Why Is Everyone Resigning?

When your best employees are packing their boxes, you need to take action

One of the most interesting trends affecting recruitment recently has been the large wave of resignations so we thought it would be a good time to highlight and discuss this trend.

With resignation rates spiking, and the trend not looking to slow down any time soon, companies are having to deal with recruiting problems from multiple sources. Not only are there resignations, but candidates are harder to find, seeing as the power balance has swung back to the candidates and away from the employers, a fact a lot of businesses are still failing to get to grips with.

Voluntary turnover, especially in industries like tech, means replacements must be sourced from somewhere, somehow. This could indicate that they are being poached but in a field such as Cloud computing, experts are thin on the ground and can only be sourced by recruiters who know what they are looking for.

Plans for returning to the office, which are always up-in-the-air, have not yet happened fully to the degree that some businesses need. Working from home seems to be returning and looks like it will not go away any time soon. Burn out was a key reason for high turnover in the past 18 months but now it is about choice.

The brightest and best are leaving companies at a staggering rate, leaving those companies desperately scrabbling for replacements that match the calibre of ones who have just exited, and this impacts profits. Yes, there is always going to be turnover, but as turnover accelerates, instability within an organisation ensues.

A workforce empowered can make demands in a market that is bouncing back, so those who do not agree with the company’s ethos and no longer feel, or never have felt, valued will vote with their feet and walk. As we have said before, millennials and gen Z are looking for respect, meaningful work and good communication. Job satisfaction matters but why is it so difficult for businesses to comprehend this fact?

Research shows that trust is at the forefront of the new employee experience and if an organisation cannot prove itself trustworthy, then seasoned employees will leave and new ones will not join. WFH has exacerbated an already strained relationship, with communication breaking down and the company’s belief system being tested and found wanting on some occasions.

Employees who have recently considered their own mortality recently have now decided that life is too short to work in a job that makes them miserable. Management who demand unrealistic workloads from their workers or who undermine their employees’ authority on issues of which they are the expert can grind away good will. To avoid this, managers must empathise with their employees.

The expectation that, if an employee is working from home, that they are available whenever they are needed, which leads to a workday with no clearly-defined end-point, will inevitably lead to burn out and resentment. With no workmates around to chat to and vent about the problem, it festers.

Productivity is also under the microscope these days, as the past definition and measurements do not hold muster with the newer generations. What is generally lacking is a result based culture with clearly defined outcome measurements and a standardised assessment framework, rather than a haphazard system based around how many hours have been worked.

By appreciating the old and new pressures their employees were under, managers can stem the flow of workers exiting the business and by building career development into each role, they can give some hope to those who are under their care.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Is Your Company Afraid Of Tech?

Be careful not to spook the ‘tech fearful’

With the Covid-19 crisis, more people have been working from home and, in doing so, have been exposed to more technology than they may have had to work with prior to the move to home-based working. It was an easier time back then, when people could avoid technology if they really wanted to, relying on the IT department to help them with their set-up and passwords. The future will require more ‘Tech Savvy’ workers so we are looking at how that can become a reality for your business.

Some tech-friendly workers have left jobs because their company wasn’t willing to supply them with newer digital tools. 40%, according to a Randstad poll. Others have actively avoided those new tools if they were given the chance to work with them. Your business must position itself to retain both of those types of workers, while ensuring it has a good grip on the future technology that can really aid the business goals moving forward.

So what will the strategy be? The new generation of workers are entering the workforce knowing how to code, use photoshop and own social media, while older workers struggle to use their smartphone.

Training must be the first port of call for your strategy. Informal group training sessions, perhaps over a Zoom call, can be really useful to identify knowledge gaps. The environment should be fun and light-hearted, so as not to intimidate those who are fearful of being exposed as luddites. People do learn better in informal spaces and this can also encourage them to come forward, later on down the line, and ask for help with something they are struggling with. This kind of initiative must be baked in to your company’s ethos and must be continued after the initial excitement has died down. As we all know, learning never stops, especially in the tech space.

