More people are quitting their jobs than ever before. So much so that this has been called the era of ‘The Great resignation’. According to IOL, as of last December, annual employee turnover has increased by 16% across all sectors. While South Africa’s high unemployment rate means that we are unlikely to mirror the high resignation rates in Europe and North America, the uptick in employee turnover does suggest that the Great Resignation may pay us a visit. However, it doesn’t have to stay.
Enid Lizamore, Group HR Executive at Santam, says, “The pandemic has fundamentally changed a lot about how employees perceive their relationship with work and where they ultimately want to conduct work from. It has ensured that wellbeing and work life balance are prioritised more and has definitely given people the confidence to ask for it. As we come out of lockdown, employers are going to need to adapt if they want to entice employees to remain committed, highly engaged and ultimately remain with the organisation. This is even more important, given the scarce skills environment we find ourselves in - where competition for top performers is fierce.
Here are some tips on how to keep your best, brightest and most skilled around:
Time to go hybrid:
By the end of 2020, as much 76% of the global workforce was working from home, compared to 41% in 2018. For South Africans, that number sat at 50% as of June 2021. While some companies are keen to return to normal, many employees are not, with some even arguing that they are returning to work simply to sit in video calls and have the same limited interaction with their peers.
To combat this, a lot of companies have tried to find a middle ground that decentralises office spaces, turning them into ecosystems rather than single locations. What this means is that workspaces will become a hybrid of offices, homes, and third-party venues like a local coffee shop. This will allow workers to prioritise their wellbeing and give them a degree of flexibility.
Set clear boundaries:
Around the world, research has shown remote workers tend to work longer hours than they did before the pandemic began. The strain has been particularly difficult on women, who have often had to juggle being always on call with the imbalance in the load of household duties that they face at home.
Enid Lizamore, Group HR Executive at Santam says, “Employers looking to retain top performers need to pay special attention to what is important to employees. Be comfortable to agree on office hours and set clear work-life boundaries. That means keeping after hour emails to a minimum and respecting weekend time to not include work calls.”
Several countries have even begun putting in legislation to make sure workplace boundaries are maintained. Last November, Portugal became one of the first countries in the world to criminalise sending employees texts after working hours and other countries look set to follow.
Depression costs the South African economy more than R200 billion per year, through people either missing work or working while depressed. South Africans are the second most stressed employees in the world.
As such, employers looking to retain and attract their people would benefit greatly from taking their employees’ wellbeing into account. For instance, at companies like Santam, employees get the benefit of in-office or remote employee wellbeing assistance, holistic and financial wellness initiatives and counselling, advice, and legal support – available to them and their families. In addition to this, employees have access to concierge services, tutoring assistance for their children as well as personal assistance for comparative shopping, everyday saving deals or travel assistance to save employees time and money as they deal with life’s demands.
Enid Lizamore, Group HR Executive at Santam concludes, “At Santam, we know that retaining our quality people allows us to pass that quality onto our clients and make a difference in their lives. As a business, your people are your priority. Ensure they feel cared for, heard, and valued - and they will go above and beyond to make a difference!”