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Turning The Great Resignation Around

In this special episode, Rubitek's founder and CEO, Kerry Linley talks to Talent Consultant Rhiannon Stafford about 'The Great Resignation' which is apparently a global phenomenon. After a bit of a break from podcasting, Kerry and Rhiannon explore this timely issue, and talk about the mass exodus impacting employers across the globe, as well as buckets and human boomerangs (it'll make sense when you listen, we promise!).

Cover artwork for Rubitek Talks podcast featuring a picture of Kerry Linley
Rubitek Talks Podcast: The great retention

Rhiannon who is based in Leicestershire, helps ambitious organisations create awesome employee experiences and believes that The Great Resignation is nothing new, and actually presents employers with an opportunity.

Transcript

Kerry Linley: I am here today with the rather wonderful Rhiannon Stafford from Blue Grape Talent. Rhiannon is the founder of Blue Grape Talent and is a Development Consultant working with Directors and Senior Execs.

Rhiannon, can you give our listeners a bit of an insight into what that work entails.

Rhiannon Stafford: Yeah, sure, and thank you so much for asking me, I feel very flattered to be here. So, what I do? I work with Organisations to help them create what I call ‘awesome employee experiences’, because I really believe that employees deliver levels of customer service that reflect their own experience of the organisation. So, you can kind of see it coming, disengaged employees tend to lead to disengaged customers. So, how I help Organisations, well I’ll do this through a blend of Leadership Development, Leadership Coaching and Talent Development systems, which collectively I think is the best way to drive your employee experience.

Kerry Linley: Just touching on that then, do you tend to find that the organisations that reach out for help from consultants like you do so because they are seeing the impact of that disconnect of their employees in their customers’ behaviour, or do they recognise that it’s a challenge and they want to prevent it before it happens? Or are you seeing a mix of both types of organisation?

Rhiannon Stafford: Do you know, I think it’s a bit of both. I think mostly its organisations that have not yet experienced the problem. They recognise that if they don’t do something, they are going to experience the problem. So, I think they are the best clients to work with, because they are the ones that prevent: they are not there yet, but they know if they don’t do something very soon, then they are not going to be able to compete, or to grow, or to transform, in the direction that they want to.

Kerry Linley: And that leads us really nicely in, to the thing that we are here to talk about today, which is ‘The Great Resignation’ and it’s really great to have you talking about this. It’s an American term that’s often also referred to as ‘The Big Quit’ and the ‘Great Reshuffle’. We both work in the field of people development, so what can you tell me about what ‘The Great Resignation’ is and what’s caused it?

Rhiannon Stafford: Well, wow, I mean, this is massive isn’t it, you know, what is it? I think, it is this kind of a phenomenon of, apparently, we’ve got droves and droves of employees that are leaving their jobs, hence the kind of ‘The Great Resignation’ or ‘The Great Quit’, and that this is something new and something that we’ve never experienced before.

Kerry Linley: Sounds quite scary.

Rhiannon Stafford: Doesn’t it just! And do you know, every day, whatever I’m reading, whether I’ve seen something online or on the news, they’re always talking about ‘The Great Resignation’. So, there is a big part of me if I’m honest Kerry that thinks a lot of this has been blown up by the media. This is a great way to sell a newspaper and to sell a story. But I don’t think it's hugely new, if I’m honest. I think it’s, I’m not going to disagree, it’s a big issue right now, but actually we haven’t, if we think back to not very long ago, the idea of this great resignation, didn’t we start talking about a war on talent, or a war for talent rather, back in the late 90s?

Kerry Linley: Yes, yes, we did.

Rhiannon Stafford: And I think this is just the next stage and the next progression on from there. So, we’ve kind of seen for a while now the labour market changing and rather than (this is going to be quite extreme) and rather than employers holding all the power and thus employees as being very low in power and low in influence, back in the kind of late 90s, we started to talk about the war for talent, as we started to see increasingly difficult to attract and retain great talent and great employees in our organisations. And I don’t think that the world is, well, the world is quite different compared to then, but I think this situation is very similar. So, this kind of ‘The Great Resignation’, I think it’s the war for talent just come back around again. What do they say about ‘Old sheep in new clothing’ or something like that? I think it’s just, rather than something else, the same thing repeating itself.