This can come in especially handy when you bring in new tech to the business. Your future plans should include these up-to-date investments, as you do not want your business to mirror the actions of the tech fearful hold-outs, nervous about the next innovation. The more thrifty amongst you may not see the purpose of upgrading or changing a perfectly good system, but you must not rest on your laurels and you must keep ahead of the game when it comes to your competition. If you do this, your workforce will become more used to having to learn about tech as part of their roles. As we said before, it has to be part of your business’ ethos and it all starts from the top.

Patience is required. When people learn, they first usually make mistakes. We learn from our mistakes. Everyone has done it, yet no one seems to remember that they did. We must not spook the tech fearful. If, from the training Zoom call, you identify someone who has fallen so far behind that they cannot do simple things, that person must be encouraged and nurtured to learn and embrace technology. It may require extra work but it will be worth it, because if they can do it, and with your help, you can achieve anything together. If they are using it correctly, this can result in a great ROI.

Research becomes a part of the business. If you can encourage the whole workforce to embrace tech, your ability to anticipate changes or even diversify how you do business as opposed to the old way you used to do business, that will stand you in good stead for future competition. That knowledge base that you grow within your company, just by encouraging those within it to become less fearful of technology, becomes useful when you upgrade your systems. It emboldens them to voice their concerns or ideas. You can learn where the system has been falling short in terms of handling the day-to-day business, and they can suggest ways to improve it, or innovations they have been learning about. Never underestimate the value your workforce can provide your business when they are engaged with technology.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Returning To Work?

Empty offices may soon fill up again but is everyone happy?

With the recent report finding that UK employees are the most reluctant in Europe to return to the office, it raises interesting thoughts about the changing attitude towards employers in this country but also poses the question: what is the correct course of action now that lockdown seems to be easing?

Personio Software, recently conducted a survey of employees and found that a third of those surveyed had returned to an office environment as opposed to almost two thirds who had returned there, on the continent.

This news comes on the heels of Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, confessing his doubts that workers will return to a daily commute once the working from home guidance subsides.

Interestingly, just over a third of those surveyed by Personio shared that they felt that their employer was resisting a more mixed working solution in favour of an insistence on office attendance. There is a clear divide between employees’ and employers’ visions for the future.

It may come as a surprise to some employers that 25% admitted that they plan to resign if made to work from the office. Workers are eager for more control of their working conditions.

Yes, finding the correct balance is tough and those who have already gone through it have found it a steep learning curve. Many workers are noting a decline in productivity when not in close proximity to their colleagues. Being in close proximity is, of course, one of the barriers halting a return to normality. There are two diametrically opposed needs, which cancel each other out. People need to be around people for productivity’s sake but also for mental wellbeing.

It is now just over a year since the lockdown came into force, and we are seemingly trapped in a low morale conundrum. If employees feel a lack of control over their safety and destiny, they will leave that job, or feel unhappy within it, which will affect productivity and if they work from home, away from co-workers, they feel alone and that affects productivity. This leaves managers with an unenviable task.

This is before we have even mentioned health issues or home-schooling, which certainly have an impact on time and energy and can lead to serious fatigue.

With the roll-out of vaccines, it looks like we are really turning a corner. The optimists amongst us hope for this to be completed around summer, but the realist knows that this may drag on until the new year. A lot of businesses, struggling to stay above water, need this to happen sooner rather than later and their desperation is palpable.

Companies need to be realistic and seriously consider adopting hybrid working styles, when it is safe to do so. Any who have been stalling on investment in technology, should notice the sea change amongst their employees and recognise that things have truly changed. It took Covid-19 to accelerate the uptake of remote working aided by new software services which make it possible to perform group tasks outside of the office. Obviously, as we mentioned before, people need face-to-face interaction, so the tech side is not a silver bullet, but until Covid-19 has been vanquished, senior managers must make decisions to preserve their workforce and, ultimately, their business.

What this really comes down to is communication. Employers must listen to their employees’ concerns. With communication comes understanding and discussion and resolution. One thing that definitely negatively impacts quality and quantity of an employee’s work is their feeling that they are not valued or listened to. A thing that should come out of this crisis, it is that we should not lose sight of the fact that there is always time to listen.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Projects Can No Longer Be Stalled Due To Covid-19 Uncertainty

Stalled projects are restarting and there is a sense of optimism

A major point we have been made aware of from hiring managers and C-suite executives is the fact that they are beginning to start pushing forward with stalled projects.

