Embrace The Great Resignation

by Richenda Vermeulen
December 22, 2021

In 2020, ntegrity had a 100% retention rate. So I thought we might be spared from the effects of the Great Resignation. 

I was wrong. 

As we close off 2021, I’m thinking of the many leaders who’ve shared their own worries about job vacancies, finding good talent and uncertainty over the future. 

The Great Resignation is coming. Or it’s here already, depending on who you ask. At ntegrity, the agency I lead, we’ve been through it already. Which is why I can promise: 

The Great Resignation is not something you should fear. It’s an opportunity you can seize. 

Here’s what I’ve learnt, and how you can apply it…

The pandemic forced many of us to rethink our priorities. How we work, how much we work, where we work. 

At ntegrity, we pride ourselves on being a place people want to work – and want to keep coming to work. Yet our turnover picked up in the first part of 2021. We said farewell to several wonderful colleagues who decided their purpose, passion, or skills fit elsewhere.

It’s always difficult to say goodbye to colleagues doing great work, but if you truly champion people, you will champion them when they move to other jobs that provide a better fit

 As an added benefit,  it opens up space for someone else who might really want a role. It’s just stressful to think about recruiting for it!

The Great Resignation wasn’t a failure for us. It was a clarifying moment – one that sent us to the drawing board to ask: 

What is the real value we offer our employees? 

Is it just good pay? Or a cool office space? (Less relevant than ever in the Covid era.)

Is it purpose-fueled work? You can find that in loads of places. (Including literally all our amazing clients!)   

We reimagined our whole employee value proposition (EVP) to answer the question: ‘Why do I work at ntegrity? What makes it special?’ 

Working with an objective third party,we coordinated surveys and workshops. We listened to our colleagues – to truly understand what motivates them, what matters to them in their work. 

We didn’t stop there… 

  • We looked at how we reward performance – both the usual suspects (fair pay, yearly reviews, rewards)) and the important-but-often-overlooked ones, like the practical ways we show our commitment to employee wellness

  • We doubled down on career development, assessing everyone's salary to ensure it was competitive and making adjustments where necessary

  • We fast tracked our org structure re-design to align to our 3 year strategy, so staff could more clearly see their opportunity for career growth inside our team. 

  • We spent 200+ hours ensuring the structure came with detailed job descriptions that aligned to our values and outlined the growth opportunities available for every role. 

  • We met 1:1 with each staff member, walking through their role, what the near future holds and what the far future could.  We did not fear if this meant discussing if it could lead them elsewhere. 

  • We devoted significant time strengthening our management team, to ensure we empower our leaders to cultivate our culture and have the data and autonomy to make key decisions. 

Then we put it to the test. And early results are in…

We had 2 vacancies to backfill and 8 new roles to recruit for as we came into the second half of the year  Gulp. 

10 jobs. No mean feat in this hiring market. 

We rewrote every job posting to include not just what we wanted from our candidates, but what we have to offer them. Our answer to the question, ‘Why should I come work for you?’

And within 5 months, in the middle of the Great Resignation, we were able to find 9  incredible candidates for our open positions! (There are even a few new openings, if you’re still interested!)

Our new EVP helped us better articulate our why. Our job descriptions and new structure gave role clarity. 

That wasn’t even the best part. 

A few days ago, we held our annual strategy day. Finally, a chance to gather as a team, in person. 🙌 🎉 🙌

We went over our EVP together, and the response was incredible. Our people were able to see their motivation, their core purpose – their why – reflected back to them. Most importantly, they’re able to see it lived out – in how we care for each other, support each other’s growth, and challenge each other.

You see, the Great Resignation isn’t just an opportunity to think about the potential for leaving. It’s an opportunity for staff to consider why they stay. 

As 2021 comes to a close, I am unbelievably grateful I get to work alongside this wonderful, incredible, full-of-heart (and smarts) team. For every door that closed in 2021, three more opened. We have so many talented new people poised to make 2022 our best year yet. And it’s incredibly rewarding to stand beside colleagues who have committed to staying with us and growing together. 

I’ve learnt that our EVP is not just an articulation of who we are. It’s a promise – one we want to remain accountable to. 

I’m grateful for the lessons we learned as a team through the Great Resignation that helped us to clarify our why, and put us in a stronger position than ever to attract and retain amazing people.

My wish for the new year is that you will find the same to be true for you and your team. 

If you'd like support across how to best resource and structure your marketing & fundraising departments, reach out to us: https://ntegrity.com.au/contact