RESETTING their career, and RETIREMENT.
So, what do employers need to consider in 2022 that will attract and retain people to sustainably navigate the post-pandemic era?
A desire for greater work/life balance. We are seeing mass migration to places previously considered “destination holidays”. Rental prices on the sunshine coast have increased $100 for houses and $75 for units in the past 12 months according to Domain.com.au. A lack of empathy by some employers throughout the last 18 months and no flexibility with working from home along with a lack of reward, recognition, and opportunities are all factoring into employees considering their career plans in 2022.
According to Beyond Blue, 3 million Australians are living with anxiety and depression in Australia in 2021. Research shows that high levels of mental health are associated with increased learning, creativity, and productivity, more pro-social behaviour, positive social relationships, and improved physical health and life expectancy. Putting the duty of care factor aside for a moment, employers that provide an environment that is safe and supportive to their staff will reap the benefits of a healthier, happier, and more productive working environment which will, in turn, deliver better profits for shareholders. Employers that provide greater benefits to staff surrounding health and well being will see them at the top of the list for employee engagement and attraction.
After the last 18 months, employees are seeking environments that offer security and stability. The employment market has gone from the great hesitation of 2021 to what will be the great resignation of 2022. We are seeing organisations offer greater security to new employees which include longer notice periods for both parties even during probation. Volatile managers and business owners create chaos amongst employees and are a sure-fire way to see your turnover increase at a rapid rate.
With the handbrake applied to salary increases for several years, we anticipate this to change with the skills shortage looming across most sectors, leaving businesses no option but to increase salaries and benefits for staff. Offering CPI increases to existing staff when they can get anywhere up to a 40% increase on their existing salary will prove challenging for businesses with tight margins.
The culture of businesses will see them thrive or slowly whittle away in the post-pandemic era, and how can you maintain a great culture when everybody is working remotely. Businesses need to get smart about how they utilise their office space to make it more of a collaboration zone that ensures it has the right level of energy when people are there.
The great resignation wave is coming in 2022, the question you need to ask yourself in surfing terms is, do you go left or right?