Advice & Best PracticeFeatures

How to survive The Great Resignation

By Andy Rich, managing partner at HW Fisher

Every year people set themselves a fresh set of new years resolutions – ‘new year, new me.’ This year the data suggests that rather than eating healthier, or exercising more regularly, more people are being swayed towards ‘new year, new job.’ 

Research from recruitment firm Randstad found that almost one in four of those surveyed were actively planning to change employers within the next six months. This could be an incredibly expensive shake up across sectors and industries. Oxford Economics calculates that a new employee can take up to 28 weeks to reach their optimum productivity – which has an estimated attached cost of £25,200 per employee. This is in addition to the often hefty costs involved in recruiting the new employee in the first place.

That’s also assuming that you can get people in the door. The number of job vacancies in the UK hit a record 20-year high last year. With such a huge demand for talent, it’s never been more important to create a positive workplace environment where employees feel valued and satisfied in their roles.

Creating a workplace to be proud of

To retain your best talent, it’s incredibly important to create a workplace culture that is fair and gives a voice to people at all levels in the organisation. Opinions from employees at lower levels are not always heard which limits a businesses’ ability to improve. We don’t always get it perfect at HW Fisher – there is always room for any business to improve and learn, and we are committed to doing just that. 

Developing a culture of allyship is key. We believe it’s important for our employees in under-represented groups to know that their company is on their side. To be a true ally, you must be open to learning, comfortable with being uncomfortable, and recognise we all have an opportunity to do better. 

It’s important for staff to work for an organisation that they are genuinely proud of, and that holds values similar to their own. There is a greater awareness and demand across the world to save our planet and to minimise the impact of climate change. For us, we knew we needed to incorporate ESG into our business not only because it was important to our clients and employees, but because it is the right thing to do. As Chartered Accountants we have a key role to play and we have a sustainability division to help our clients reduce their carbon footprint. 

Motivating staff for another year of the pandemic

2021 was another challenging year for everyone, on an individual and professional level. There were some periods of relative normality but as we go into the new year with a new variant forcing many businesses to work from home once again, it is important to keep morale high amongst the team. Particularly as it is during difficult times that clients need us more than ever. 

A special shout out to my colleagues at HW Fisher – I’ve been very proud to see how our teams have adapted to the lockdown and new working conditions so quickly, with such a positive, can-do spirit. 

To keep this morale going into the new year, it’s important to continue to invest in IT and technology to ensure the whole team has everything that they need to be able to work remotely. There is nothing worse than poor systems that slow down or hinder your work!

We also continue to foster a fighting spirit through our internal communications. Each month we share our ‘Beyond the Numbers’ newsletter designed to not only help keep the business informed of what is happening client wise, but to share thanks and keep creating a sense of togetherness – even while working virtually.

It’s important to listen to your team

People’s needs change all the time. Rather than assuming that you know what your employees want, why don’t you ask them? It’s important that leadership teams engage in regular processes to listen and learn from their colleagues. At HW Fisher for example, we are hosting a series of breakfast events in February with our team to discuss our company strategy and how we can create a more inclusive culture.

Key questions that we will be asking include: 

• Why do we need a strategy?

• Where are we now?

• What can you expect in the future?

• How does/should this impact your career at the firm?

These honest and open discussions will help us to create a working environment where we can learn from each other on a daily basis, and establish the best processes to ensure that we are constantly learning – regardless of workloads, pressures and results. 

Having these types of conversations is an important step in creating a culture where people feel safe to speak up and challenge the status quo, without the fear that their job is at risk. From an internal perspective, if staff feel there’s a meritocracy and the business is diverse, it’ll be a happier and more motivated environment, which in turn can contribute to positive business outcomes.

By Andy Rich, managing partner at HW Fisher

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