September 7, 2021

Can businesses turn the tide of the great resignation?

Carrie Condino, Associate Director
Hiring is becoming very competitive. It’s an employee’s market right now as they have plenty of choices and opportunities to evaluate.

With Coronavirus restrictions now lifted in England, both employees and employers are re-evaluating what work looks like.

The term ‘new normal’ has become a popular mantra as lifestyles have changed due to COVID-19, but we are still evolving our understanding and definition of what exactly that means.

Savanta surveyed over 1,000 businesses of various sizes and from a range of industries as part of our UK Business Tracker to learn about current challenges and opportunities that organisations are facing as they respond to employees’ new work habits.

Over one-third of businesses report they are experiencing increased employee turnover following the relaxation of all government COVID-19 measures and as we return to a ‘new normal’.

And this is particularly felt by larger organisations, as 47% of medium or large businesses report this increase. Another popular term right now is the ‘Great Resignation’ as there is a mass exodus of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs.

Employee turnover rates have been increasing, especially recently as vaccination rates increase and life is creeping slowly back to pre-pandemic times with shops and restaurants fully open and offices starting to welcome back more employees.

This also makes for a challenging hiring period right now as 64% of businesses report that they are struggling to fill vacancies, potentially due to both COVID-19 and Brexit.

Larger organisations again are particularly struggling to fill vacancies, while smaller organisations may be less impacted.

Hiring is becoming very competitive. It’s an employee’s market right now as they have plenty of choices and opportunities to evaluate.

As businesses respond to the challenges in retaining and recruiting staff, the majority are making changes in a variety of ways to provide employees more comfortable lifestyles with the most common changes including 31% are enabling flexible hours and 28% are providing work from home/remote solutions.

It’s actually a common top priority right now for businesses to digitalise their organisations specifically for the benefit of their employees within the next 18 months. For 10% of businesses, it is an urgent priority and 32% consider it a high priority.

As businesses adapt to the ‘new normal’ and plan for the future, it is a multi-step process that involves investment, trialling, and new mentalities. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, many employees and businesses were forced to learn how to work remotely.

Now that it’s likely here to stay as many employees want to be fully remote or hybrid.

Businesses have the opportunity to properly investigate which types of technology and digital solutions work best for their organisation and employees to enable productivity, collaboration, and comfort wherever they are.

In the coming months, half of the businesses are evaluating their set-up in at least one of the following ways:

  • 54% will experiment with different ways of working and solutions
  • 52% will invest in new technology solutions to take advantage of the opportunities arising from the ‘new normal’
  • 49% will look to position ourselves as a ‘digital first’ business

Many businesses have already started their digital/technology transformation, but only about 1 in 5 think they have all the solutions and technology in place already to support hybrid ways of working.

We’re all still continuously adapting to the pandemic effects, but business leaders should listen to their current and potential employees to understand their new preferred working style and culture.

59% of businesses agree they will look to create a bottom-up business leadership approach (i.e., ensuring every employee has a voice regardless of location).

Although many changes are happening for the employees’ benefits, flexible working is opening opportunities and providing new benefits to the organisations as well.

32% of businesses report flexible working enables them to attract wider talent pools (i.e., applicants from other sectors and countries normally wouldn’t get) and 28% are seeing applicants willing to sacrifice salary to have access to flexible working opportunities.

Both of these benefits are significantly more common for larger organisations too, which hopefully eases the recruiting challenges they are facing if they are tapping into these opportunities effectively.


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