The pressures placed on individual workers have never been greater since the global pandemic and while people seek to evaluate the quality of their life as we move out of COVID, this has prompted the phenomenon of the “Great Resignation”. Over a quarter of Australians are now considering a move over the next year, according to PwC Australia’s 25th CEO Survey.
In terms of what this could mean for your company, the cost factor from ongoing recruitment, failure to fulfil contracts, and a lack of capacity for business development could push already stretched profit margins over the edge. In order to prepare for the possibility of losing key workers, it is imperative to prepare now – starting with speaking to an experienced workplace relations lawyer.
The right workplace relations lawyers in Melbourne can provide comprehensive advice and guidance as well as mitigation services between you and key staff who are not happy with their current workload and review your current enterprise agreements.
Review and repair workplace relations
To know what you may be dealing with, you need to know where you stand at present. There are ways of communicating with your employees to temperature test how they feel about their current position and prospects. Face-to-face discussions or workplace surveys can be carried out to uncover the current perceptions staff have about the stresses in the workplace and how the last two years have impacted on them.
Some team members will decide that they must move on but getting to the root cause of why they are leaving could be the key to holding onto a productive employee. It may be that flexible working or the opportunity to have a blended approach at the workplace is an option. Several office workers now find that during the lockdown and pandemic, working from home gave them benefits that they had not realised before. Not all occupations allow this flexible approach, but it is one worth exploring. A workplace relations lawyer can review employment contracts and benefits including revised terms and conditions to accommodate these new changes.
Involve workers in the transition of working in “the new normal”
The economy is starting to pick up although some sectors are lagging behind others. During the pandemic, you may have had to furlough some employees or find different ways of working. When it comes to living with COVID-19 or “the new normal”, some staff will still be very anxious, and it becomes easier to hand their notice in rather than worry about the return to the workplace. Communication and collaboration on what work will look like with staff teams will alleviate fears especially if they feel they can shape and be part of the return to work.
Give employees autonomy
Remote working has meant having to trust that workers will get on with their jobs. Allowing them the flexibility, where you can, to complete work tasks builds up a sense of purpose for both the employer and the staff member. Build on that trust by giving more important tasks and responsibilities and allow them, where possible, to set and manage their own deadlines. Being flexible with working hours, and review if the 9 to 5 work week is still the right thing for your business.
Training and investment
Carry out a staffing analysis and review the staffing structure, skills, knowledge and technical know-how needed to keep the business running. Look at what is needed as the business grows and consider investing in training and developing current staff members to meet future needs if key staff leave. There are several apprenticeship programmes that can develop skills in the specific industry within which your business operates. Offering apprenticeships will also make you an employer of choice helping when it comes to recruitment.
Revisit benefits and perks offered
If the business has the ability to do so, take a look at the benefits and perks being offered to employees. Try to understand what benefits are attractive to your employees and whether you can capitalise on that attraction in order to better retain staff. For some people, health insurance is important; others would benefit from being able to buy additional holidays or parents with young children to have the option of flexible working if the child is ill or to fit in with school hours.
With all these various plans and strategies to help your business prepare for “the Great Resignation”, make sure you talk through all your plans with an employee relations expert to keep your business up and running.