The Great Resignation is coming for New Zealand – here's how to mitigate it

Less than half (46%) of employees surveyed felt grateful to be employed

The Great Resignation is coming for New Zealand – here's how to mitigate it

As the global pandemic continues to affect businesses into it’s third year, a new disruption for management and HR teams has been emerging globally, ‘The Great Resignation’. A trend that caused three percent of the US’s entire workforce to resign in the month of August 2021 alone. There’s a real sense that the pandemic has changed people’s attitudes to work and that has caused people to re-evaluate life and that evaluation is centred around work/life balance.

A recent survey of employees conducted by Southern Cross Health Insurance revealed some sobering numbers for New Zealand’s workforce. Less than half (46%) of employees surveyed felt grateful to have their job. Just over a third (35%) of people surveyed enjoyed going to work most days. Less than a third (31%) felt supported by their employer, and less than a quarter (24%) felt they received recognition from their employer for a job well done.

“I think there is a perception that this [The Great Resignation] is real and I think that these numbers confirm that,” said Nick Astwick, CEO at Southern Cross Health Insurance. “It’s the role of leadership, whether it’s an HR Manager or any leader of an organisation, to be very purposeful in reducing that risk.”

COVID has forced businesses into remote working states and largely businesses and employees have embraced the positives of remote working, but there are some very real negatives such as the isolation of employees which causes the breakdown of an organisations culture through the lack of connectedness and the sense of having a physical community.

“I think the businesses that are doing remote-working well are the ones that are always looking at themselves and saying, are we a people-driven organisation,” added Astwick. “We talk to a lot of businesses and the great businesses are very purposeful in the hundreds of conversations that go on with their people.”

As little as ten years ago there was a real emphasis on employee rates of pay. If you gave an employee a pay rise, their loyalty was intact for another year.

“Pay is still really important,” said Astwick. “But when you look beneath the numbers in this survey, it’s more than pay. It’s purpose is a supportive work force, not getting burnt out at work. Put simply, when an organisation focuses on the health and wellbeing of their employees, it’s an expression that your employer really cares. 

“You’ve got to look at those lead indicators. Behavioural change, pulses, and rather than just looking at these numbers, you need your own numbers. You need to know where in your culture, are the real risks?

Southern Cross Health Insurance runs a program called the ‘Switch2Well’ program, a high-fidelity health & wellbeing program.

“We’re making sure that our program is really, really current,” added Astwick. “Our leaders are spending a lot of time on the health and wellbeing of our people. Looking at what more we can do from a support perspective in our benefits package because what we do know is if we support our people, they support us.”

Recent articles & video

Manager resigns over 'shocking' performance improvement plan

Court of Appeal U-turn finds family carers are not employees

E tū ordered to pay $25,000 for unjust dismissal of former organiser

Ministry of Social Development proposes cuts to 97 roles

Most Read Articles

Former DEI exec gets 5 years in prison for defrauding Facebook, Nike

Will New Zealand end COVID-19 vaccine mandates in workplaces?

'It is unlawful for people to be mistreated in their workplaces'