Should I Stay or Should I Go?: The Trials and Tribulations of ‘The Great Resignation’

Five technology industry leaders offer advice on what organisations can do to retain staff and avoid falling victim to an outbreak of departures.

With the cybersecurity skills gap persisting for the fifth year in 2021, ‘The Great Resignation’ is another unneeded burden for the industry. Indeed, research by recruitment firm Randstad UK shows that almost a quarter of UK workers plan to move jobs in 2022 and those in the tech industry are amongst the most confident in finding better opportunities. It is clear that businesses need to take the matter seriously.

With this in mind, eWeek UK spoke to five technology industry leaders to determine what organisations can do to retain staff and avoid falling victim to ‘The Great Resignation’.

Freedom to be Flexible

As hybrid working becomes a permanent part of many organisations’ working routines, it is becoming less of a benefit and more of a necessity.

“Employees are increasingly willing to find an alternative employer if they are not given flexible options,” explains Gregg Lalle, Senior VP, International Sales & Strategy at ConnectWise. “That being said, organisations must make sure that connection opportunities are provided to all employees, not just those who physically come into work. A sense of connection and belonging is key to creating ties that bind people to their workplace.”

Kathryn Barnes, Employment Counsel EMEA at Globalization Partners, adds that such demands from employees are not a negative because “you get so much more out of your employees when they work flexibly, and as the workplace continues to evolve through 2022 and beyond, the biggest pitfall a company can make is not embracing change. Companies have already invested in online infrastructure that allows employees to work from anywhere, so I expect they will expand using these models, testing the market in new regions. Whilst staff shortages remain top of mind for employers, the talent pool is larger and more global than it’s ever been – people are no longer confined to looking for talent in just their immediate location.”

Offering Incentives

However, hybrid working is not the only requirement that employees have when thinking of an ideal working environment. Offering other incentives will increase employee motivation and reduce staff turnover.

“Positive changes aren’t necessarily financial, employees value incentives that make them feel valued, such as time-off, healthcare insurance or volunteering opportunities,” emphasises Barnes.

Rob Shaw, SVP Global Sales at Fluent Commerce, adds: “Building a strong company culture with good benefits is key to creating a business that staff want to work for. Fluent Commerce, for example, operates an unlimited leave policy where we encourage the team to take time out if they need a mental, or physical, break. Open and transparent communication across the organisation is actively encouraged. Weekly Q&A sessions enable our team to raise work-related issues they’re concerned about. All these initiatives contribute to our staff feeling valued and part of a team.”

Overcoming the Skills Shortage

With the skills shortage ongoing, developing and utilising skills is necessary for business operations and staff retention. Research from TalentLMS indicates that 65% of tech workers desire more formal training to develop their skills and progress their careers.

“A lack of learning and development opportunities will often drive employees away,” notes Ian Rawlings, Regional Vice President EMEA at SumTotal. “A feeling of growing and developing is key to job satisfaction so investing in training plays an essential role in retaining staff for any size of business. Furthermore, effective staff training will increase efficiency. It may even allow a business to fill in any skills gaps without having to go through the expensive hiring process.”

However, sometimes training is simply not enough and hiring new staff is the only option to successfully plug the skills gap. In the present day, when recruitment is also a struggle, leadership teams may have to explore other avenues.

“It’s worth considering outsourcing some of your current workload,” explains Lalle. “For example, many MSPs are benefiting from using a Help Desk service, rather than trying to provide that 24/7 technical support for their clients themselves. Using an outsourced service allows businesses to immediately serve their customers without having to bring in new staff: navigating raises, career paths and HR issues.”

Give the People What They Want

Ultimately, career paths are becoming less linear and people want new challenges and experiences to experience a more comfortable work life balance. As Marco Fanizzi, EMEA General Manager & VP at Commvault, concludes: “Attracting and retaining the very best talent requires attention, training, personalised development and incentive plans for longer term. But most importantly, before we do this, we need to have conversations, listen and assess. We need to find out what an individual’s realigned values are before acting.”

Nobody knows what’s round the corner as we head into 2022 – if ‘The Great Resignation’ will continue with the same momentum in which it has started, or if we’ll see a resurgence in people returning to old jobs and industries. However, it has provided the perfect opportunity for employers to take stock, reviewing policies and procedures in line with the changing needs of their workforce.

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