The January Work Itch: Managing Resignations and Recruitment at the Start of the Year

Wednesday January 6, 2021

For many small businesses and HR Departments, January traditionally heralds the time of year when employee turnover increases. This can be a double-edged sword.

The New Year: a great time to recruit

Holidays, especially those that involve New Year’s resolutions, offer people a time to reflect and catch their breath. This often means they start thinking about moving on. Or they may realise how unhappy they’ve been in their current job. They may feel undervalued or simply think they can earn more in the greener pastures on the other side.

No matter the reason, January is usually a busy time for job search which makes it a great time to tap into the opportunity to snag new talent for your business.

The other side: an increase in resignations

On the other hand, your business may find it’s dealing with resignations. For smaller businesses, the resignation of a key staff member could have a huge impact – leaving gaping holes in knowledge and skills. It’s important to monitor your staff engagement levels in the early weeks and months of the new year so you can spot potential leavers before they act.

Noting employees who are showing signs of discontent and restlessness allows you to open communication lines with them, which may help you to act before they resign.

What you need to know about resignations

The notice period for resignations can differ depending on the Award, Enterprise Agreement or other registered agreement. However they will generally set out the notice required for any resignation. For Award free employees, no notice period is required unless otherwise specified in their employment contract with you. It is vital to ensure you are clear on the notice periods that are relevant to each employee.

Can you turn down a resignation?

The simple answer is no. It is an employee’s decision entirely, and an employer cannot turn down a resignation. An employer can, however, open up discussions around why the employee is resigning and whether they can give a counter-offer that will encourage the employee to stay. However, if the employee still wants to resign, the employer cannot stop them.

Managing the January resignation itch

While it’s normal for any business to have staff leave over time, resignations can sometimes be avoidable. Here are some tips to help you manage the January itch to move on.

  • Take regular time out to check in with employees to discuss their goals, challenges and lives
  • Document important processes, information and knowledge, so if the unavoidable resignation happens, you are prepared
  • Support your employees and try to keep them happy
  • Recognise their successes and achievements
  • Offer training and opportunities for each employee to grow and develop
  • Review your compensation packages

While you cannot stop the January itch to start the new year afresh, you can ensure your employees feel they are valued, supported and can grow within your business. If they still choose to leave, wish them well.

Give The HR Dept a call if you need a hand with resignations and recruitment. Our team is here to help you navigate the highs and lows of HR with ease.

Preventing People Problems

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