Create an abundance mindset amid the Great Resignation

Experts explain how company connection endures even after resignation, at the HR Indaba Online.

Eager attendees gathered at the virtual auditorium for a riveting discussion on “The Great Resignation: Understanding its impact on the war for talent” during HR Indaba Online 2022.

Also known as the Big Quit, the ongoing economic trend is focused on employees who are voluntarily resigning from their jobs en masse, beginning in early 2021, primarily in the US.

Ncumisa Mtshali, executive head of human resources at Bryte Insurance, Zain Reddiar, independent consultant at Samsung Africa, and Roshni Gajjar, MD of StratAstute Consulting offered expert insight into how the trend is unfolding in corporate South Africa and ways in which employers can equip their arsenal in a post-pandemic talent war.

“We need to understand the trends and levers to manifest something external to use. Most people resign in their first year and that allows HR to reflect on levers like talent acquisition and onboarding. We can look at the talent acquisition process, at how we land people in the organisation and how we market the role. It’s about more than ticking the box that the role was filled in 30 days,” Zain said.

He added, “You will have resignations and it’s about how the organisation prepares for that. Skills are the new currency going forward. People need to work across streams and we need to find ways to press different levers simultaneously as HR. For example, balancing employees with institutional knowledge with the younger generation who prefer project work and then they move on.”

Ncumisa agreed that despite a company’s best efforts to develop and retain talent, employees may still choose to leave. “We look at a number of factors proactively, including culture, value proposition, leadership ethos and experience as well as remuneration. We are not naïve about the fact that people will leave, but we aim to minimise that, impact their careers in a positive way and create continuity for the organisation,” she said.

Ncumisa further believes that as a developing country, now also competing in a global marketplace, South Africa has room to create more conducive and less prescriptive ways of working. “We need to be more flexible and less prescriptive. The benefits we offer, like pension and provident funds and medical aid are governed, but we are not asking employees if this is what they want. These benefits made sense in the past, but do not necessarily appeal to younger employees,” she said.

She added, “Employees don’t want a set menu of predetermined benefits, they want to choose and pick what meets their needs. We hire adults who know what’s good for them and being less prescriptive will allow us to co-create with employees and within the context that they need.”

Roshni noted that resigning is a big decision and not something that an employee does lightly. “People are looking at pay. Across the world inflation is increasing and at the same time as a result of the pandemic, people have gained self-confidence and a sense of personal identity,” she said.

She advised attendees to see employees as more than one-dimensional beings, rather viewing them through a multi-stakeholder lens. “Your employee today is your customer of tomorrow and even your supplier in future. Rather than placing people in a specific category box, think of employees as multi-dimensional. The power of connection needs to be brought back into how we engage,” she said.

This was further substantiated by Zain, who highlighted that mindsets needed to change. “If you treat employees badly when they need you, then there will be little connection to the brand. However, if they are people ambassadors while they work for you, they will continue to be brand ambassadors when they leave the company. There is nothing greater than being able to touch someone’s life in a meaningful way,” he said.

“We need to shift ourselves as HR people and stop operating in fear. Be abundant and see people as people. When we do that, we’ll change the world,” he added.