Kerry Linley: So, you know, if it’s the same thing by another name, why is it such a big thing at the moment? Why are we talking about it? Where’s the conversation come from?

Rhiannon Stafford: I wonder. So, you know, if we look at the data and being a little bit of a data fiend, I dived into this a couple of weeks ago. If we look at the ONS statistics here in the UK – it’s very interesting, we can see that actually, employee churn rate, so, you know, the proportion of people who moved from one job to another, absolutely did increase and increased quite dramatically throughout 2021. But the level that it’s kind of at, it’s only kind of balanced out the dip that we saw just before the pandemic in 2022. So, we’ve gone from kind of one position, then we saw a big dip where we saw far fewer people leaving jobs, and then very very quickly we’ve seen that increase back up again. But if you look back further into the data, the level of attrition for people wanting to change and to move jobs right now, it’s very similar if not the same back to the very early 2000s, you know to 2001, when we were talking about this war for talent. So, I don’t think, we’re not seeing anything that’s a particularly more difficult situation, but what we have seen is a real dramatic change, almost literally swing from one end of the spectrum to another in a far shorter space and time, so in the last kind of two years, employers have gone from one position to another and then right up again to another place. So, I think maybe that’s why we’re talking about it. It’s not that now we’ve got so many more people leaving than we ever have done, but we’ve seen quite a dramatic change in a short space of time, really since the pandemic.

Kerry Linley: And do we know why people are resigning from their jobs on mass, as the hype would lead us to believe, and making the decision to, I don’t know, are they looking at changing jobs, are they retiring, are they leaving the job market altogether and you know, going to live in the middle of the forest somewhere. What’s happening and what’s driving the behaviour change?

Rhiannon Stafford: Oh, that’s sounds absolutely lovely - living in the middle of the forest somewhere. I think there’s just so many things, isn’t it quite often where we hear now about the perfect storm, so, so many different global events coming together at same time and you know, some of the things are or have been happening for a while, so we’ve known for a long time that employees’ expectations, not just from work I suppose, yes employees’ expectations in work, but our expectations from life have been starting to change. Gosh, we’ve talked about the millennials coming into the workforce for a long time now, well, they are not going, are they? They are well and truly here and if anything, millennials are going to become a greater proportion of the labour market and we know that their expectations from work and job and life are very very different to some of the more mature generations and now we’ve got generation Z coming through as well, so we’ve got, we’ve had a real shift in people coming into the labour market. But, and here’s just my non-scientific thoughts. For the past two-and a-bit years, our world has changed as well. When did we ever have the opportunity, whether that’s been, you know, welcomed or forced upon us, but throughout lockdown we were told to stay at home, weren’t we? We were told not to go to work and then very many people were furloughed so they physically and financially could afford stay at home and think! I don’t know any other time, definitely in my lifetime and I don’t think in my parents’ lifetime, when we had an opportunity to stop and to think about what on earth is going on and what do we actually want from work and from life as well. So, I wonder if, you know, a number of different things have all come around at the same time, which has just kind of escalated peoples change in expectations. And now we’ve come back after the pandemic and thought ‘you know actually, I don’t want it to be like this anymore’, and then that’s where we’re seeing some people making those decisions about work and if they’re not able to get what they want from their work and their employer, they’re a lot more comfortable to go and look around, find something else to do instead.

Kerry Linley: And I think we know that often times employees don’t move jobs just because of salary, that’s something I’ve certainly experienced as an employer, it’s not about the salary – it’s about things like the ability to work from home or have some kind of a hybrid working arrangement.  That’s clearly a big hot topic at the moment and we’ve seen it in politics and in the media, you know ‘working from home doesn’t work’ versus the big backlash from employees saying: ‘actually working from home does work and you need to trust us’.  Job dissatisfaction, I can’t say that word, I need to put my teeth in.  The rising cost of living, you know, wages have stagnated for a long time. So, I think, possibly what we are seeing is a backlash to all of those things, as you say, it’s that perfect storm.

Rhiannon Stafford: Yeah, I think you’re actually right, yeah.

