HR Leadership, HR Insights and News

22nd November 2021

Battling the Great Resignation with Candidate and Employee Care

Written by Caleb Baker

According to several surveys, millions of employees all over the globe are planning to leave their jobs in the coming months. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed poor management and engagement practices among organisations that led to a talent exodus, and many are afraid that it will keep going.

Organisations and business leaders are now throwing a lot of money at the problem to avoid, or at least delay, what is being labelled the "Great Resignation." Executives are going back to the drawing board to develop strategies to retain their top employees or attract new top employees. Is it possible that the answer is in front of us all along? It is. Authentic, impactful, and proactive employee experience starting from the candidate stage until the establishment of career transparency could, in fact, be the answer to avoiding staff resignations.

The Great Resignation

Although expected, it is still hard to accept that we are seeing yet another wave of the great resignation all over the globe. In the United States, the nationwide resignation rate went up to 3% in September. Roughly 4.4 million people quit their jobs in that month alone, a record high number. According to a worker survey by Prudential Financial, 1 in 4 employees in the US are planning to change jobs once the pandemic slows down. In the UK, another research by Personio reported that 4 out of 10 employees in the UK and Ireland are planning to find new roles in the next 6 to 12 months. That would cost businesses over £17 billion. In Australia, nearly 25% of the workforce are considering looking for new opportunities as per Digital Finance Analytics.

In other countries, especially in Asia, employees are keener to take on freelance opportunities that would give them work flexibility and higher salaries. More jobs are indeed being generated, but filling jobs is only the starting point of the global talent challenge.

Why are employees resigning?

The Why? for the great resignation is the important thing to focus on. Why are they resigning? Then, what can employers do to retain their employees? There is no one answer to these questions. After reading reports, among the main reasons employees resign, other than in search of better opportunities, are:

  • No work flexibility
  • Poor or worsening work-life balance
  • Poor working conditions
  • Fear of contracting Covid-19
  • Lack of job security and growth
  • Burnout in the workplace due to toxic culture and disengaging managers
  • Reduction in employee benefits

It strongly suggests employees are fed up with having to compromise with such low standards when they know they deserve far better. As the great resignation unfolds, it will cost billions, and the world of work will be disrupted in a way we don’t want. So, how exactly do we counter it and hopefully beat it out?

Candidate care the right way

Job candidates these days are asking more complex questions and are more mindful of what they are looking for from a potential employer. But, for Philip Divilly, Managing Director of recruitment firm Quay Appointments, one of Will International’s member companies, poor candidate care or experience “derails the value that candidates should be receiving.” For Phil, an efficient and empathetic candidate experience should be part of every organisation’s business DNA. “It has always been important, but now, it is crucial to provide better candidate care or organisations risk losing top candidates. Nowadays, candidates will vote very quickly with their feet and share their unpleasant experiences along the way,” Philip says.

Quay Appointments is known for their efficient candidate care. From 2020 to early 2021, the company maintained a candidate feedback score of 94+ and was accredited as a Candidate Experience Expert/s by Recruiter Insider. The company was also among the 2021 finalists for RCSA Industry Awards – Excellence in Candidate Care.

For Phil and the Quay team, candidate care is a great foundation to build a strong company culture that attracts and retains top talent, especially when technology integration is well-executed.

"With proper planning and utilising technology, you can enhance the candidate experience by simply acknowledging every application in real-time, sharing updates on the job or links to other suitable jobs. These touchpoints can be automated, which can create value for the candidate. Technology is here to assist the recruitment process so we can free up more time to give the value of the human touch in the recruitment process." Philip Divilly

Philip Divilly, Managing Director, Quay Appointments

The recruitment stage is a great vantage point to hear and learn what candidates are looking for in an employer. Believe me when I say that most of them are not ready to compromise and that organisations better meet their demands or be at a serious disadvantage.

Philip Divilly, Managing Director of Quay Appointments

Employee care inside and outside of the office

Employee care should positively impact an employee’s life inside and outside the office.

A good example is what u&u. Recruitment Partners, also a Will member company, recently did for their employees. Last October, the company announced that they would be paying the superannuation of employees on maternity leave in full. Craig Sneesby, Managing Director of u&u, was deeply concerned about the superannuation gender gap resulting in female workers retiring with just over half the super savings of men or some with no super at all.

"In many Aussie families, women remain the primary carers which means they spend far more time out of the workforce than men and are more likely to return to work part-time. We're super sick of this super gap. We're committed to doing what we can to support our u&u crew at every stage of their lives."

Craig Sneesby, Managing Director, u&u. Recruitment Partners

According to a report by Industry SuperFunds, on average, female workers in Australia currently retire with $67,000 less than male workers. “Several generations of working women now remain significantly behind in their retirement savings because the pay gap has persisted so long,” the report reads.

u&u’s initiative is a big step forward in closing that super gap that has affected millions of female Aussie employees for decades. The company went the extra mile to provide vouchers to employees they can use to buy baby items and essentials.

Other than better benefits, employees also react positively with:

  • Shared values between employees and employers.
  • Work flexibility to help employees improve their work-life balance and to assess what factors engage and disengage them when working.
  • Career mobility and transparency to help employees get a strong sense of how they can grow as professionals and how their organisations will support them throughout their journey. Reskilling and upskilling programs align with this.
  • Redefined methods of measuring workforce productivity that employees can align with and encourage them to take ownership of their work.
  • Better health and mental health benefits to support employees establish a healthier lifestyle in and out of the office.

Giants in different industries are incorporating these ideas into their business DNA. Why? Is it because millions of people have their eyes on them and they are feeling pressured? Maybe they are complying with evolving human capital and sustainability rulings? No matter their reason, everything should be based on the reason – because it’s the right thing to do for employees.

Craig Sneesby, Managing Director of u&u. Recruitment Partners with Nicola Ballinger, Administration Manager and the first u&u employee to benefit from the company's new maternity leave policy

Great Resignation or Great Revitalisation

All the talk surrounding the great resignation drove employers to be on the defensive. No one can predict the future and new developments surrounding the great resignation might present themselves. It is increasingly more important for organisations to think of ways to better the lives of their employees, which will then help them retain said employees and attract more.

Here at Will International, we see to it that what we want to achieve for our clients, is something we have in place for the sake of our own employees. For business leaders and employers out there, ask yourself this question, “how can I better take care of my candidates and employees?”

Written by Caleb Baker

Caleb Baker (Cal) joined Will in Oct 2019 as Managing Director - Strategic Growth, Technology and Talent Solutions. Cal leads the growth agenda focussing on the design of Will’s products and services strategy across the group. Caleb is passionate about building group wide capability to deliver progressive talent solutions through innovative service designs and the adoption of leading HR technology.

Recent articles