Surviving the Great Resignation

Or: how to attract, engage and retain the top talent in today’s market.

The much-heralded Great Resignation is here, a wave of attrition that has been building over the past few months and shows no sign of abiding anytime soon. As a result, how we attract, engage and retain our talent has never been more important. In this article, we explore why the Talent function is so important right now and what organisations should be doing to win the war for talent.


It goes without saying that in a candidate-driven market, an efficient, seamless and timely recruitment process is vital to secure the best candidates. But it is also important to recognise that long-term retention starts with recruiting. Dan Pickett, former CEO of NFrastructure said “Retention starts right from the beginning, from the application process to screening applicants to choosing who to interview”. It’s an approach that is working – Nfrastructure had a retention rate topping 97%, almost unheard of in the IT industry. Targeting, assessing, and successfully onboarding the right candidates for your organisation improves their ‘sticking’ rate and will save time and money in the long run. Organisations with a clear purpose, vision and set of values can target and successfully recruit candidates who share their outlook and as a result, increase the likelihood that they will stay longer.

In a hybrid-working world, on-boarding is more important than ever, and ensuring new starters feel supported, engaged and excited is crucial in encouraging long-term retention. Research shows that a good onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%.

Engagement & Retention

Whilst a certain amount of attrition is normal and healthy, the current spike has highlighted the importance of keeping your existing workforce engaged in order to stem the flow of resignations. How can organisations drive engagement in today’s market?

Listen & Deliver

The working world is in the midst of a revolution. The pandemic has exacerbated a shift that once would have taken many years – employees have been given a taste of a more flexible, balanced working life and in most cases, they like it. As companies navigate the future of work it is imperative that they talk to employees, listen, and crucially, deliver. The parameters shaping the working world of C-suite decision makers are often very different to those impacting the broad employee base, so it is no surprise that employees want to feel heard and connected to the decisions coming out of the Boardroom. The debate around the future of work is fluid and complex and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, but ultimately the organisations that don’t embrace flexibility will lose out.


Reward is one of the hottest areas in the HR market right now as organisations look to upskill their capability and develop competitive, creative compensation and benefits packages to attract and retain top talent. Compensation is critical in ensuring employees feel valued – it should be fair, competitive and equitable throughout the organisation.


Central to employee engagement is Inclusion and Belonging. Organisations that have truly invested in creating a culture where employees feel ‘at home’ regardless of race, gender, sexuality or disability will have higher engagement, lower attrition and be more attractive to the top talent out there in the market.


Investing in people and providing the opportunity for on-going professional and personal development increases loyalty and engagement. LinkedIn’s 2020 Global Talent Trends Report outlines that companies that rank highly for employee training see 53% lower attrition. Progressive organisations are implementing new training software and solutions designed around today’s remote and digital workforce, but this can also be linked into Reward and Benefits –  for example, by supporting the cost of further academic studies or providing free coaching. Inspiring Leadership Development programs are also a driver of engagement and have the additional advantage of increasing the bench strength of senior and management teams with individuals who will be ready to step up when positions do become available.

While attrition is, (and always will be) to a certain extent, unavoidable – job tenure was already on the decline even before the pandemic –  one thing is certain: The organisations that will be in the strongest position moving forward will be those who truly recognise the value and importance of their people, and who invest in their Talent function – they are the organisations that will attract and retain, and ultimately win the war for talent.

For more information on this topic or to discuss the challenges of running a people-centric organisation, please contact Andrew Smith  ( or Lyle Stewart (