Kerry Linley: I read just today actually, that resignation levels, well a few things. The sector that I work in which is around building technology. IT, software development type jobs, there’s been a 10% increase in those salaries, practically overnight, there’s been a massive impact. But interestingly, I read today, that resignation levels are particularly high among women and those aged 40 to 45 years old. I’m not suggesting for a minute that that’s the only sector of society that is impacted, but there are some interesting trends coming out of this. I just wonder, are there any interesting trends from those countries that were perhaps a little bit ahead of the curve of us in seeing this Great Resignation, are they starting to see the fallout from that, or are they experiencing, are people returning back, do they regret those decisions?

Rhiannon Stafford: Well, I’m certainly seeing, and yeah, like a lot of these things, the reports are starting to come out from America, I don’t know if they are ahead, more ahead of the curve than us or whether they just do a lot more reporting, but quite a few of the articles I’m seeing now, are suggesting what they are calling ‘boomerang’ hires, so, people who have left, because they think that they can get better salaries, better jobs, they want to leave, so leavers are realising that the grass is not always greener on the other side’. And I think I saw a statistic that something like 4.5% of new hires, were returners, these ‘boomerang’ hires, so people coming back to their jobs, because they realise that outside the grass actually wasn’t any greener. And I suppose that does suggest to us that people are making decisions, maybe not with all the information about what they necessarily do want from another job and found out that actually ‘it’s not quite what I thought it was going to be’. But I’m also seeing anecdotally and I’m hearing from all the kind of HR networks that I’m part of, the impact of this on salaries, and leavers demanding a higher salary, because they can leave and get a higher salary elsewhere. So, yeah, I’m kind of with you on this Kerry, and I don’t think salary is the kind of thing that will retain you, because it might keep you in a job for a little bit longer, but you’ve still got the same frustrations and the same things that were kind of pushing you away from that job a couple of weeks down the road, so in fact, you might have had, you know, a nice meal out on your slightly higher wage increase, but you still have to come back in to work the following Monday, and you’ve still got the same boss, doing the same things, and that same boss who either does talk to you or doesn’t talk to you or you’re still frustrated with the process. It doesn’t actually fundamentally change things, but yeah, there’s definitely movement, but it’s not always movement for the best I don’t think. We are starting to see salaries being increased because people are thinking 'to retain people I need to throw money at them’, but actually it’s not that that’s really keeping people in their jobs for the long term.

Kerry Linley: Do you think as well there’s a bit of a bidding war going on among employers, because there is a lack of candidates in the marketplace available for work, because, you know, they almost can cherry-pick the jobs that they want to go for and therefore, it’s like market forces are at play isn’t it, employers are having to increase what they are offering in order to attract the candidates.

Rhiannon Stafford: That is really interesting. So, that phrase ‘increase what they are offering’. But I do think the first step, the first thing that employers go to - is ‘increase what I’m offering, up money / pay’.

Kerry Linley: Yes.

Rhiannon Stafford: But it’s not always that. But you know, you’re absolutely right, I mean there’s not just anecdotally, there’s statistics that such show us, you know, that the availability of workers, of people to fill jobs is falling and has been falling. I think the last thing I saw, was something like for the 10 successive months, up until December 2021, so, it isn’t just a very here and now, for quite some time the availability of our people on the market to fill jobs is definitely reducing. But isn’t it interesting that the first thing, maybe the first thing or one of the first things that employers go to is, ‘okay, how can I compete by upping salary’, when that actually isn’t the thing that we know that will keep people? It may keep them for a short term, but it aint gonna keep them for a very long term and then you got to kind of think how good was that investment if you do increase someone’s salary? You’re making an investment, are you really getting a return on that investment i.e., do those people actually stay? No, they don’t. Because human beings, we are not that simple. Whether, you know, we like it or not, we are not motivated purely by money, even in this difficult economic climate now. It isn’t just money that motivates us.

Kerry Linley: And I think that should be of some comfort particularly for small employers and micro businesses, who cannot perhaps compete with those huge salaries, and therefore they have to compete in another areas. So, you know, being flexible, having a working environment and a culture that does tick those boxes - is really important in that scenario, because the small business may not be able to offer the huge salaries that a large corporation can.

