The current cost of living crisis and stagnant wage growth is expected to cause 1.4 million Australians to quit their job within the next twelve months.

Small businesses may begin to feel this impact as early as this month, with the 31st of January the record day for resignations. The end of the calendar year often brings additional stress to employees, as workloads tend to rise, and the Christmas break provides little relief for fatigue and burnout. In addition, as employees set their goals for the new year, they may seek to make positive changes in their careers and financials for the year ahead. Once they return to work and the demands of their role, employees who are already feeling unsatisfied can view this as a sign to look for something new.


The Reasons Why People Quit:

  • Poor management
  • Inadequate compensation
  • Limited growth opportunities
  • A lack of remote work
  • Poor work-life balance
  • Unclear career development


How To Motivate Your People To Stay


Improve your offering to employees.

It takes more time for businesses to replace employees than it does for an employee to put in their notice and quit. Ask your existing employees for honest feedback on ways to improve your workplace and act on what is reasonable and achievable. These improvements might include a small pay rise, flexible working conditions, and more. This will not only help your employees feel heard and appreciated, increasing their likelihood of staying, but it will also make your business more appealing to new candidates.


Create an appealing job advertisement.

Too often businesses will post job advertisements that contain little details, no branding, and no personality. Your business is going to need to stand out to attract good candidates, and the most important place to do this will be in the job advertisement. To ensure your advertisement is effective, ensure that it contains:

  • The market relevant job titles – manager or officer, not ‘superstar’ or ‘guru’;
  • Your branding and logos – let the candidates know where they are applying to;
  • The focus of the role and what their day-to-day will look like;
  • Something interesting about your business that sets you apart from your competitors; and,
  • The key benefits that your business has to offer the candidate.


Provide options for professional development.

Providing professional development is essential for employee retention as it offers your staff a career, not just a job. In fact, showing that you consistently invest in your employee and are making good use of their skills can even be more appreciated than the rare promotion. Your business could consider creating roles that have more responsibility for staff to work their way up to, providing casual staff with the option of becoming permanent, and mentoring your employees.


Prioritise workplace culture.

One of the most important aspects of employee retention is creating a good workplace culture. Your employees are far more likely to enjoy coming to work every day if they have great relationships with their co-workers. Lead your business with empathy, and prioritise inclusion and celebrating wins.


Treat those who leave with kindness.

Employees will always come and go. Even if an employee resigns and leaves your business in a difficult position, it is important not to lose your temper or bad mouth the employee that left, otherwise it might cause other employees to follow suit. Instead, hold an exit interview with any employees that resign to find out if you can win them back or if they have any feedback that can help you retain the remaining employees.


Mass resignations will pose quite a challenge for many SMEs, but it is still possible to recruit and retain great employees. Listen to what your candidates and employees are looking for and accommodate where reasonable to create a workplace they are proud to work for.

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