Top tips to ensure your SME doesn’t experience another great resignation in 2023

The severity of the skills shortage saw 46 per cent of small and 40 per cent of medium businesses with operations impacted to a great extent. Inflation rates in 2022 caused real wages to shrink by as much as three per cent.

Until wages catch up to the consumer price index (CPI), expect the pursuit of higher salaries and resignations to continue.

As an experienced recruiter and business owner, here are my tips to avoid another great resignation in 2023:

Get close to your team

Never have your people skills been more called upon. Remember, your employees are humans and every human is uniquely different in the way they think, feel and act. Know your employees well, including their lives outside of work. What might cause pressures, such as elderly parents, sick children, partners regularly travelling for work etc.

Working capital items are understandably attended to, looked after and serviced. Our human capital is no different, requiring expert and meticulous attention. How regular and consistent are your catch-ups; what do you really know about your employee’s motivations and workplace issues? Listen and seek to understand from their perspective, not yours and reserve judgement.

Remunerate according to market

In our current times, no matter the research conducted, salary and benefits sit in the top two positions of reasons people are leaving their jobs. I am not advocating sky-high salaries or paying above market. However, do remunerate fairly and equally.

Many businesses have already paid generously in 2022 and might not have the budget to increase much further. Whilst benefits are not a substitute for competitive salaries; there are some worthwhile considerations, such as flexibility to work from home (saving on commuting costs), additional superannuation contributions, health care or performance bonuses.

Don’t wait for exit interviews, conduct-stay interviews

Why wait to discover the reasons your employees are leaving? Unless you are incredibly adept at influencing, the chances of turning the decision around are low. If you do, welcome to the waiting room, anticipating the next change of heart. Instead, start 2023 off with a series of stay interviews. Discover the reasons why people enjoy their job. The exercise of provoking thoughts in this area reinforces positive feelings and attitudes. It’s contagious and has a power unto itself when said out loud.

Your environment

Nevermore than now do we know the effects of toxic cultures and the resulting impact of resignations. Your employees want to work in an environment where they feel comfortable, psychologically safe and aligned with their own values. Don’t let your initiatives be idle tokens or gestures. Authenticity and transparency are key. As we enter 2023, expect to prove any socially responsible initiatives purported.

If not already, become a Diversity Council Australia (DCA) member. You have access to tools and initiatives assisting all businesses. Businesses with an inclusive environment see increases in engagement and purpose at work. Finding meaning and a focus beyond self is critical in anchoring your employees and reducing the likelihood of resignations.

Are you a learning environment? Learning environments attract and keep people. With the great reshuffle, the need for reskilling and monumental career opportunities opened up and companies that excel at internal mobility retain employees for an average of 5.4 years.

It might be wise to remember that good and bad coexist in the delicate structure of life, making it possible to renew, regenerate and thrive. If we didn’t have the great resignation, we wouldn’t be talking about the global original wound of workforce fatigue. Issues such as well-being, equality, diversity, flexibility and more would stay in the closet longer. Employees need to be reasonable with expectations, and employers need an open and innovative approach to such nagging issues and outdated practices.