Retain & Attract Top Talent During The Post-COVID Resignation Boom

By Mike Erlin

By Mike Erlin

Co-Founder & CEO

An unprecedented combination of three factors – economic recovery, employee burnout and “Covid epiphanies” – has labour market experts predicating a workplace resignation boom.

This developing situation means that it’s more urgent than ever to boost retention efforts by winning hearts and minds in your team. With AbilityMap, managers can do so with a science-based methodology that defines and maps out future career opportunities for top performers who may otherwise be tempted to leave.

Why is the resignation boom happening, and what can you do about it.

People are more confident about resigning as the economy recovers 

Every organisation can expect a natural employee churn rate. It differs depending on the industry you’re in, but the average turnover in Australia is around 8.5%.

But 2020 was different. Let’s take the example of a sales rep at a tech company (we’ll call her Myra).

At the beginning of March 2020, Myra was ready to leave her job. She’d been with the company for a respectable five years, but wasn’t feeling challenged, didn’t feel valued by her manager, and couldn’t see any opportunities for promotion in the near future.

Myra is highly employable and confident that she could snap up a new role with ease. She reached out to a couple of recruiters and started drafting her resignation letter.

Then, Covid hit. Myra watched in alarm as businesses everywhere reacted with hiring freezes. The jobs market dried up overnight and Myra realised that quitting her job in that climate would be an incredibly risky move.

So, she waited. She waited throughout the whole of 2020, unhappy in her role but determined to stay where she was until the economy recovered.

Now, in mid-2021, businesses are hiring once more and job vacancies are surging amid a candidate-short market. Myra dusts off her resignation letter, books a meeting with her manager, and resigns.  

And Myra is certainly not alone. If everyone who would normally have resigned in 2020 has delayed the move until the economy showed signs of recovery, employers have every reason to expect a sudden resignation boom.

Covid stress leads to employee burnout

Remote working. Childcare. Home schooling. Zoom calls. Frantic strategy meetings. The Covid crisis has been an incredibly tough period for businesses and their employees.

For many organisations, redundancies have meant that remaining team members have had to work doubly hard to fill the gaps. This has translated into additional responsibilities, late nights, and steep learning curves. Hanging over all of this is the persistent fear of more volatility and further job losses. There’s little wonder that 2020-21 has seen a spike in mental health issues.

Often, leaving a job is the only remedy for burnout, particularly when employees realise their health is at stake.

Covid epiphanies

Finally, there’s the phenomenon of Covid epiphanies.

Epiphanies are those “what-am-I-doing-with-my-life” realisations that people have after going through a significant experience, such as a divorce, the death of a loved one …. or a global pandemic.

These epiphanies could take several forms, such as deciding to:

  • Prioritise work-life balance or family over career progression.
  • Quit work to return to full-time study.
  • Find a fully remote role after experiencing its benefits during lockdown.
  • Start your own business.
  • Take a risk and take a leap, such as quitting your job.

So, you can see why employers are now facing a triple-threat situation that could very soon lead to a resignation boom.

Let’s look at two ways to mitigate its impacts.

1. Retain top performers with an evidence-based plan

Let’s be realistic: in many cases it’s impossible to retain an employee who has made up their mind to leave. But every top performer that you do manage to retain is a win for your organisation by keeping productivity up and saving thousands in recruiting, onboarding and ramping costs.

Boost retention by showing your top performers that they have the potential to go a long way in your organisation. This doesn’t mean making vague allusions to potential promotions at an unspecified date. Instead, show them the evidence supporting their internal mobility across multiple paths.

With AbilityMap, you can present top performers with evidence that they fit the X-Factors for management and leadership roles, or roles that they’ve never considered. Engage them with conversations such as: “You’ve been doing a great job in this area, but check out these two other areas where AbiltyMap demonstrates you’re extremely well suited – what’s your interest in developing in that direction?”

2. Attract top talent before your competitors do

There’s a flipside to the resignation boom. Yes, you will lose some employees, but there will also be a wave of top talent entering the market.

The challenge is to snap up top performers first. Get proactive by sharpening up your employee value proposition now, and make sure your recruitment process is efficient and ready to launch.

Recruiters and HR departments can mine their existing candidate pools for talent. Using AbilityMap’s Matching Engine, issue invitations to prior applicants and give them value with a personalised Strengths Report.  They’ll appreciate it and if the evidence shows they are a high-fit with the capabilities you need, get a hold of them and present jobs in your company for which they are uniquely suited to be successful.

Checklist for retaining and attracting top talent in the post-Covid resignation boom

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Stay informed

Keep your finger on the pulse of the jobs market as the economy recovers
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Talk to your team

Have direct conversations about some of the factors that may be causing team members to consider resigning, such as COVID-inspired burnout.
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Double down on retention strategies

Use AbilityMap to show your top performers they have plenty of future opportunities within your organisation.

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Snap up new talent in the market

While you may lose some great employees, the resignation boom also offers a chance to gain top talent. Be ready to move fast by using AbilityMap to optimise your hiring results, reduce hiring expense and speed time-to-identification of best fits.

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