Last year was seen as the year of the Great Resignation, where employees across many industries, including travel, quit their jobs. These resignations were against a backdrop of an economic picture that has for some time been difficult to predict given the unprecedented times we have all lived through in dealing with the Covid pandemic. The reasons for the resignations were many and varied and were for economic or psychological reasons. The lack of adequate childcare, health concerns, re-evaluating priorities in life and better work opportunities elsewhere have been cited amongst the most common reasons for people quitting their jobs.

The pandemic gave employees the opportunity to re-evaluate their work life and work opportunities. Much focus has been placed on the Great Resignation and why so many people are resigning, quitting, changing (call it what you want!). It is worth remembering that employees do have choices, particularly with the number of job vacancies being at record highs. Looking forwards, is this an opportunity for employers to focus on the Great Reinvention? The travel companies that have survived and come out stronger from the ashes of the pandemic, were those that had diverse workforces and were able to pivot and turn as each Covid curve ball was thrown at the travel industry. Using the diverse skill set that that they had amongst their workforce, they were continually reinventing themselves.

The Great Resignation should be used as an opportunity to evaluate and move your business forward as part of the Great Reinvention. Employers can no longer stand still; they must move with the times and hybrid working is just one example of that. Who would have thought 3 years ago homeworking would be so commonplace? Employers must also strive to be an employer of choice, the tables have turned, and it was once the case of whether the employee was the right choice, now it is all too common particularly in a competitive recruitment market where jobs are plentiful that the employer must be considered the right one! Employees want to know and will ask what an employer’s policy is on Equality & Diversity and Sustainability to name but a few, these are the benchmarks in addition to things like salary that they are measuring employers against. How an employer approaches issues such environmental and social issues will play a part when employers are being considered as the right one!

The Great Resignation may not be over just yet, it is estimated that around 40% of employees are likely to move jobs in 2022 if they do not feel valued, engaged, and properly rewarded. So, what can employers do as part of the Great Reinvention to retain their best talent and to attract new talent? Employee engagement is key, don’t shy away from why employees feel disengaged or consider leaving. Employers also need to continue to evolve their brand and consider what attraction strategies they can adopt in the first instance to attract talent to their company.

The travel industry has seen and will likely continue to see a lot of changes in personnel. Employers need to be thinking about who their key players are and what the employer would do if they left and what strategies can be adopted to keep them. Consideration should also be given to beefing up restrictive covenants so that they are enforceable to protect the business should they leave or indeed there is a risk of a team move. In addition, thought should be given to the protection of data and customer details when someone does leave (how are these safeguarded?), as the last thing that you want is that they have access to valuable data and set up or go and work in competition, wanting a slice of the buoyant times that lie ahead for the travel industry. Conversely how an employer on-boards a new recruit will also be important, and employers should use this as an opportunity to ensure that employment contracts contain the right protections for employers including restrictive covenants.

Finally, it goes without saying that reward and remuneration are high on most employee’s agenda, always have been and most likely always will be. Stopping staff talking about their salary has always been a thorny subject – on the one hand you want to be transparent and clear, but on the other you want to be competitive. If employers want to stop staff talking about wages, then it is possible to do this, but you should take proper legal advice before implementing such a policy. Employers know that salaries need to be competitive, but the use of innovative salary sacrifice schemes to support issues that matter to staff may be adopted and something that employees may find attractive. Wellbeing is high on the HR agenda and any wellbeing related benefits are likely to put an employer at a competitive advantage.

Make no mistake that the employer/employee landscape has changed and will continue to change and those employers that embrace the Great Reinvention are likely to fare better.

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