Last updated: 09.02.22

How businesses and L&D teams can combat the Great Resignation

The Great Resignation – the name given to the large percentage of workers voluntarily leaving, or planning to leave, their jobs – is something that has been getting more and more media coverage as months go by. Initially recognised in the US last year, it seems to be spreading globally, and according to research, has definitely hit the UK.

But what’s caused it? You may not be surprised to hear that the pandemic is a big factor. It’s said to have caused a rise in burnout, which has asked people to question their job, place of work, or what they want to do with their careers. But, on the other hand, it also introduced a way of working to employees which seemed out of reach to many pre-pandemic – one which allowed them flexibility, and the occasion to balance their work and life more successfully.

And now employees are voluntarily leaving at an alarming rate and it’s hitting businesses hard. Research shows that many businesses have many vacancies, more than they had in 2019, pre-pandemic, and they are finding it harder to recruit the staff.

Why are people leaving their roles?

As people have re-evaluated their work-life balance and are looking for ways to help achieve a healthier balance, they are looking for businesses that respect and acknowledge that too.

In essence, employees now want to feel part of something bigger, part of a company who prioritises connection, recognition and communication. They want to be shown that they’re important to the business, and that their needs will be acknowledged and met. And if they’re not, they’ll go elsewhere to find it. And it’s not going to be over quickly as research shows that even if people aren’t leaving now, they are considering it and waiting to see what happens after the pandemic.

What does this mean for businesses and how can L&D teams help?

Ultimately, a change should be made. Change that shows their employees that they value them. But to create a lasting change, it’s best not to focus purely on short-term solutions, but think about the bigger picture and invest energy into creating a culture that will last, and which will encourage employee retention long-term.

There are three key areas that businesses can focus on: updating their working policies, understanding their employees’ needs and circumstances and developing attractive offerings. And as an e-learning provider, we’re obviously keen to explore what role L&D teams have in the Great Resignation. And it’s in the last section – developing attractive offerings – that they can be really valuable.

Let’s have a look at each one in more detail.

Thinking about your policies

Ask yourself: do your working policies and practices reflect these new, modern ways of working? If not, make time to assess them and produce new ones that will support both your business and the new flexible working conditions. No doubt you’ll have gained a sense of how your business can run with a remote workforce – what worked? What didn’t? But don’t just assess this from a business point of view, talk to your employees too. How did they find it? What would they like to keep? Do they have any suggestions for change? By seeking out and considering their input, they’ll know their points of view are valued.

Make time to understand your staff’s circumstances and potential needs

The boundaries between work and life have now shifted, and we’ve gained insights into our employees’ lives that we never thought possible, recognising the different lives we all lead. We can’t ignore this; instead, we need to start building on these insights and actively work to understand their needs and find ways to support them

Once you’ve understood their needs, prioritise them. For example, to support health and wellbeing, make sure your team do what they can to help employees feel supported. Can they easily say if they are feeling overstretched? Are your expectations realistic? With burnout being a feature of the Great Resignation, it’s important your staff are cared for, so the risk of burnout is reduced.

Whatever areas you offer support for – say health and wellbeing, financial support or flexible working – providing useful resources and content can be a big step to helping your staff. L&D teams can help here by collating resources and making sure they are easily available.

What can you offer to make your business attractive?

It isn’t all about the salary, but the extra benefits that companies offer on top of it. Do you offer salary bonuses or enhance your benefits offering? For example, extra holidays or days off (allowing staff to have their birthday off is a popular one), a generous health insurance policy or attractive learning development plans to help your staff progress.

Helping your staff progress

This is where L&D teams can shine. When it comes to careers, people are looking to the future. They want to go join a business where they can thrive, learn and develop, and so are asking businesses what they can do to support that.

According to Jade Pullan, one of our Learning Technology Consultants, this is a topic that is popular with our customers. ‘We’ve seen increased enquiries from businesses about developing bespoke training in order to enhance their personal and professional development offering. They are realising that when people are exploring employment and career options they have learning and development packages high on their lists, and want to work in a company where they can progress and gain new skills.’

With that in mind, here are some areas L&D teams can support on:

  • Make sure you have a strong content offering. Soft skills are especially popular, do you have a way that employees can easily develop them?
  • Make sure the content is easily accessible to everyone who needs it, such as a learning management system.
  • Have your L&D teams talk to your employees about what skills they want to gain or how they want to progress in their career
  • Building on that, set up learning development plans to help them develop the skills they need

After all, increasing people’s skills not only benefits your employees, but the business benefits from the increase in knowledge and insight too. It’s a win-win!

Training solutions are our bread and butter, so whether you’re looking to develop your own bespoke solutions, increase your content offering or looking for a learning management system, we’re here to help.