After the first lockdown, the majority of companies delayed their upcoming Data & AI programmes until 2021 in order to save the extra effort and extra anguish of trying to set these during a time of extreme uncertainty and instability. They did this in the hopes that the government would guide us out of this period but it is becoming ever more apparent that no one knows when this chaos will end with schools opening and closing again, areas of the country falling into ever stricter tiers of lockdown and a feeling that without full vaccination, this will grind on until at least next year.

Regarding technology, there is a real acceptance that companies can’t stall any longer and need to get on with it. There is a general optimism around AI & Data projects and starting back up with a renewed focus on the goal in hand.

A recent news story highlighted that stalled offshore oil projects could take as long as 3 years to restart. Obviously, data projects shouldn’t take as long as that but they must be prioritised so that they start up sooner rather than later. Here we can highlight the issue of finding leading talent as an integral element for future plans moving forward and quickly building strong teams with complimenting skillsets.

The pandemic caused plans to be shelved and resources were poured into setting up remote working, trying to keep consumers happy by not interrupting the flow of products and services and focusing on marketing to let the customers know that things were ‘business as usual’.

Even before Covid-19 struck, there were a lot of stalled AI and Data projects. This was due to many factors but two of the major ones were a lack of understanding within the organisation of what these projects were meant to achieve and  hiring policies which were woefully inadequate.

Prioritisation of which projects to start, restart, end or automate is extremely important. You cannot run before you walk. There will be an impetus to rush back into these but they actually require a measured response.

When moving their workers to online platforms, a lot of companies discovered flaws in their methodology and began fixing problems. This has set the stage for AI & Data projects to start from a level playing field whereas before they may have been at a disadvantage, not only due to data being misunderstood, but also from systems that were in dire need of updating.

More businesses have actually prioritised automation and data science due to Covid disruption, moving away from opinions to a more data driven strategy. On top of that, cost reduction is also not as much of a priority as it was pre-Covid. These are good times to be candidates experienced in these fields but when it comes down to hiring, companies need to know what they are doing and they need to upskill fast, before all of the best prospects have been snatched up by better-prepared businesses.

PwC predicts that companies will increase spending on cloud-based systems after the pandemic is over. The transformation when the emergency hit was unprecedented and within a few months it was approaching an estimated two-years-worth of growth acceleration. Early investment can actually save money in the long run.

Companies need people who have an overview of the process to step in and lead this revolution. Optimism is growing in the sector and there is no doubt that it can lead to huge successes. If a company has a carefully-selected team with the budget to drive the important projects it is planning, there is no reason why there cannot be something else to celebrate when the Covid crisis is over.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

What Can We Do About Office Working?

Offices lay almost empty across the world

In response to our last blog regarding depression experienced by homeworkers, what are managers feeling about the situation? We are receiving feedback that managers feel that things will never go back to how it was before Covid-19, when you needed to have someone at their desk 5 days a week, but they feel people need to be back in the office interacting with each other.

Even though lockdowns are coming and going with seeming regularity, we have data from polls throughout last year which point us in certain directions. A ManpowerGroup poll conducted in June point to findings that UK and US workers were much more reticent than their fellow workers in Europe, Mexico and Singapore.

Towards the end of the year, a poll conducted for Morgan Stanley showed that just under 50% more French office workers returned to work than UK office workers.

And managers are fully aware of this and are struggling to find solutions. A recent survey conducted by Martec Group found that only 16% of workers considered themselves ‘thriving’ when homeworking. The negative mental health impact from being separated from the working and social community of the workplace is damaging confidence. And that is not even touching the decline in productivity reported, with around 40% of respondents noticing a decline.

The tech leaders like Google have hinted that office working will return as soon as it possibly can. The first question that requires answering is ‘who first?’. Reed Hastings, one of the CEOs of Netflix has commented that the lack of face-to-face meetings is a “pure negative”.

As most things are, this cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Rather than selecting the return of those with a certain role, one must consider an individual’s situation. It must be ascertained whether a worker is one of those who are thriving or one of those who are suffering. Managers must be agile and sensitive to the approaches they take as most will never have experienced this way of working and have never been required to make these kinds of decisions before, decisions that are integral to the full productivity of the company.

