July 20th, 2022 | Sterling

How employers can turn the great resignation into the great re-evaluation

Employer sitting at desk

According to Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent Survey this year, 58% of employees in the UK are currently a flight risk, with 39% open to the right opportunity and 19% actively looking for a new role. While the true impact will differ from one industry sector to another, the war for talent is very real, with more job vacancies in the UK right now than there are candidates for the first time ever. There have always been complex drivers influencing employee career decisions, but in a post-pandemic world where many people are re-evaluating major life decisions, a new dynamic has been thrown into the mix. Pay will always be a significant motivator, but is there more to long-term employee recruitment and retention than high salaries?

For some businesses, now may be the time to re-evaluate hiring programs. But is it possible for employers to re-engineer their proposition to candidates and employees in a way that will help to overcome the challenges of the great resignation? These were the hot topics of conversation in Sterling’s round table session at Ceridian’s recent Dayforce event, and which we summarise in this post.

Re-optimising hiring programs with an enhanced employee value proposition

The central objective right now for many organisations is simply to attract candidates and get them in position as soon as possible, and due to the ongoing war for talent, some businesses are having to think a little outside the box. In recent weeks we have seen EasyJet offering a £1,000 bonus to new and existing staff and British Airways offering a similar ‘Golden Hello’ in the battle to recruit new staff. But motivations are changing, and money may not be the same motivator it once was. Post-pandemic, many people are searching for an improved work-life balance, whether that be to spend more time with the family and follow leisure pursuits, or to take their career in a completely different direction.

How are businesses choosing to compete when it comes to attracting new talent? In some instances, they may instead focus on benefits such as unlimited vacation days, wellness days, or more flexible hours to fit around school runs or other non-work commitments. Other employers have adopted a four-day working week, which some businesses are finding to be of particular appeal to the younger generation of employees coming through. Likewise, paid volunteer days are proving to be a valuable benefit to some candidates.

By focusing on these things and promoting them in job descriptions, via social media, or in conversation with candidates, employers are developing a more attractive recruitment brand and beginning to distinguish themselves as an employer of choice in the new world.

In addition, there may also be benefits which might previously have been seen as gimmicks, such as free cinema tickets or regular staff days out to theme parks, but which may now act as a deciding factor between candidates picking one employer over another!

When an employer has a final candidate, they are quite often not just that particular employer’s candidate, but someone else’s too. It’s not unusual to have two or three employers fighting for the same candidate. It is for this reason, that businesses may want to consider some of the above examples to help become an employer of choice.

Is it time to re-visit company values?

Company values, and the act of culturally embedding them within an organisation, has never been more important. Candidates are questioning what potential employers stand for, and so communicating these values to potential new staff members needs to be an objective for many HR teams.

As we’ve covered in previous posts, in an increasingly remote world, it’s not as simple as it once was for new employees to feel immediately engaged with company values, and so this has become a key part of any remote onboarding program.

One way some businesses are measuring success and gauging feedback on culture, is to perform frequent ‘pulse’ surveys. A significant number of businesses implemented such polls during the pandemic to get a sense of how staff were feeling, and many of those organisations continue to find these pulse checks to be an effective way of gathering feedback. A recent example of using this insight to effect cultural change comes from Ceridian, who used survey feedback to create meeting-free Fridays — another example of something which could be a real differentiator in the eyes of potential candidates!

Even when employers position their values well and have the right employee brand proposition in place and they secure the candidate, many are finding that their new hire may pull out before they start day 1 in the job, or start but then leave within the first month. In some cases, this may reflect the current re-evaluation of life and the fact that many candidates are no longer willing to hang around in a job they don’t like. That’s where the applicant and employee experience comes in…

What does a good user experience look like from a candidate perspective?

A good or bad review on sites such as Glassdoor, or simply by word of mouth, can make or break employer reputation in the eye of candidates. Deliver a poor experience and not only could an employer lose that candidate, but they could lose future applicants due to the way negative experiences are so often shared in today’s world.

Many hiring firms are re-evaluating what a good candidate experience looks like and are analysing every step of the candidate journey from job advert to day 1 in the role, often striving for something that is seamless, hassle free, personlised, and in many instances automated. Fortunately, there is technology out there to help achieve this objective, including when it comes to background screening. A great example here is Sterling’s Candidate Hub, which provides a native mobile experience, enables an efficient and complete way for candidates to manage their screening process, and even provides forms in local languages, all of which allows candidates to complete their details sooner and helps employers to hire faster.  

In addition, good technology will usually come with robust reporting, something which employers are finding more crucial than ever as Talent Acquisition leaders look to analyse recruitment processes. Again, this is where a screening provider like Sterling can deliver easy-to-access reporting with actionable insights.

Getting onboarding right

We’ve already mentioned the increased prevalence of staff who are hired and then leave during the first few weeks. A strong onboarding program will result in fewer candidates leaving and ensure a more engaged employee. A lot of resource is spent in the candidate sourcing, recruiting, and selection stages, but sometimes the onboarding process fails to get the same level of attention and investment.  

Good onboarding requires input from many different members of an organisation, from leadership to site leaders, to IT and even marketing — not just recruiters! Whether remote or more centrally based, ensuring new starters have the right IT and infrastructure set-up is a simple but crucial step that can be too easily overlooked, especially when onboarding high volumes of candidates. In addition, if a new starter is going to be office-based or have training at an office location, hiring teams should make sure they actually have colleagues in the office when they arrive. This is also a key time for new starters to be introduced to a company’s culture. In a remote world, both of these things may take considerable planning.

It may also be time to re-think some of the onboarding processes for the benefit of the candidate and the employer. For instance, could there be more flexibility as to when people can start in relation to screening? For instance, is it viable to allow candidates to join even if only halfway through their checks?

Ultimately, onboarding has to be a lot more intentional, especially in a hybrid world.

Is the great resignation an opportunity for a great re-evaluation?

For many employers, re-evaluating hiring is actually becoming as much about shifting to retention as it is about just hiring, with a focus on holistic workforce management. Some businesses are beginning to realise, if they are struggling to get more people due to a finite talent pool, they must look at both retention and how they better use the staff they already have.

Whether or not it’s about competitive benefits, providing a better hiring and onboarding experience, or a strategic reflection on workforce management, will vary depending on the industry sector, types of job roles and the candidates they’re looking to attract. One thing is certain however, and that is that money is not the same motivator that it was pre-pandemic, so maybe the great resignation is really an opportunity for a great re-evaluation.


This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.