How Workforce Training Can Help Employers Combat The ‘Great Resignation’
With UK job vacancies at an all-time high, experts are warning that we could be in the midst of a so-called ‘great resignation,’ whereby vast sections of the UK workforce are walking away from their jobs.
But are all UK companies at risk, and can businesses use things like training to keep employee retention steady and stop a stream of resignations? In this article, we’ll delve deeper into this phenomenon and explain what companies can do to keep their best talent.
What is the great resignation?
Around the world, various factors have caused millions of people to leave their jobs, sometimes even without another role lined up.
Across Europe, data collected by the OECD showed that there are 20 million fewer people in work than before the beginning of the pandemic, and 14 million of those are classified as ‘not working’ and ‘not looking for work.’
Meanwhile, in America, data from the US Department of Labor revealed that 4 million workers quit their jobs in August 2021.
Are UK businesses at risk?
UK businesses have already been feeling the impact. Although the UK’s current labour shortages aren’t just a result of employees’ leaving, data from BDO found that staff shortages were affecting over 500 UK firms, with some saying that the costs will have to be passed onto the consumer.
Elsewhere, a study from HR software firm Personio found that 38% of UK employees plan to quit their jobs within the next six months to a year.
This could put British businesses at risk of losing some of their best talent while struggling to find replacements quickly. Worse still, even just a few resignations could lead to a significant exodus of employees for individual companies. In an interview with the BBC, a management professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Will Felps, warned that employers could see a domino effect of droves of employees leaving one after another.
“So, in the current circumstances, if just a few people choose to leave an organisation, it is likely to prompt a number of other people to start seriously looking for other employment,” Felps said. “This can domino, causing a tsunami of people to quit over a short period of time. So, I’d expect a lot of turnover contagion to be happening at the moment.”
What steps can employees take to prevent resignations?
For employers who are keen to retain top talent, there are steps that they can take to ensure that retention stays at a high level. Although steps can be taken that are not related to in-work training, this approach can create multiple opportunities.
Have open discussions about pain points
Founder and CEO of City CV, Victoria McLean, pointed out that each employee’s mentality and approach to their role may have shifted due to the pandemic.
“We go to work to earn money, but actually there’s a lot more to it, and people are realising that now more than ever,” she said in an interview with The Independent.
“We want to feel fulfilled, be challenged, we want to develop and be in a role where we are thriving. When you thrive and are happy in a role, it can be really transformative, and you feel happier in every part of your life.”
Employers should get feedback from their staff in areas such as fulfilment, development, and progression within their role. You should have a solid understanding of what the average employee experience is like at your company, especially amongst your chief people and star employees. With companies returning to offices after such a long time working entirely online, it’s vital to check in with your employees.
Find out if they face any obstacles in their role or any aspect of their position that they struggle with that affects their happiness with you as their current employer. This will give you a clear idea of their day-to-day frustrations and insight into how you can solve these problems before they become more serious.
For example, an employee may feel that they’ve never had dedicated training in a particular area or have never been shown how to use a piece of software by a professional and have picked it up along the way. Gaps in knowledge like this can hinder their productivity and lead to greater stress in their role, as they don’t have the exact knowledge they need to get tasks done efficiently.
Ask them honest questions about where they’re feeling unfulfilled in the role. Often, workforce training can offer up opportunities for them to explore a new area of their role or take on different responsibilities. Rather than waiting till an exit interview to find this information out, be proactive and mitigate any pain points before they become serious problems.
Put greater focus on progression
In general, keeping employees on a clearly set out path of progression and career development is an excellent way to keep them motivated, engaged, and eager to stay with your company, reducing turnover rates in the process. A study from LinkedIn found that 93% of employees said that they would be more likely to stay at a company that offers sufficient development opportunities. Large companies can see the value of investment in training, as 70% of Fortune 500 companies have dedicated mentoring programmes for each employee.
Although younger Gen Z and millennial workers are often credited as driving trends in the future of work, a study from Visier surveyed over 10,000 companies and found that it was actually experienced, older employees who were leaving at higher rates. They found that the rate of employees with five to ten years of experience leaving their jobs was 54% higher than in 2020. They also found that professionals in the middle of their careers (aged 30-50) had increased resignations rates, up by 38% from last year.
This could indicate that experienced employees may feel that their careers are stagnating. As an employer, it’s vital that your staff understand how their role within your company will help them grow as a professional.
Build a company culture that’s focused on development and progression and ensure that it doesn’t just apply to entry-level new employees but that it runs throughout the entire time that your employee is within your company. This can also assist in acquisition, as a dedicated training programme could be seen as a vital perk as potential staff could see the rewarding work culture and work environment you’ve been cultivating and take steps to move over to your business when looking for a new job.
Ensure you’re training in the right areas at the right times
COVID-19 has disrupted businesses in almost every sector, forcing companies to make difficult decisions around budgets and investments. With this in mind, companies must choose the right training programmes at the right times for the right employees.
If you need to make redundancies, move staff around or have periods where employees may need to take on greater responsibilities, it may be best to set up a dedicated workforce training plan. This can help you maximise the benefits of training in a way that considers busier periods of the year. It can even be molded or changed in case of any disruption in the business.
Other methods such as workshop learning can be useful if you want all of your employees to acquire a specific skill set. Ensuring that your employees are on the same page in an accessible area of learning can make transitions smoother during periods with reduced staff numbers. If your staff have the right skills to complete tasks efficiently, this can reduce the risk of burnout, lessen workloads and make it easier for you to create a workplace culture that’s built on employee engagement.
Overall, training can be an excellent tool for employers to use to boost engagement, morale, and, ultimately, retention. Why not explore our Workforce Training Hub and find out how we can help you get started today?