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What you need to know about The Great Resignation

By Jana Angeles

The Great Resignation is coming and employers need to start tending to the needs of employees if they want to decrease turnover and burnout from the pandemic. While having a good salary and other work perks can contribute to a boost in employee morale, more people are starting to value improved work-life balance to help manage expectations when it comes to their personal relationships and what they intend to do outside of their work schedule.

With employees now having the upper hand when it comes to job opportunities, more Australians are wanting to be in roles where they are less stressed and have a better grasp at balancing the things that matter to them in their personal lives. 

Whether that be having more free time to spend on their hobbies, cherishing quality moments with loved ones, or an improved mental health and mindset, it's become clear that people are valuing time over money since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australians are tired and exhausted 

While many Australians have enjoyed the flexibility of working from home, mismanaged expectations by employers have had them clock extra hours of work in lieu of commuting. With personal and work life being blurred together, there have been struggles of setting proper boundaries, leading to higher rates of work burnout and lack of recognition for people's efforts.

As reported on, Sarah Knowles* expects to resign from her senior leadership role at a major bank since she feels undervalued from all her work output.  Despite earning a six-figure salary, she worked 60-70 hour weeks over the course of 3 months in the first Sydney lockdown while also balancing her parenting duties. Here, she dealt with endless video conference calls and was tied to her desk from 8am to 8pm. 

Sarah has now recognised that once she puts in her notice to her employer, she'll no longer work for an organisation or business where the role is a detriment to her own physical and mental health.

She said, “I’m investing and I’m prioritising in my mental health and my physical health. It honestly feels like I’m just coming out of this abusive relationship and I’ve been gaslighted and there is a better world and I can finally see it.”
tired man working from home

Like Sarah, it's anticipated that 2 in 5 Australians plan to leave their jobs in the next six months, so it's no surprise that many are thinking of leaving their corporate jobs due to the expectation of long hours with little recognition in return.

In August this year, 4.3 million employees resigned from their jobs in the U.S, with most coming from the corporate sector and the service industry. 

This means industries who are at risk are those working in hospitality and retail, as well as those in corporate jobs.

With employers encouraging people to come back to the office when things start to re-open again, many have had time to reflect and may not want that hour-long commute anymore. While companies can invest in a cool office space and other perks like free lunches and gym memberships, these work perks are no longer relevant to the challenging times COVID-19 has created. 

Employees want to feel valued in their roles so undertaking long hours isn't feasible to those with ongoing commitments outside of work.

Poor leadership is a main driver for employees quitting 

Employment Hero, a HR platform, found new data from surveying local workers within Australia and have anticipated that the same phenomenon of resignations will happen soon.

From a recent survey, they found that 40% are intending to leave their jobs in the next six months, while 15% of surveyors revealed that they're already actively looking for other opportunities with intentions of leaving their current employer. 

It was also found that 6 in 10 job seekers were motivated to leave due to lack of career growth or not receiving a pay rise as strong contributors to leaving their employers. This was also followed by a lack of recognition from their bosses, as well as poor company culture. 

If companies can afford it, they need to vouch for their current employees by increasing their salaries and creating a culture where people feel valued for their talents and skill sets. The negotiation of salaries to other companies will give employees the upper hand, which can be a threat to their current employer if they're not willing to pay what they're worth.

Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer of Employment Hero said, “The cost of turnover is high for businesses. It is better for them to shuffle funds now to stay in line with industry standards than to cop the costs later. This is especially true for the 30% of workers whose pay has not been reinstated after receiving a pandemic pay-cut.”

poor leadership concept, egg shells

Retaining employees will be a challenge during The Great Resignation if employers are resistant in improving their leadership and culture. By introducing policies that encourage working from home, improved work-life balance and giving time back to their employees will help retention rates. Even normalising conversations to do with mental health can help workers feel like they've been heard by their employers, so normalising mental health days or providing wellbeing leave can also improve employee retention.

Employers that encourage people to go back into the office and not offer a hybrid work schedule are at risk of losing talent, as most people don't want to go back to spending time commuting on public transport or in the car. 

Offering training opportunities that relate to a person's career development can also help employees feel valued and increase morale within the workplace. 

People in leadership roles also need to be self-aware of how they manage their team as employees who feel undervalued or undermined in their roles are likely to resign. While it's been a stressful time having to work through a pandemic, leaders who want improved output from their employees need to motivate, inspire and lead with empathy. 

This means leaders need to put a conscious effort of putting their employees first, ensuring that their work priorities are managed effectively and they feel recognised and valued for their efforts in the workplace. Without this, employees are likely to leave without a second thought since mismanaged expectations and feeling undervalued can lead to work burnout or stress. 

Do you have plans to resign from your current role?

If you have plans to leave your current employer, it's time to take action so you can get your best foot forward for new career opportunities. If you intend on moving roles or industries, there are plenty of ways you can pivot and make your mark in the next phase of your career.

Here are some key things to do before you hand in your resignation:
  • Consider studying a relevant qualification: Studying a relevant course can be just what you need when you feel like you've plateaued in your career. Consider options to study online so that you don't have to commit to going to a physical campus. Upskilled has a whole range of courses to choose from in business, community services and IT.
  • Update your resume and cover letter: Be sure to have an updated resume and cover letter so you're ready to apply for an opportunity that catches your eye. It will work to your benefit instead of scrambling to get it updated when you come across your dream job and only have a few days to apply for it.
  • Avoid rage quitting, if possible: You may be at breaking point with your current role but if you have too many financial obligations to meet, it may be best to bide your time. If you have enough savings or your mental and physical health is being compromised, it may be best to leave your current role for your own sanity. 

Make your next career move count 

If you're feeling flat in your current role and already making the contingencies to leave your current employer, taking the opportunity to learn new skills can help you overcome the feeling of disengagement for the time being. 

At Upskilled, we have online courses available in some of Australia's in-demand industries, helping you be well-equipped with the skill set needed to thrive in your next career move.

Get in touch by calling 1300 009 924 and have a chat with one of our education consultants today!

*Person's name has been changed
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*By providing your information, you agree to our Privacy Policy and to receiving email and other forms of communication from Upskilled. You are able to opt-out at any time.