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Is the ‘Great Resignation’ already here?

One in four small businesses is already experiencing higher than usual turnover ahead of the so-called “Great Resignation”, a new survey has revealed.

Business Grace Ormsby 01 December 2021
— 2 minute read

It’s led financial services firm Findex to express that the Great Resignation” is “no longer looming but very much here”.

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With Australia pivoting from an elimination strategy towards living alongside coronavirus, Findex’s survey has found staff retention is emerging as the top business concern for the year ahead.

Surveying more than 500 SMEs, Findex has revealed that more than one in two small businesses (53 per cent) hold concern about their ability to retain staff over the next 12 months.

All up, one-third of businesses – or 33 per cent – have reported a notable drop in employee satisfaction in just 12 months.

According to Findex, this drop in satisfaction could be stemming from an employer/employee disconnect.

Despite the popularity of remote and hybrid working models arising out of the pandemic, Findex found that 50 per cent of businesses have not consulted with their teams on their preferred working-from-home model – and do not have any plans to do so.

Alarmingly, it also found that almost two-thirds of employers want staff to return to the office for most of the working week despite acknowledging that they think only a third of staff will want to return to pre-COVID working arrangements.

According to Findex chief people officer Jane Betts, “it’s concerning that half of businesses haven’t consulted their teams on their preferred ‘return to the office’ approach”.

Especially in an environment of skill shortages, immigration restrictions and greater talent mobility, she acknowledged hiring as becoming increasingly challenging.

Therefore, she advised: “Businesses should be looking to do everything in their power to retain their current workforce.”

It’s especially important when it appears for Australia and New Zealand that “the Great Resignation is no longer looming, but very much here”.

According to Ms Betts, “it’s not too late for businesses to find a way forward that can satisfy the needs of clients, employers and employees alike”.

“The market is competitive but for the organisations prepared to change and adapt, they could be rewarded with the best of new talent and a modern business solution that is fit for purpose in the new working world order,” she explained.

But, “the first thing managers and leaders need to do is to tap into what their employees want, as it’s clear there’s a big disconnect”.

“What matters most to employees is very different in a post-COVID world, particularly when it comes to work-life balance and flexible working,” she emphasised.

“We know that for employees, almost nine in 10 (85 per cent) want to continue to work from home or retain flexible working practices. But our data shows employers want the opposite and for teams to return back to the office for most, if not all, of the working week.

“This disconnect is not sustainable.” 

Related: 

Is the ‘Great Resignation’ already here?
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Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan is the deputy head of content at Momentum Media and editor of the company's legal publication, Lawyers Weekly.

Emma has worked for Momentum Media since 2015 and has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest stories in corporate Australia. In addition, she has produced exclusive multimedia and event content related to the company's respective brands and audiences.

A journalist by training, Emma has spent her career connecting with key industry stakeholders across a variety of platforms, including online, podcast and radio. She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism).

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