Recent research from Microsoft found more than 40% of the global workforce is ready to resign at some point this year.1 In this article we discuss factors that may be driving this trend in Australia and how HR leaders can improve employee engagement and retention strategies with employee benefits.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021.2 This pandemic led trend has been dubbed The Great Resignation or The Big Quit. Can we look to the US as a predictor of what will happen here in Australia, or will we go our own way? Whatever happens in the next 12 to 18 months, one thing is clear – the war for talent is about to get fierce.
What are the factors influencing career decisions?
The pandemic has changed the workplace in fundamental ways. A shift in priorities has led many of us to reconsider how we work, who we work for and the work we do. In the US this re-evaluation is driving The Great Resignation. Reasons for this rise in turnover tend to centre around a reduced tolerance for poor work life balance – 54% of employees in the Microsoft survey said they felt overworked and 39% felt “exhausted”.3 Another key factor is the ‘decentralisation’ of the workplace for many employees, which provides a newfound ability to change work circumstances, for example due to remote working and the use of technology.
Will The Great Resignation reach Australian shores?
While some of these same drivers exist here in Australia, others are different. According to recent Gartner research employee business confidence amongst Australians has returned to pre-pandemic levels.4 And with an end to extended lockdowns in sight for many Australians and summer on its way, 2022 could trigger a re-evaluation in career choices for many employees. The fact that job opportunities for Australians are at an all-time high could add fuel to this fire. Statistics show there were 216,000 job vacancies in August this year – more than for any other August in the last decade.5
“The proportion of employees showing high discretionary effort – willingness to go above and beyond for their employer – has fallen to 16% in Australia, below the global average of 16.5%. Overall, just 9% of Australian workers are considered ‘engaged’, showing both high discretionary effort and high intent to stay with their current employer.”6
The warning signs of employee turnover
According to Gartner, work-life balance, manager quality and respect are now ranked as the top three reasons why workers leave an organisation.7 Research also shows a growing gap in expectations between employees and leaders when it comes to the outlook for the future at work.8 According to a survey by Boston Consulting Group there are clear gaps between employee desires and the working models envisaged by their employers in some key areas.9
To avoid getting blindsided by a wave of resignations it’s worth considering some of the early signs of employee turnover including employees becoming less involved/less productive, being less of a team player, leaving early/arriving late and expressing clear dissatisfaction. And while it’s not possible to prevent employee turnover completely, there are strategies that can improve retention for people you’re at risk of losing.
Improving employee engagement and retention
Recognition and appreciation go a long way to supporting workplace culture and employee satisfaction. In fact, according to research, 79% of employees who quit their jobs point to lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving.10 Employee benefits such as salary packaging and novated leasing provide tangible financial value to employees and contribute positively to a culture of reward and recognition. But employees can’t value these rewards when they don’t know about them.
When it comes to improving employee engagement and retention there are simple steps you can take to make the most of the tools you already have, including:
1. Uncover your blind spots
Before exploring how to improve your employee engagement, it’s worth investigating what is and isn’t working in your current initiatives. Getting feedback from employees is key to understanding their expectations and needs. According to Gartner “organisations must be quick to review their employee value proposition to ensure it’s in-line with what the post-COVID workforce is seeking.” While this sounds good in theory, with so much workplace change for HR teams to navigate, their capacity to re-evaluate and reset is in short supply. The Maxxia Ultimate Guide to Employee Benefits for Organisations is designed to help you understand how your benefits program could better support mission-critical HR goals.
Employees can’t value benefits they don’t know they have access to. Sharing regular offers for rewards and novated leasing via an app, internal website or social media channels is the ideal way to re-engage employees with the full range of benefits. Giving employees clear reasons to stay by communicating the benefits you offer is a simple but often neglected part of a talent retention strategy.
Taking a personalised approach to engaging with employees based on their difference in experience can help organisations better connect with their workforce and start more meaningful conversations. When these offers are tailored for employees’ life stages this introduces another personal element to their employee benefits experience.
Maxxia provides resources and content across the categories of salary packaged benefits to suit different sectors and roles. This enables organisations to mix and match content and communications to suit their workforce needs. Maxxia also delivers in-person and online consultations to offer employees individual guidance on their salary packaging questions and needs. Download our most recent guide to discover more about how employee benefits can help unlock your talent advantage.
As a premium provider of employees benefits to many organisations across Australia, Maxxia have seen the difference salary packaging can make to the overall financial position of employees. Not only can take up of salary packaging boost net household income for employees, a best-practice program supported by effective communication can also strengthen your employee value proposition as a whole.
Maxxia can offer your organisation a full benefits assessment to measure the effectiveness of your current employee benefits offer. We can also put a dollar figure to the potential savings and efficiencies from running the program and compare overall performance with best practice for your industry.