How to navigate the Big Quit: advice from The Recruitment Company’s Geoff Millar

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It’s being dubbed the Big Quit. After two years of pandemic lockdowns, school lockouts and working from home, it’s understandable that people might be rethinking the balance between their work and personal lives.

But the sheer number of people considering changing jobs is astounding — a Microsoft survey found 41 per cent of employees worldwide are considering quitting their job. Among younger people, more than half are contemplating quitting.

Amid such seismic change, how can companies hang on to their employees? And what does it take to win the war for talent?

We asked Geoff Millar, CEO of The Recruitment Company, for advice on how organisations can navigate these uncertain times.

“This is an opportunity — before this cloud of COVID hopefully lifts —to really get out there and connect with your people,” says Millar, speaking to the second Great Place to Work® CEO Masterclass.

The Recruitment Company was named number one in the micro category in the Great Place to Work 2021 list of Australia’s Best Workplaces™, with an average Trust Index™ score of 99%. Great Place to Work is the global authority on workplace culture and has surveyed more than 100 million employees around the world over the last 30 years to understand what makes a great workplace.

Millar says trust is the key to retaining staff.

“We lead with trust. Trust is not earned in our business it’s given.”

Perhaps ironically, the recruitment industry itself is notorious for its inability to hold onto staff.

“Tenure in the recruitment industry on average is 18 months, which is really low,” says Millar.

But The Recruitment Company has an average tenure of more than four years.

“If you want prosperity out of an employee you really want a minimum of two years because the cost of hire is so high — salary and lost time and training getting to speed in their delivery abilities,” says Millar.

Millar says the border closures are one part of the reason for a talent war as companies have stopped hiring overseas. There is also strong demand for IT skills.

“This is the busiest I have ever seen it,” says Millar.

He says employers should consider using new tactics like video job descriptions to stand out to candidates.

“Candidates might have three, four or five different opportunities at any one time.

“If you have got one role that is beautifully explained by the manager and someone in the team visually on a video versus three job descriptions on a bit of paper — I know which one I’d go for: the company that spent that extra time to go the extra mile.”

Millar says the interview process is part of the recruitment value chain — which starts from the minute a role is advertised and lasts through to the day a person leaves the company.

He says COVID has led to a reimagining in the way businesses engage with their teams and focus on culture.

“Every business should see their people as their biggest asset – but there are still businesses that don’t.”

Millar says the recruitment process should recognise that the pandemic has left people with a spectrum of views.

“Some don’t ever want to see another office. They can work from home, they are 110% productive.

“The other extreme are people desperate to get out of their home office.

“And in that you have people think about early retirement — so you have got all these competing things happening and people are starting to reassess the balance of what value work brings to their lives.”

His top advice? Cast your eyes across your team, “what do I need to talk to them about? What do I need to ensure they have so that I can retain them?”

This was the second of our four-part CEO Masterclass Series. The first looked at hybrid working with Cisco’s Australian CEO Ben Dawson. The 20-minute Masterclass sessions are hosted by Sean Aylmer, one of Australia’s most experienced and respected journalists, interviewing CEOs from the companies that ranked #1 in the Best Workplace™ Australia 2021 Lists in the large, medium, small and micro company categories. These companies truly made it their mission to foster a Purpose Driven, People First approach to workplace culture.

All masterclasses are online and free to attend. Please register your interest in the form and we will keep you updated on the whole series.

Samantha Huddle is the General Manager of Great Place to Work® in Australia and NZ. Sam has more than two decades of experience from the grassroots to the C-suite and helps businesses build high-trust, inclusive cultures that deliver tangible results. With experience across the government, philanthropic and corporate sectors, Sam brings a collaborative, values-driven approach and a passion for achieving social impact through business. Sam publishes a well-read monthly newsletter which can be read **here.**

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To be eligible for the World’s Best Workplaces list, a company must apply and be named to a minimum of 5 national Best Workplaces lists within our current 58 countries, have 5,000 employees or more worldwide, and at least 40% of the company’s workforce (or 5,000 employees) must be based outside of the home country. Extra points are given based on the number of countries where a company surveys employees with the Great Place to Work Trust Index©, and the percentage of a company’s workforce represented by all Great Place to Work surveys globally. Candidates for the 2017 Worlds Best Workplaces list will have appeared on national workplaces lists published in September 2016 through August 2017.