Rhiannon Stafford: Yeah, you’re right, but do you know what? I also hear the same kind of thing from large corporates, ‘we just don’t have the budgets’, you know, ‘we can’t offer these high salaries’, so I think irrespective of the size of your organisation, yeah, there isn’t a bottomless pit of money right now, is there?

Kerry Linley: No.

Rhiannon Stafford: And that isn’t the only thing that people want. So, you had a statistic a few minutes ago there about, and I’m gonna have to paraphrase slightly, because when you gave me the age category, was it women between 40 and 55?

Kerry Linley: 40 and 45, yes.

Rhiannon Stafford: That’s me! So, I can kind of relate to that and it may be that there is a higher turnover in that category. Well, you know, maybe what we are seeing there, and again it’s not necessarily money, is it, but you get to that point in your life, and you think ‘I want something more and I want something different’. And 40-year-old women, maybe they have got children who are leaving home or who have left home, and actually, there is something more to this life, than just trudging in and out the office every single day and I’ve experienced something different throughout the pandemic and I want that back again, please. So, and I’m not saying that everything revolves around hybrid working or remote working, but how much did we, how difficult did it used to be to request flexible working from employers before the pandemic. The process was there, the law says we could, but very very few employers really did embrace flexible working, and suddenly we found that it did work during the pandemic.

Kerry Linley: It’s a new normal, isn’t it?

Rhiannon Stafford: Well, it is now, isn’t it! I can’t say now, but I’m sure it’s not just women of my age I suppose my daughter and some of my daughters friends, you know, they’re 16, 17, 18 and they, I talk about what my daughter wants from work. She doesn’t see herself going into an office and working for an employer, you know, for the rest of her life, you know, she does want to go into the creative industries which are I think generally a bit you know far more flexible. But, yeah, peoples’ expectations and the younger generations’ expectations of what is a job and what is work - I think now is far different to some of us more mature generations and employers have gotta kind of suck it up and accept that I think.

Kerry Linley: When I remember, you know, being a child, living at home, my mum had a job and my dad had a job and they went out to work and they did an 8 / 9-hour day whatever it was, but they went to a place of work and they did a job and then they came home again. And I grew up with that model. Now your children and my children and everybody else’s children - have witnessed something very very different over the last two years, they, that whole working model that was the norm previously has been flipped on its head, they’ve seen parents working from dining room tables, multi-tasking, you know, supporting home work and school lessons with younger children and then running meetings and having meetings with customers at the dining room table. So, our children have grown up seeing and witnessing something that’s incredibly different.

Rhiannon Stafford: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And our children will soon be entering the labour market.

Kerry Linley: With those expectations!

Rhiannon Stafford: Yeah, absolutely! (laughing) But you know, I don’t think those expectations are too different to some of the younger generations in the labour market now. Millennials, generation Z, you know, for a long time we used to describe the millennials as snowflakes, they can’t concentrate, they flit about, they’re not dedicated enough, they’re not driven enough, though through our eyes they might not be, but actually they’re just different. And these are the employees, not just of the future, but who are here in organisations right now and some of these employees are part of those that are resigning and going to find a different job. So, there’s so much that has happened I think recently, that this term, this Great Resignation term, it’s an easy thing to describe - ’oh and this is what’s happening’, but it’s a little bit more complex to understand why is it happening, but it is happening and we can’t ignore that. But rather than I think describing it as this new or weird or different thing, I think this is gonna start to become the norm and actually arguably if you look back, it probably was the norm throughout the 2000s as well. But we suddenly had this life changing event with the pandemic, that has just brought everybody’s kind of attention here now and escalated some other changes that were bubbling away underneath, all along. So, yeah, I’m getting to the point now, I’m thinking, to call this The Great Resignation - I don’t think that’s the most helpful. It's not a thing, an event we’re gonna get over - this is just now I think how the world of work is going to start to play out in the future.

