Staff Retention – The Great Resignation

The 'Great Resignation', also known as the 'Big Quit' and the 'Great Reshuffle', is an ongoing economic trend in which employees have voluntarily resigned from their jobs en-masse, beginning in early 2021.

Possible causes include wage stagnation amid rising cost of living, long-lasting job dissatisfaction, concerns post COVID-19 pandemic, and the desire to work for companies with better remote-working policies.

‘The unemployment rate for January to March 2022 decreased by 0.3 percentage points on the quarter to 3.7%. For the first time since records began, there are fewer unemployed people than job vacancies in the UK.’

‘The number of job vacancies in February to April 2022 rose to a new record of 1,295,000’

Some statistics which are directly attributable to this notion and seem to be trending across all sectors and specialisms without discrimination.

In July, Rutherford Briant hosted an in-person and virtual client seminar to discuss the key factors affecting employer engagement, market pressures and the reasons we are seeing candidates leave businesses as well as some great strategies and best practice for preventing staff turnover.

As a regional specialist recruitment business, we were able to offer insights from both and Recruitment Agency perspective as well as seeing through the lens of an employer looking to attract and retain our own staff. Our objective was to share our experiences, findings and strategies that have worked for us on both sides of the coin.

For those in attendance in both sessions, its safe to say the pain points weren’t dissimilar. Management and leadership attempting to navigate the issue while maintaining manpower needed to keep firms operating was the common theme. So, lets talk about our approach to tackling ‘The Great Resignation’


Best practice for any Employer in 2022 looking to improve staff attraction and retention rates:

Internal Comms - Wherever possible offer transparency and clarity, what are the objectives of the business, it’s vision to keep moving forward and what part does each individual have to play (and of course, be rewarded for).

External Comms – Own it and manage it good & bad. There have been many examples in the press of late where organizations have not held up their hands to their shortcomings thus further damaging the brand reputation. If you take the pandemic as an example, those who have thrived have been the ones who haven’t accepted just surviving as an option, they have adopted a creative mindset and diversified, taking their employees on the journey with them.  

Employee Engagement - a long and constant not an overnight fix. Regularly collect employee feedback via multiple channels (surveys, forums, 1-2-1’s) having an employee champion the drive is a powerful approach and often returns much more accurate data than if a forum was run by management.

Rutherford Briant recently carried out a full review of its own Employee Benefits, the project was managed by the directors but the lynchpin and person that got all the ‘real answers’ was one of our Senior Consultants who was able to converse ‘peer to peer’ confidentiality. The outcome, a much better-balanced offering which met the needs of the whole team – not just the ones happy to openly share their views.

Fix the problem, don’t just keep hiring - Some might ask why, as a recruitment business, we wouldn’t recommend that business just keep hiring during this time – the simple answer is that, in line with our own company objective/vision ‘Building better businesses through great hires and making career goals become a reality’, papering over the cracks in the long term achieves very little and contributes towards greater frustration and waste of time and resources. Identifying the issues is key to tackling the high-turnover trends and flattening out the hike in staff turnover.

Clarity – Development Pathways - Do employees all understand the development pathways they are on to reach their personal goals, and more importantly what is required of them to get there? Do they have regular check points with their managers to review achievements? What are the next steps and expectations from both sides?

Having ourselves introduced a Developmental Performance matrix in 2020, we have seen the positive outcomes that a structure for career progression can deliver. In the last 12 months alone, we are delighted that we have been able to award more than 10 promotions. And in a recent Employee Engagement Survey we recorded that 100% of staff either agreed or strongly agreed that they ‘always know what is expected of me when it comes to my own goals and objectives’ likewise, 100% agreed that ‘I have the opportunity and support in place to progress at Rutherford Briant’.

Salaries - Very much a key factor and one of the top-rated reasons as to why employees jump ship. As an agency, we recognize that over 50% of all offers made to candidates will be counter offered by their current employer and often matched or exceeded. The danger here is that not reviewing pay and reward regularly and being realistic as to the ‘going rate’ at any level could spell trouble further down the line and cost businesses much more in the long term. Not forgetting also, that candidates are in high demand, they often find that they have multiple offers on the table – knowing market rate and being prepared to offer it swiftly and decisively puts firms in a much better position and increases their chances of an acceptance.

Flexible Working - A hot topic for quite some time now. The bottom line in today’s employment market is that WFH arrangements are no longer a ‘perk’ but very much an expectation in some guise. The pandemic changed the way of the working world to the point of no return. Employers don’t just prefer flexibility; they very much expect it as standard. This of course is an ongoing balancing act for employers, how to achieve a team-feel, resolve management challenges such as induction and reviews, and of course the fairness-factor while offering the flexibility that has become very much the norm – no easy task.  


Rutherford Briant are very happy to hold a Staff Attraction and Retention review with any of our clients, old or new, and are on hand to offer further insight and support for specific issues as they arise. Please do get in touch by calling 01371 832 922  

Posted by: Amanda Sainter