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How the Great Resignation Affects SA Businesses

The Great Quit or The Great Resignation – call it what you want but be assured, the winds of change are rattling the rafters for employers in the USA as well as the UK. How does it translate to South African employees? It’s still up for debate, but this phenomenon absolutely deserves some investigation.

the great resignationThere’s A Great Wave Of Resignations On The Horizon

The economic effect that the great depression in the 1930s and the recession of 2008 had is undebatable. International economic waves do spill over to our shores in the end. It is better to be informed and prepared than caught unawares.

Nearly 33 million people have left their jobs voluntarily in the United States of America so far. Furthermore, 40% of people who are currently employed actively planning to leave their current positions in the near future.

How The Great Resignation Affects South Africa

This trend is emerging in South Africa as well. The power balance between employers and employees is shifting drastically due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Many employees have had the time to re-evaluate their work-life balance. And, being on the verge of burn-out, they have decided to step back from their jobs.

This trend is mostly seen in the tech and financial sectors so far in South Africa. It might seem like this does not directly influence your own business. But do not turn a blind eye to the changes coming in employee mentalities.

How To Protect My Business From The Great Resignation

Now is not the time for hubris. You have kept your business afloat through a massive economic crisis and wave upon wave of lockdowns. In fact, you should be actively building up your businesses’ economic armour to withstand whatever the next few years bring.

Employee satisfaction leads to increased loyalty which in turn helps with staff retention. Retaining your staff is a key factor in ensuring business longevity. We are long past the days when people would work for the same company for 50 years. However, this does not mean that you should be re-hiring your entire team every 18 months.

It is possible to find the sweet spot, the so-called “Goldilocks zone”. This is where staff remain with your company long enough for the relationship to be mutually beneficial. When they then move on to pursue new things, it is without any hard feelings. If you have a group of ex-employees who can still participate in the growth of your company, you are on the right path. You allow your business fantastic opportunities for network building because of their inherent loyalty to you and the company.

Keep Your Employees From Considering Resignation

It will take work, and there will be growing pains. But if done right, slight adjustments and trimming of sails can ensure that your business is ship-shape. You can then face this brave new world of employee relations.

Show Gratitude

Show honest, frequent, and direct gratitude to employees who have gone the extra mile. An employee will always exceed your expectations if they feel appreciated and seen.

We Are All Human

Yes, it is frustrating if the same employee needs time off for 6 grandmothers’ funerals in a three-month period. However, you should realise that many of your employees come from less than ideal circumstances. If you show a little bit of humanity and understanding, it can go a long way. Furthermore, it will lead to building loyalty and maintaining mutual respect.

Take It Case By Case To Quit the Resignation

This is the most difficult part and will be nigh on impossible in large corporations. However, if you have 20 to 40 employees, this can be a game-changer. Understand (and make it clear) that there is a difference between disciplinary actions. You can take action for real infringements and negligence. But concessions must be made because of unforeseen circumstances. If you have a limited employee pool, take the time to get to know them. Not only will this boost mutual respect and loyalty, but also allow you to get a good feel for the employee’s personal circumstances.

Chances are that there are issues in their personal lives that you are not aware of. If you had known about it, you would have reacted differently to them being late or unwilling to work overtime. Are they the sole breadwinner? Is your employee a single parent? What is their commute like? Is your employee perhaps looking after a sick child or relative?

Don’t Resign Yourself To The Great Resignation

Yes, this will take some of your time to achieve, but your business is ultimately your responsibility, and it can only be as strong as your employees.