Kerry Linley: So, my next question then, was going to be around – should employers be concerned? Now, if what you’re saying is this is the new normal and clearly, we need to adapt to it and it sounds like its affecting every age group, every sector and every part of the workplace population across the globe, hence why we need to view it as the new norm, but employers are concerned. Even when you look at recruitment challenges, we’re struggling to find candidates to fill roles. What can employers do about that? How can they stick their heads above the parapet and say ‘we are a good employer, this is what we do differently, this is how we look after our people, and this is what you can expect from us’?

Rhiannon Stafford: Yeah, do you know Kerry, you’re providing some of the solutions there. It is about demonstrating how you are different and the type of work and environment it would be like if I came to join you. And actually, I suppose this is why I think just talking about The Great Resignation is a little bit misleading. For me it’s The Great Retention. So, and doing exactly what you suggested there, how can we help employers not just, you know, survive, but thrive in this new and different labour market? It‘s helping them see that there is something different, it’s not about how can we attract people into the vacancies that we’ve got, because that is gonna be difficult and I think, I'm not saying it's gonna be impossible forever, but the dial has shifted. It is now difficult. Gone are the days when, I remember my very early days working in HR, I could put, you know, an advert up in the store that I worked in, and I would get inundated with job application forms. That doesn’t happen anymore, so, we’re just not there anymore. So, lets switch rather thinking about how do we recruit people, how to attract people, how do we retain them? How do we keep the people that we have got and give them meaningful, interesting, challenging jobs with us? Now, we’ll never keep everybody forever, so I don’t think that’s kind of what I’m suggesting that we do, but particularly we can give people Far more interesting and challenging work, if we understand more about them and what they want as individuals as well. So that would be my suggestion, is don’t put all your eggs in the kind of the attraction, the recruitment attraction basket, there’s a lot of eggs you want to put into your retention basket as well and understanding how do I keep these people, how can I make the most of their skills and their capabilities and give them a meaningful, interesting and challenging job as well.

Kerry Linley: It’s interesting, because it sounds like what you are suggesting, is that we should be having conversations with our people and asking them ‘what it is they’re looking for from their jobs’.

Rhiannon Stafford: Why would we not? (laughing)

Kerry Linley: Why would we not indeed (laughing). But how many employers do actually sit down with their teams and ask them.

Rhiannon Stafford: And you know what, I’d flip that slightly differently and just come and say look, I sound like I’m being really awful, that’s tough! If you’re a manager and you probably, most managers I’ve come across haven’t made a career choice ‘I want to be a manager of people. They made a career choice ‘I want to be an accountant’, ‘I want to be a solicitor’, ‘I want to work in farming’ and then suddenly somewhere along their career they are given people to manage and that’s really tough! When you don’t really wanna do it in the first place but suddenly you’ve got it and now we say to them ‘go and have these really good conversations’ which can be really quite frightening, because conversations, aren’t they things that we have with our mates down the pub, or our partners when we get home or our children.. Do you know it’s putting it in a different context at work and gosh, it’s so scary, that you don’t wanna say the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time, but you’re having a conversation. And that’s my bee in my bonnet, why don’t we help and yeah, invest time energy and effort into developing managers to have the confidence and the competence, the ability to have these conversations and to kind of make it so much easier. And these conversations - it’s just about finding out what your people want, what they can do, what they want from you, what they want to do differently. Wow, what a relationship you’d start to develop at work and that’s the kind of boss I’d want to stay and work for. Somebody that talks to me, that cares about me and understands what I want and helps me get there. That’s when I’m gonna start to give a bit more discretionary effort. But I do totally accept it’s a tough job for some managers to do, when you weren’t expecting this ‘oh I've gotta manage people and it’s all about this stuff now!’ Gosh! That’s hard work for them!

Kerry Linley: It’s a good point, isn’t it, because as you say, you know, you train to be an accountant or a solicitor, a doctor or whatever it might be and then all of a sudden you‘re thrust in to this world of managing people and nothing prepares you for that, there’s no training for it, I don’t think, it’s something that you learn over time and often time you don’t learn the right way or you learn the hard way and..

