The Great Resignation: SMEs experiencing higher staff turnover

Jane Betts, Chief People Officer at Findex

The Great Resignation is “no longer looming but very much here”, according to new data from financial services firm Findex which has found one in four SMEs are already experiencing a higher than usual turnover following the onset of COVID-19.

As Australia and New Zealand pivot from their elimination strategies to living alongside coronavirus, staff retention is emerging as the top business concern for the year ahead.

In a survey of more than 500 SMEs, Findex found that half of businesses (53%) are concerned about their ability to retain staff over the next twelve months. Furthermore, one in three businesses (33%) have noticed a drop in employee satisfaction this year.

Employers in the dark over employee wants

Concerningly, employers seem disconnected from what their employees want. Despite the popularity of remote and hybrid working models, 50% of businesses have not consulted with their teams on their preferred working-from-home-model – and have no plans to do so.

In fact, almost two-thirds of employers want staff to return to the office for most of the week despite believing that only a third will want to return to pre-COVID working plan.

Clarity on employer vaccination policies may also present retention challenges for businesses as almost a third (28%) said they will require all employees to be fully vaccinated but a quarter (25%) support full vaccination only if mandated by the Government.

Speaking on the launch of the ‘When Worlds Collide: Small Businesses Meet Post-Pandemic Life’ report, Jane Betts, Chief People Officer at Findex, made the following insights.

“It appears for Australia and New Zealand, the Great Resignation is no longer looming, but very much here. What matters most to employees is very different in a post-COVID world, particularly when it comes to work-life balance and flexible working.”

“This is why it’s concerning that half of businesses haven’t consulted their teams on their preferred ‘return to the office’ approach. In an environment of skill shortages, immigration restrictions and greater talent mobility, hiring is becoming increasingly challenging.”

Is there an amicable solution to the raging conflict

“Businesses should be looking to do everything to retain their current workforce.”

“The first thing managers and leaders need to do is to tap into what their employees want, as it’s clear there’s a big disconnect. We know that for employees, almost nine in ten (85%) want to continue to work from home or retain flexible working practices.

But our data shows employers want the opposite and for teams to return back to the office for most, if not all, of the working week. This disconnect is not sustainable.

“It’s not too late for businesses to satisfy the needs of clients, employers and employees.”

“The organisations prepared to change and adapt, could be rewarded with the best of new talent and a modern business solution that is fit for purpose in the new working world order.”