Whistleblowing Hotlines Could Help Beat the Great Attrition

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The Great Attrition

In a study by Linkedin[1], using data from Gallup, 17.2% of the US workforce is actively disengaged.  And a disengaged employee costs an organisation approximately $3,400 for every $10,000 of salary.

In the UK, data from Croner[2] suggests the average cost of employee turnover is around £11,000 per person, and for senior staff that rises to anywhere between £40,000 – £100,000.

Sanjay Raja, chief UK economist at Deutsche Bank, has been quoted as saying there are “historically elevated levels of workers leaving the labour market entirely” with the level of resignations being the highest since 2009[3].

This has become known as either The Great Resignation, or The Great Attrition.

Why are record levels of employees handing in their resignation?

It is no exaggeration to say Covid-19 has changed everything!

Unless you were an essential worker, for nigh on two years employees across the world were told to limit their contact with other people.  Indeed, many across the world were specifically told to stay at home under lockdown conditions.

This had effects well beyond anything that might have been conceived of by politicians and health services.

The enforced isolation provided a breathing-space for employees to rethink their lives.

Tim Smith, Operations Director for Safecall, commented.

“The Covid-19 pandemic was the catalyst for employees to re-evaluate their working lives when they were being asked to return.

It enabled people to reassess what they wanted from life, and many of them decided they literally did not want to return to their jobs and would either start looking elsewhere for work or drop-out of working life altogether.”

Why didn’t they want to return?  There were lots of reasons… long term covid, mental health, wanting a more balanced way of life… but undoubtedly, one of the reasons could very well have been poor working conditions.

Tim continued,

“A report just prior to the pandemic, from the Film and TV Charity’s ‘Looking Glass research’[4], suggested 56% of employees believed they had suffered bullying in the previous year.

And when you look at Google search results and see there are 20,000 searches per year for how to cope with ‘bullying in the workplace’ in the UK, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that some of the Great Resignation must be from employees simply not wanting to return to somewhere they feel uncomfortable being.”

In short, for potentially the first time in their lives employees felt they had a choice.  If they didn’t like their workplace employees voted with their feet, and they voted en masse.

What are the effects of the Great Attrition on businesses?

The true cost of this upheaval in employer-employee relations has been staggering!

Bdaily puts the post-pandemic talent exodus cost at up to £17 billion for businesses in UK and Ireland alone[5].

And that does not include any lost time and missed opportunities as a direct or indirect result of having to adapt or turn down work.

Beefed up HR policies, better perks, and identifying wrongdoing helps retain staff

It should come as no surprise that smarter senior executives are spending a lot of time and effort providing additional staff benefits, and improving working conditions, all in an effort to retain employees.

Many employers have beefed up their employee packages by adding both physical and mental health care, social benefits such as gym membership, retail discounts, and additional sick and compassionate care benefits, as well as improving pay and flexibility working hours.

But they are also trying to improve the actual places the employee works in too, and that sometimes means preventing or dealing with some rather uncomfortable situations.

For that, organisations often require whistleblowing services.

Tim continues…

“We’ve seen a significant increase in Directors, General Counsels, and HR Managers approaching us to set up an external whistleblowing hotline.

That’s because an outsourced anonymous hotline service is quicker and easier to set up and start managing than creating and staffing one in-house.”

Speed and reliability enable organisations to start communicating the benefits of a whistleblowing service to their employees’ and show that they are trying to prevent or stop wrongdoing.

These employers know that ‘being seen to be doing’ generates a huge amount of confidence in the organisation from their staff.

“We often have a fully operational whistleblowing hotline up and running for organisations within 24-hours.  That’s world-wide, with multiple offices or work locations, in nearly every language and dialect.

Plus… every single one of our call handlers is a former police officer, and each has more than 25 years’ experience in interviewing techniques.”

When anonymous whistleblowing services are introduced, staff feel their managers are trying to do what’s right by them, and staff research shows the value of being seen to be a good employer in a world where the employee can just walk away and start work elsewhere.

“No-one is saying whistleblowing is the solution to employment issues facing businesses across the globally, Europe, the EU, or even just the UK, but it should be part of any package of measures that businesses use to help retain their staff.”

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