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15 August 2022

Surviving and thriving through 'the Great Resignation'

The Covid-19 pandemic represents the most significant labour market disruptor in recent times. While many roles that were lost at the beginning of the pandemic have now returned, employers are struggling to fill open positions as workers re-evaluate their lives and careers and weigh up other opportunities. In such a tight labour market, how can employers attract ideal candidates for roles and retain them for the long term?

The MyHR SME Salary and Employment Report shows that staff turnover increased by 58.2 percent nationally between April 1 2021 and March 31 2022, up 10 percent over the 12-month period. This study, which measured more than 1250 New Zealand companies, highlights ‘the Great Resignation’ staff churn, and the need for employers to find innovative ways to combat current challenges.

Man and woman walking in an office

Understanding what employees value

Crombie Lockwood Executive People and Culture, Scott Cresswell says that as the war for talent is likely to continue for some time, it’s never been more important for employers to understand what employees value in both an organisation and a role.

“Against the backdrop of increasing economic turbulence and a competitive labour market, the need for employers to understand what employees value and provide benefits that offer a meaningful advantage will only become more vital.”

Knowing what attracts, engages and retains employees is crucial to workforce stability and, by association, productivity says Scott.

“Trends in our local market indicate that compensation and, increasingly, work life balance are key reasons for leaving a role as well as in attracting and engaging employees. But employees also highly value other factors, including manager quality, respect and workplace location.”

Benefits beyond the pay packet

As employees’ desire for enhanced benefits intensifies, their expectations on what makes a well-rounded work environment have expanded beyond just an agreeable pay rate.

Scott says employees are increasingly seeking a work environment that suits their personal needs and interests — whether that’s working remotely, customising their benefits package, finding an employer whose values match their own or a company culture that appeals to them. Employers hoping to retain their workforce must find ways to accommodate these expectations.

“It could be that unconventional benefits best meet what your employees value. Start by thinking about the needs of employee groups you are looking to retain,” Scott says.

“For example, in order to help early-career employees advance financially and prevent talent loss offshore, one New Zealand company agreed to match student loan repayments up to a set amount per annum.

Others have also prevented offshore talent loss by providing purchased leave options so employees can take extended breaks and travel.”

Rather than focusing only on assisting employees to financially secure their future, organisations are choosing to help their workforce benefit in the here-and-now as well.

Scott says that in an effort to meet employees’ needs for a better work-life balance, more employers are offering wellbeing-related initiatives.

“These benefits range from traditional employee assistance programme services through to flexible working arrangements, such as work from home options to combat location challenges, employer- funded insurance options such as group medical or life insurance schemes, or new categories of leave."

Employer-funded employee benefit plans such as group medical insurance policies are an effective way of supporting employees’ health and wellbeing says Scott. And with group medical cover, employees can gain prompt access to a private medical provider instead of facing delays in our under-pressure public health system, which is highly beneficial at the moment,” comments Scott.

He says that there is also a surge in other types of initiatives such as learning and development programmes to help individuals and businesses succeed. For example a rise in the use of hybrid teams during and post-pandemic has significantly increased the need for manager skills development.

How Crombie Lockwood can help

Our employee benefits specialists develop and manage workplace life and health insurance policies for corporate and commercial companies and their staff throughout New Zealand. 

Employer-funded policies can offer attractive benefits such as full cover for pre-existing health conditions and lower employer premiums from group discounts.

For more information on how we can design, implement and support an employee benefits programme please contact us. 

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