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Cultural shift, transparency key to retaining employees during the Great Resignation

The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has certainly caused the winds of employment to shift in an unconventional breeze. More and more employees seem enthused by the prospect of dipping their toe into the deep ends of uncertainty of entrepreneurship and the ‘great beyond’ of the traditional job market.

First coined in 2019, the ongoing ‘great resignation’ has seen a multitude of workers hand in their walking papers and go onto another avenue of life. According to Global TV Winnipeg, almost half of employers in that city (48 per cent) have seen a labour shortage, particularly when filling restaurant and retail vacancies.

“I’m surprised by this,” said director of human resources of Legacy Bowes, Tory McNally. “Young people used to thrive in restaurants. They must be looking at Tiktok to make money.”

Numbers high among age groups, diverse communities
According to Canadian Underwriter Magazine, the greatest factor towards deciding to hand in your resignation depends on the same thing employers look at when filling a new role: experience.

Published by Vancouver-based Ian Cook in his paper Who is Driving the Great Resignation? In the years 2020 to 2021, an increase of nearly 20 per cent of resignations from year to year among those aged 30 to 45; the age of younger workers however, actually decreased, driven likely by greater financial instability and a reduced demand for entry level workers.

“Some people, more experienced ones, are on the cusp of retirement,” says McNally. “They have done the math. They have figured ‘it’s a pandemic. I’m not going to be traveling.’ They are more enticed to take the plunge.” Other factors that are driving this trend include time between promotions, the size of particular pay increases, tenure and training opportunities.

McNally does send out a rather interesting critique toward compensation: be warned. “If you’re going to use compensation, you have to be able to take care of more experienced employees [first],” McNally says from her office via Zoom link in Winnipeg .“You wouldn’t want to compensate someone and give out a large jelly donut when others are also getting stiffed.”

Culture, diversity playing a huge role in retaining employees
At a global webinar promoted by the World Trade Centre Winnipeg, entitled ‘Great attraction in the Great Resignation,’ several factors point to transparency and diversity being key among retaining current employees as well as attracting new ones.

“People are challenging the status quo, and trying to find more in their current situations,” says Jayce Toet, a partner at Equity HR Solutions. “This is a dynamic candidates market. And candidates are exercising a lot of options.”

With diversity, candidates are said to look at that as a factor, despite the fact that it may not be a part of the job’s title. “We are into a huge cultural change,” says McNally. “There seems to be a lot of investment in diversity and development. A focus on that and inclusion, particularly in Manitoba [with a lot of focus on the Indigenous community]. Those are things that are relevant to society, even if it’s not in the workplace.”

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