How Businesses Can Prevent their Employees Joining the Great Resignation


Why is the Great Resignation UK still happening?

How can you prevent it and strengthen employee retention? 


How Businesses Can Prevent their Employees Joining the Great Resignation

Employee turnover has always been a reality for organisations. While it can be a challenge, during a ‘normal’ economic climate most businesses can handle the comings and goings of even their best and most experienced talent.

However, ever since the initial Covid-19 lockdowns have come to an end, voluntary staff churn has skyrocketed.

Dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’, back in 2021 a quarter of all UK workers were considering leaving their jobs within three to six months.

However, more than two years on from the outbreak of the pandemic that disrupted economies all over the world, is the Great Resignation in the UK still happening?

Why is the Great Resignation UK still happening?

As countries around the world started to open up again following Covid lockowns, the beginnings of the Great Resignation were predicted.

“The Great Resignation is coming,” said Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University.

“When there’s uncertainty, people tend to stay put, so there are pent-up resignations that didn’t happen over the past year.”

During the lockdowns that were in place across the UK, Europe and the US, businesses stopped hiring and workers chose to stay put to ensure the stability they needed. For example, the UK furlough scheme wasn’t available to recent hires, while we all know the ‘last in, first out’ mantra when it comes to redundancies.

However, despite the UK economy having been fully open for several months, resignations are still above pre-pandemic levels:

Source: Office for National Statistics, Total job to job moves by reason for a job move

So what’s behind the continuation of the Great Resignation?

Currently, there is a record low ratio of unemployed people to job vacancies: 1.1:1.

This dynamic has given employees much more power in the labour market, able to demand higher salaries and better conditions. If you’ve become disengaged from your current job, it’s not as difficult as it once was to find a new one.


How can you prevent it and strengthen employee retention?

Your best people have never been in higher demand, but fortunately there are things you can do to ensure they don’t become part of the Great Resignation.

So what can you do as a business to improve employee retention?

Start an open dialogue with your employees—ask them what they want and listen to what they say

It’s not always obvious when an employee is unhappy in their job and considering their options. Think you have an engaged workforce? You won’t know for sure unless you ask them.

Encourage line managers to check-in with their team members regularly. Are they satisfied with their current progression plan? Do they feel as though their employee wellbeing is being supported? You could even survey your employees anonymously to get their true feelings about the organisation and what they think should be improved.

However, asking them is just half the battle. When they give their answer, listen to them. Your workforce is twice as likely to be actively disengaged if they feel as though they’re being ignored by management.

Focus on their health and wellbeing

Employers and employees alike recognise the importance of prioritising wellbeing in the workplace, but if your organisation isn’t one of them, you run the risk of losing your best people to businesses that do.

Almost two thirds of employees surveyed by Paychex and Future Workplace identified employee wellbeing as key when deciding on a new job role, so you can be sure it’s also a factor in deciding to leave a role.

But how do you support employee wellbeing?

At Sodexo Engage we consider wellbeing to be made up of three ‘pillars’: physical, mental and financial wellbeing. All three need to be supported to ensure the employee is happy and engaged at work.

Put wellness initiatives in place that cater to each element of wellbeing. For example:

  1. Financial wellbeing: Money worries are one of the biggest causes of stress in UK adults, and with the current cost of living crisis impacting families across the country, this has never been more true. However, financial wellbeing is not all about increasing salaries. Solutions such as employee discounts and salary sacrifice schemes can help your employees’ money go further, while empowering them to continue doing the things that make them happy.
  2. Physical wellbeing: cycle to work schemes are a great way to encourage your employees to get more exercise, improving mental health, self-esteem and cognitive function in the process.
  3. Mental wellbeing: An Employee Assistance Programme is a direct (and one of the most effective) ways you can support your employees’ mental wellbeing. Our EAP will connect your team with counsellors fully accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), with 24/7 availability to confidential support.

Analyse your employee benefits

Do you offer your employees benefits aside from a competitive salary? Too many organisations think that offering the statutory minimum benefits, such as 28 days of annual leave (including bank holidays) and workplace pension is enough, but the organisations acquiring and retaining the best people go further.

Again, it’s worth asking your employees about what they’d value when it comes to employee benefits.

Remember, this isn’t about rewarding good performance (we’ll get onto that shortly), but providing benefits for simply being an employee of the organisation. This might include:

  • Online cashback through a dedicated Employee Benefits Platform. For example, at Sodexo Engage we can offer over 400 cashback offers, including on the weekly shop, savings on holidays, new tech and weekend activities.
  • Salary sacrifice schemes, for example travel season tickets, annual leave purchase and childcare vouchers.
  • Wellbeing initiatives that support every aspect of an employee’s wellbeing, including an EAP programme, health screenings and financial support.

Sign up to an employee rewards programme

We’ve talked about implementing benefits for all employees, but recognition of a job well done is also important—particularly when it comes to retention. In fact, organisations that implement recognition programmes have 31% lower voluntary staff churn.

Our employee rewards programme is designed to incentivise performance, improve workplace engagement and contribute to a great company culture. We offer a wide range of vouchers, eVouchers and gift cards, and our dedicated team will work with you to identify the perfect rewards package for your business.

Want to find out more about how we can help you improve retention and stop your business falling foul of the Great Resignation? Our expert team have years of experience between them and are best placed to advise on the best benefits, rewards and recognition solutions for your organisation.

Get in touch with us today.