Rhiannon Stafford: Well, I’d say there is training for it, but you dead right Kerry, we, some of that training is about getting it wrong and making mistakes and kind of the learning from it. But its, I don’t know why we haven’t been so good in this country, we feel very comfortable investing in professional skills, you know, we call it CPD – continual professional development. But we have been less comfortable with paying for what I call management or leadership training, but why not? Cause we don’t just go home on a Friday and wake up on a Monday and become a manager. So, I’m seeing it getting an awful lot better these days, but I still think there’s a little bit of reticence, you know that that will cost us. Absolutely it will cost you something to make sure that your managers can manage your people, but wow, what a return on your investments you’ll get.

Kerry Linley: Well, the alternative is it will cost you if you don’t.

Rhiannon Stafford: (laughing) That’s a good point, yeah! And it will cost you a heck of a lot if you don’t and you get it wrong and then you go to tribunal.

Kerry Linley: So, what can,and this is your sweet spot I guess, what can businesses do, or employers do, to help their directors and execs and managers be better equipped with the tools, the skills that they need to support The Great Retention, to turn this on its head, to prevent the resignation and actually retain their staff.

Rhiannon Stafford: Yeah. Well do you know, I think it’s a couple of really simple small steps, because small steps lead to bigger steps that then lead to kind of a big change and ultimately, I’d love that we can get to the point where organisations, managers – recognise, that developing leaders and managers is an investment. I’d love to get to that point and the investment that will give them a return and really positive return. Okay, but that’s maybe quite different to where we might think of training and development as a cost at the moment. Where can you start? Do you know, there’s some very simple steps to acknowledge and make it okay I suppose for managers who manage other people, to kind of put their hands up and say ‘oh, this is different, this is new’ make it okay for them to come forward and say ‘I’m not quite sure what I've gotta do here’ and make that a nice and a comfortable environment to raise that. To take maybe, here you go, a proportion of what you might spend on recruitment in a year, why don’t you do a bit of an experiment and spend that on developing your managers and your leaders for that year instead? And let’s just kind of see what’s the difference and rather than trying to keep that bucket filling up from the top all the time, what if I invest some of that time, energy, effort and money into developing managers and giving them a little bit more skills to have those conversations as well. Cause you’re right, it’s as simple as starting with ‘How to have a good conversation where the manager and the employee are both adults, on the same wave length, on the same level respecting each other’s perspectives and respecting each other’s needs and wants as well. So that, I think, that’s a small step to start in that right direction and just standing back and seeing what the change, or what the benefit, or outcome of that could be.

Kerry Linley: I think we’d be quite surprised by the outcome, but yeah, it’s a really interesting experiment. So, to summarise then, the world of work has changed, because the world has changed and people expect something different now to what they expected, I don’t know, two to five years ago, we’re talking about that sort of time frame?

Rhiannon Stafford: I think you’re right, it is as short a time as that, because we’ve just gone through so much in these last two years with the pandemic, yeah.

Kerry Linley: And you’ve mentioned there you'd sort of turn this on its head and you’ve gone from, not gone from, cause I don’t think you were ever there in the first place, but we started off referring to this as The Great Resignation, and you used a really interesting phrase there which was The Great Retention…

Rhiannon Stafford: (laughing)

Kerry Linley: ... (continuing) which I really like, so I think what you’re saying is ‘what we’re seeing is a trend that’s normal, however where we would have seen resignation numbers rise over a longer period in the past, it's happened over a much shorter period of time’.

Rhiannon Stafford: Yeah, yeah, you’re absolutely right. Everything in the world has escalated, hasn’t it? And it’s happening so much quicker. You work in the tech sector, you must see this all the time, lead times are so much quicker and we’re just seeing that in the recruitment market and the labour market definitely.

Kerry Linley: I think, yeah. I think we touched on this earlier when we were chatting before the show. But peoples’ expectations have changed in line with the pace of technology change. And I was talking to one of my daughters’ friends about their insatiable need for information and when they want information, they want it now. But they only want the information they want, they don’t want the big picture necessarily, they’re just looking for a bite size chunk of gratification of some kind. And then it’s on to the next thing and I’ve seen that’s playing out in the labour market now, people know what they want, they want it, not instantaneously, but they want to make decisions quickly and they want to make changes quickly.

