How to Navigate “The Great Resignation”
It has been nearly two years since the word “COVID” became part of our daily vocabulary, and businesses are still dealing with economic aftershocks that are projected to continue – and evolve – well into 2022.
You’ve probably heard the stats. 4.4 million American resigned from their jobs in September 2021 alone – a record high since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that represents 3% of the labour force in the US. In the same month, UK resignations hit 391,000, the highest rate in 20 years.
In Australia, the numbers haven’t been as startling. However anecdotally, the rumblings of staff shortages and movement are just starting. And let’s face it, it is not uncommon for economic trends to hit our shores three to six months after they affect our American and UK counterparts.
Through our own business experience, and in everyday conversations with business owners, we are hearing common themes. Unemployment is low but resignation is at an all-time high. Many businesses are facing record growth, but reduced migration, a skilled worker shortage, and staff turnover are impacting how businesses respond to increasing demand. We also know some businesses will be impacted by upcoming vaccination mandates.
At The Macro Group, we have come up with a few strategies that are preparing us to evolve as a resilient and thriving business in the face of a volatile employment market.
Here are some of the ways we can all succeed in the coming year (and beyond):
- Make sure you have the right people
Without the right staff, you cannot run a successful business. This was true before the pandemic, but it’s even more important to re-enforce this message now. Take time to take stock of your workforce and identify your essential staff. Ask yourself:
- Who are the key people that keep my organisation afloat?
- Who is aligned with our vision & business objectives?
- Who brings unique or valued skills to the organisation?
Ideally, everyone in your organisation falls into the above categories. If they do not, this is the time to distil your organisation down to those individuals who are going to help steer your ship forward.
It is also worth considering if you can use increased staff movements to your advantage. This is a unique opportunity to attract new employees who are looking for a change.
- Invest in your people
Once you have identified that you have the right people, ensure your investment in them is well placed. It may be tempting to throw money at your staff in the hopes of keeping them happy – and you certainly should be competitively compensating your staff – but it would be remiss of your organisation to view this as a cure-all solution. It’s time to consider how to invest in your people so they keep contributing to your business’ success.
Set up time to speak individually with your staff on a regular basis. If your organisation is larger, ensure your managers are regularly checking in with your team. Find out what matters most to your staff and find ways to create unique value in your business. This could look like:
- Creating personal and professional development opportunities
- Offering perks & benefits that matter to them
- Creating a culture of recognition & celebration
We recently conducted the Great Place to Work Trust Index survey amongst our team and are using this as a tool to identify where we are succeeding with our staff and what areas we can improve upon to ensure our staff are happy to come to work each day.
- Steady the ship
Creating a sense of stability is one of the most important things you can do in this economy. Your staff and clients need to feel security to move forward, and there are many ways to achieve this:
- Communication & Transparency – it’s key to stay open and communicative with both clients and staff about the good, the bad, and most importantly, your plans for the future (even if they are evolving).
- Simplify – Assess your workflow and identify which areas of your business generate the most value. Simplify your workload and put your energy on the areas of your business that will keep you steady. This is a fancier way of saying work smarter, not harder, or less is more.
- Planning – Map out realistic objectives for your business over the next year and how you can best achieve them. Remember that dreaming big is important, but so is staying grounded about how to get there.
- Update your forecast. Then maybe do it again.
The plans you had for your business one year ago, or even two months ago may no longer be relevant if you’ve been affected by unexpected staff shortages, changing client or consumer demands, or financial complications.
We are here to say it’s okay to re-forecast. In fact, it’s elemental to your business’ survival. If your forecast is heavily dependent on hiring a large number of skilled workers to implement business objectives, but recruitment in your industry is difficult, then it’s time to re-visit your strategy and forecast.
- Ensure your technology is up to scratch
In the spirit of preparing for the unexpected, it’s important to address your technology before it becomes an issue. Investing in your technology will help you create efficiencies in your workflow and potentially deal with staff shortages. However, it is important to note that a lack of skilled IT staff is creating long wait times for support, so plan ahead.
Here at Macro, we use Monday to manage or workflow, gauge team productivity, and keep track of individual and business goals. Think outside of the box, do your research, and find out how you can make technology work for you.
- Re-visit your values
Have you identified your business values? And how many of you actively live them?
Forrester research suggests that the common denominator of companies that deliver sustained high-performance over decades is that they are values-based organisations. Your values must be strong enough to create a common thread amongst your employees and create purpose beyond profit.
If you find you have lost touch with your company values, it’s time to re-visit them and make sure they are a part of everything you do. Talk about your values daily, ensure all your staff are aligned with your values, and ensure you hold yourself accountable to them.
All of our businesses are a continuous work in progress, but if we slow down to take stock of the above, we have a unique opportunity to ride out economic storms and create value for our staff and clients for years to come. We are here to help you find solutions to your most pressing financial concerns and help sustain or grow your business, so please reach out at any time.