Industry analysis

Industry analysis

Is the great resignation affecting your firm?

Paul Foster, head of product management at sa.global, says firms must invest in systems that really help them to understand their people as an absolute priority

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One of the things that the early days of the pandemic gave us was time to think – in some cases too much time. Most people had the same monotonous routine. After your session with Joe Wicks and the banana loaf baking was safely done, what next? The hour’s exercise around parts of your neighbourhood you never knew existed still left plenty of time for thinking.

This forced hiatus in our lives was an extraordinary time of self-reflection, and we were not alone. No event in the history of mankind was shared with the same equality around the world.

Many people took the time to reflect on their lives, relationships, health and current jobs. It was always the current job that was going to be the easiest to change. And so, the wise people of the world predicted a ‘Great Resignation’. How accurate they were. Every business has experienced the phenomenon to some degree. Money was obviously one key motivator, but other real issues were just beneath the surface.

There is only so far a business can go to address the remuneration challenge, but there is huge scope to put practices in place to reduce the risk of talent leaving an organisation as a result of feeling unfulfilled, lacking a career path, or simply wanting to change something in their lives.

If firms are committed to investing in the people who will drive the organisation forward, they’ll need to have an approach to employee participation and development that really works

All organisations may only thrive if their greatest asset is happiness. It is a very simple statement to make. We all know that happy workers are productive workers. Nearly all senior leadership teams would like to believe that the troops are happy, but nobody wants to dig too deep, to ask the difficult questions, and perhaps truly find out what is going on inside the minds of their colleagues. Yet the pandemic has brought all of these challenges home to roost.

Employee satisfaction surveys certainly have a role to play, but the pandemic meant that we have all had to think long and hard about how we engage with our teams beyond the traditional annual all-expenses-paid Christmas party.

If firms are committed to investing in the people who will drive the organisation forward, they’ll need to have an approach to employee participation and development that really works.

Never before has appreciation of mental health been so at the forefront of our lives. Related can be how we feel about our roles. Are we respected? Do our achievements get recognised? Are we given enough challenges? What are the possible career paths? Are there opportunities outside of the current role? If there are, what’s the training plan in place?

Any organisation hoping to keep and grow their very best talent must have clearly defined processes to deal with all of this. It starts with the basics, such as:

• The standard job description

• Employee records with complete skills capabilities

• 360-degree reviews with line managers and peers

• Resource management practices to identify opportunities in the organisation

• A common system to record time, holidays and absences.

If organisations persist in having multiple solutions across their HR and resource management operations, then how can they possibly drive improvement?

Instead, what about an integrated platform that shares common data and allows senior management the opportunity to receive insight into the wellbeing of their employees? It’s all well and good getting data into a system, but what are you going to do with it once there?

Imagine a platform that provides early-warning signs around employees’ welfare – not enough holiday taken, persistent sickness record, utilisation rates constantly above 100%, failure to attend reviews, and so on. All can be individual signals that there is a problem, but on their own they might be missed.

What about an integrated platform that shares common data and allows senior management the opportunity to receive insight into the wellbeing of their employees?

If presented in a concise, reliable and consistent manner, this information can be used to work with an employee to improve their role and contribution to the business – and their satisfaction. The integrated platform would push alerts to line managers when certain thresholds are crossed in key areas. This could then prompt meetings with the employees to review the issue.

Not taking enough time off? Feeling pressured to work, with too much overtime required? The experience we have all gone through has shown us there are more important activities in life than work, with more striving to achieve a work-life balance. If employers have failed to grasp this over the last two years then nothing will change.

People have experienced a huge change in circumstances, working from home, working from anywhere, a better balance of work and family life. Admittedly not all of this is right for every employee, but worse is failing to recognise what people want, and missing the key signals that there are problems.

Organisations must move into our ‘new normal’ with an information-led way of making decisions about the people that should be their most important asset.

At sa.global we work with our legal clients to optimise ways of working using automation for routine tasks – creating slick, agile processes while improving efficiency, engagement and collaboration to connect and empower your teams with insight that also reliably guides and informs the business.

To learn more, visit: www.saglobal.com