HR news and updates from the E.L Blue Team

Should we be worried about the ‘great resignation’ ? Oh yes and here is why

19 Nov 2021 | HR, Human Resource Management, Learning and Development, Organisational Development

The Great Resignation ?


While the ‘great resignation’ has apparently had a substantial impact in the US and Europe, it has been suggested it will not be as big in Australia.   On the other hand some researchers suggest Australia will experience a version of this around March 2022, while another recent report shows it is sort of happening now with a jump in employees changing jobs.

Whats going on ?

While Australia might not have the same drivers as the US and Europe, business should not treat the risks lightly.


Jobs and Opportunities a plenty !

The recently published E.L Index, an index for executive demand, shows demand for executives at a higher level now than anytime in the last 5 years.



Anecdotal evidence from a range of industries including  hospitality, healthcare, mining, construction, agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, retail suggests they are crying out of skilled and unskilled workers.

Traditional job board advertising tells of super high demand, and just about every social media channel including Facebook, Youtube and Instagram are full of job vacancies from businesses big and small.

Businesses are optimistic and finding they are losing business because they don’t have staff.

For a skilled worker, there are plenty of jobs, if an employee wants a career / company change, there are opportunities.  Acceptance of hybrid work means location is less of an issue.

This is where the risk to employers is the greatest, the opportunities for skilled employees are great and this should give pause to any management team.


Management does not listen or know why people leave.

A recent McKinsey report drills down into the key drivers of why people are ‘resigning’ and what can be done to turn it around.

Interestingly the report highlights the fact that most ‘C’ suite executives and business managers don’t really listen to employees and know why they leave.   More telling was the disconnect between what management and employees gave as the reason to leave.


Why are my employees leaving ?

Detailed research on why employees were leaving businesses, listed the following as the most important reasons for leaving ;

  1. Not feeling valued by the organisation
  2. Not feeling valued by their managers
  3. Not feeling a sense of belonging at work 

Interestingly, while employers focused on transactional drivers (pay, benefits, development etc), employees are more driven by relational factors.

To summarise,  lots (40%) of employees are looking for, or are open to new opportunities, there are plenty of vacancies for skilled employees, and the reasons for leaving are not what management thought.


What should a business manager do ?

Here are a few suggested actions for management teams to consider.

Engage with your workforce, let them tell you what is important to them about working in your business – there is no point .

Recently our leadership team lead a quick survey of our front-line team members to find out what they valued about working in the business.   Feedback included the level of autonomy, on-call support, the team environment, scope to learn and develop, flexibility, respect from management and clients.

Such feedback provides valuable information to structure work tasking and ultimately supports retention and attraction strategies.

Collecting feedback need not be complex or a big issue, however the most important part of the process is acknowledging and acting on the feedback.  This will be different for every business.

Check out your leadership team – are they the right people, with the right training and skills to lead the business forward.  Are they creating the environment you want – or are they a toxic force ?

Staffing in general – do we have the right team, the right skills and capabilities in the right positions ?

Are we happy with the corporate culture ?

Are our compensation, benefits, rewards and recognition suitable in the current environment and valued or deemed useful by the workforce ?

Are we building a community ?  with remote working more common, the in-person community building may not occur naturally, so the management team may have to be proactive in facilitating it.  Recently one of our team spontaneously (within about 5 minutes) organised a Melbourne Cup sweep – which involved our geographically spread team, was quick and engaging.


Pause, consider and take action

While, in Australia, we may not be impacted as the US or Europe has been, it is a fool hardy management team that does not take the time to pause, consider these external factors and fortify their organisation against the risks of the ‘great resignation’.

Finally, once your employees walk out the door, it is devilishly difficult to get new ones.


For a no obligation discussion how outsourcing your HR function can help your business give E.L Blue a call