For the past couple of years, the Great Resignation or Big Quit was the workplace trend everyone was talking about.
Burned out and dissatisfied in their jobs as a result of the pandemic, we began reassessing their priorities, seeking better work-life balance, improved job satisfaction, and more fulfilling career opportunities.
This led to a surge in people changing jobs and job hopping in search of greener pastures. And a recruitment nightmare for businesses!
But it looks like, finally, the tides might be turning. Enter stage left, the ‘Big Stay’, a new workplace trend seeing people stay put.
This trend is good news, but it isn’t the time to sit still. You have the power to make the Big Stay, stay and use it to your advantage!
Candidate short market no more?
So what are the Big Stay stats?
Well, according to Australia’s Labour Market Update 2023, recruitment difficulty has diminished. Yes, it looks like we’re moving away from a candidate-short job market!
The percentage of vacancies that have been filled has continued to rise, with the fill rate moving up consistently from around 55% in July 2022 to 65% in March 2023.
Applicant numbers have also improved, with the average number of applicants increasing by around 40% over the same 12-month period.
Meanwhile, employee retention also appears to have improved (yes, fewer people have quit their jobs!), with those only hired for turnover purposes reaching their lowest rate since December 2020.
Why are people staying put? While we may like to think it’s because we’re offering great workplaces, the main reason seems to be the uncertain financial times we’re sailing in. Employees are simply too nervous to take the job-hunting punt.
Less pressure equals a new game plan
If you’ve been chasing your tail with recruitment recently, the Big Stay, also known as The Great Stay, means you might now have a chance to slow down on the hiring front and catch your breath. Phew! *Wipes brow*.
But while the pressure has eased a little, now’s not the time to rest on your laurels. Instead, you need to pour your efforts into giving employees a reason to stay.
This means using your reclaimed time to properly get your game plan sorted for investing in and nurturing your people and teams.
How can your culture be improved? Are there development opportunities to exploit? Are you offering the work-life balance people expect these days?
Importantly, you don’t just want people to stay while being disengaged (presenteeism). You want them to be engaged and excited to stay!
Ensuring an ‘I’m staying’ attitude
So what kinds of things do you need to focus on? Here are some key things that can help keep employees engaged and retained.
#1 Create a sense of purpose
One of the big things the Great Resignation revealed is that employees seek meaningful work and a sense of purpose in their careers. They want to feel that their contributions are making a difference and aligning with their values.
Because of this, make sure you’re providing employees (those potential job changers) with opportunities to engage in meaningful work and connecting their roles to your broader purpose, aka your company mission and values.
This could mean a workshop that reaffirms what you’re all about as a company and the role they play in it.
#2 Set expectations and upskill
Clear communication is essential to retaining employees. Setting performance expectations and providing people with the necessary tools and clarity can create an environment that promotes growth and success.
As Brené Brown says, ‘Clear is kind, unclear is unkind’. So ensure your team members understand their roles and are empowered to be their best. This includes giving them the training they need to succeed and thrive.
By developing talent within your organisation, you can also ensure a smooth transition of key roles and responsibilities (succession planning) and reduce the need to seek external candidates.
#3 Address work-life balance and wellbeing
COVID shed light on the importance of work-life balance and employee wellbeing.
People will no longer accept sub-optimal working conditions where their mental health and personal life are compromised.
You’re probably already offering flexible work options such as remote work, flexitime, shorter workweeks, or part-time schedules. But make sure it’s the type of flexibility your employees want.
On top of this, make sure you’re offering great benefits and promoting regular work breaks and vacation time. Discourage ‘workaholism’ and let people know that taking time off isn’t a weakness.
To address wellbeing, provide your employees with mental health resources and programs, such as an Employee Assistance Program. Plus, cultivate a positive and supportive work culture where people can talk openly, collaborate and are recognised for their successes.
Make the Big Stay, Stay
By creating a sense of purpose, setting expectations and upskilling and fostering a culture that prioritises wellbeing and work-life balance, you can avoid presenteeism and cultivate an environment where employees can bring their whole selves to the table and flourish.
Importantly, ensure you have ongoing open discussions with your team to see which areas you need to improve. People want to feel heard. And then make sure you action the feedback, or say why if you can’t.
The end goal is to embed your employees into your workplace so well that the thought of going doesn’t even cross their minds! They’re staying because they’re committed to staying, not because it’s safe and comfortable.
Are you ready to embrace the Big Stay? Contact our team today to learn more about our team and culture workshops that can help you build workplaces people won’t want to leave.