Rhiannon Stafford: Yeah, yeah, I think you’re right, yeah! There’s just so many things we need balance and I think if employers could not take their eye off the ball of recruiting. I kind of did a little post on LinkedIn the other day of a picture, because I’m a quite - I prefer pictures. My picture was the tap, running tap of water…

Kerry Linley: I saw this one, it was fabulous!

Rhiannon Stafford: … (continuing) yeah, so the tap where water is going into the bucket, so look at that as recruitment, don’t take your eye off recruitment, but actually if all you’re focusing on is getting the water into the bucket, you’re missing all of these holes that’s letting water out of the bucket. So, you are having to work so much harder on the recruitment bit - the water going into the top - so, focus on your retention, hence why I say The Great Retention, to plug some of those holes. So, the other reasons why people are leaving, which the other reasons we know revolve so much around the working environment, the culture, where you can work, how you can work, how your managers deal with you. And do you know what? All of these things I'm mentioning, they’re human decisions and inevitably those humans are the senior managers in organisations. So, it is a tough climate to retain people in, but pretty much most of the decisions we make, we as employers make, so, don’t take your eye off the decisions that you’re making, because they are the ones that can puncture the holes or repair the holes and then the pool of water at the bottom is your attrition where you’ve got people leaving. So, yeah, I’ve tried to keep it simple with the bucket, a bucket, a tap and holes, and water.

Kerry Linley: And I think the question you posed in that post was ‘why would you keep doing this?’

Rhiannon Stafford: Yeah, yeah.

Kerry Linley: I need to bring this back around to apprenticeships and training. Is that’s something that employers can invest in, in order to attract and retain the right talent within their business, and is it something that they should be doing?

Rhiannon Stafford: Oh, hugely! Cause we said earlier on, didn’t we? Around the next generations that are coming into the workplace. So, gen Z are now coming into the work place and there are so many youngsters now leaving schools, that don’t want to go on to university cause they realise that university is not the be all and end all and generally I honestly believe apprenticeships is a massive route and a massive area that the younger generation want to go into work, they want to find an apprenticeship, but there’s not a lot of them out there, but there’s a growing and increasing marketplace there. There are people that want apprenticeships. So, a great way if you want to be keeping that tap going at the top definitely, is to use apprenticeships, but you can also use apprenticeships internally, you know for your existing employees as well, so apprenticeships can help fill some of those gaps, some of those holes in that bucket also, so it’s absolutely crucial. And what, you know, what we do know is that apprenticeships develop rounded individuals with employability skills, as well as technical and professional skills. So, I see a huge, huge place in The Great Retention and The Great Resignation for apprenticeships. And I really do wish organisations were able to invest more in them, definitely.

Kerry Linley: It’s being really interesting chatting to you about this and I’m sure there are, you know, there a little spin offs that I can already see from all the different topics that we’ve talked about. I think what we’re saying, is that employees want something more from their lives and those businesses that will be most successful will start to manage their people as human beings and employees and create the environments where people will want to stay.

Rhiannon Stafford: I think that’s absolutely spot on! Because that fills your bucket, doesn’t it? it keeps your bucketfull!

Kerry Linley: Yeah, it keeps, it topped up at the top end and you’re plugging those holes on the bottom, and you know, just touching back on the apprenticeships – I know from the many employers that we work with, when they employ and train apprentices, that has a ripple effect throughout the business, throughout the organisation, because other people within the organisation, who are perhaps not apprentices, can see the benefit that they are bringing into that organisation, whether its fresh ideas or people feeling invested in, or just bringing in new talent.

Rhiannon Stafford: Yeah, it really does, there’s nothing more motivating here I think, than seeing your employer investing in people and an apprenticeship program is a huge investment. And that sets the right, yeah, the right kind of culture that we care enough around here, that we want to bring in new talent and were investing and we’re helping the younger generations coming in as talent or... that’s the kind of place people want to work with these days, not ‘how much money will you pay me’ and ‘can I get any more money out of you’. Those days, I’m afraid, are kind of… are going, are very much going. People want to work somewhere that cares, care and compassion – now there’s the next podcast for us.

Kerry Linley: That’s a lovely place to end, thank you Rhiannon!

Rhiannon Stafford: Oh, thank you, thank you very much!

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