The Martec poll identified ‘thriving’, ‘hopeful’, ‘discouraged’ and ‘trapped’ as the four main categories of worker that managers must figure out how to deal with appropriately.

The ‘thrivers’ tend to be introverts and also, interestingly, are predominantly female and predominantly in entry-level jobs. They are happy to have a reduced commute.

Those who are most ‘hopeful’ are a mixed bag of seniors and juniors, dedicating themselves to making it work despite missing chats around the watercooler.

A ‘discouraged’ worker could be either male or female, usually extroverted and aged from mid-20s to mid-40s. Interestingly, these are predominantly management level employees and could explain why managers are keen to get everyone back to the office.

Those feeling ‘trapped’ were primarily younger employees frustrated by both working from home and how the working from home situation has been handled by management.

Of course, bringing people back not only depends on the employee, but the employer. The only way to maximise the potential within a company is to create a space where the employee is allowed to identify and communicate their needs to a receptive organisation.

The C-suite need to leave their own personal preferences out of the equation. A response from a CEO about certain employees ‘gaming the system’ must be dealt with on an individual basis, not as a team. If allowed to fester this can affect the whole team and destroy a productive atmosphere. On the flipside, those who remain remotely working must not be forgotten about and passed over for promotion because they are not able to participate in face-to-face meetings all of the time.

We have been helping businesses access talent that wouldn’t normally be considered due to location or distance from the office. Creating unique hiring plans and strategies, particularly around whether some skill sets need to be in the office or not, means we can make a real difference, so if you are in any doubt over how to precede, you can always engage Zenshin Talent to help.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

What Are The Downsides To Working From Home?

Working from home can breed loneliness and paranoia

With the upcoming anniversary of the first Covid-19 lockdown approaching, and with no end in sight for working from home, we looked into what is actually happening on the ground. There’s an emerging opinion that remote working may not be the panacea that it first appeared to be.

When the lockdown hit, major companies like Google ordered all staff to work from home and startups started cancelling their office contracts. A brave new world beckoned but where do we stand now? Has the novelty worn off?

A few managers we have spoken to have highlighted such issues as loneliness, paranoia, lack of social interaction and lack of boundaries.

Firstly, people are feeling lonely and isolated. Being with your family at home is different to social interaction with work colleagues and that camaraderie is starting to be sorely missed.

At the start, there was positivity about the possible end of commuting to work and a break from office politics with around 49% of people working from home. There were those who did not live in spaces conducive to working but generally it was seen as a good thing.

Who amongst us didn’t initially celebrate being freed of the time-and-energy drain of travelling to work? We were able to get out of bed, go to work and not even have to get properly dressed. It was a positive during the overwhelming negatives of life under Covid-19.

A Jefferies survey has found that, in the UK, 61% of respondents would return to work right now if they could. Mark Zuckerberg has stated that only 1 in 5 of all Facebook workers, who are set to be permanently working from home by 2030, are happy to do so. ‘Feelings of loneliness’ was one of the top reasons given by respondents to a Bradburn survey as being the driving force behind the desire to return to the office. For younger workers with no dependents it is even worse, according to Totaljobs, with 74% admitting that they have struggled with loneliness in lockdown.

The blowback from mass homeworking was definitely unexpected as there was no real impetus to really research it before. An important study was undertaken by Nick Bloom, a homeworking expert, for the Ctrip travel agency. It showed that while productivity rose by 13%, 50% of the workers in the study wished to return to the office citing loneliness as the reason.

Workers experiencing paranoia over their status within the business is another reason for the unhappiness. Imagine you are working on a project and you send messages to your manager via Whatsapp. You see that they have read the messages but they do not give any feedback. In fact, you don’t hear back from them for a long time. If this pattern repeats often, it can breed paranoia. In an office, you can visit the manager or they will be back in the office the day after. You are assured of your position because you can see your colleagues working and they can see you working. But working from home, in isolation, read but unanswered Whatsapp messages can become harbingers.

Another factor is that everyone is accessible pretty much all of the time because they are at home. People don’t think twice about calling colleagues late into the evening to discuss work issues because they know where you are and assume you have nothing better to do. There is always the assumption that if you are working from home, you are working flexi hours. If people were working in the office, then there would be more of an understanding that when someone walks out of that front door, that is really them logging off work until tomorrow.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.