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The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation

Written by:
Melissa Johnston

You will likely have heard the term "The Great Resignation". Over the last few months we have had a number of clients approach us for ideas and wanting to know how they can set their organisation apart from others in order to retain staff. Many of our clients are seeing a demand for significant pay increases. Although we would all like to be able to offer significant pay increases this is not always realistic and sometimes it isn't the money that keeps the staff. Employees may leave because of the lack of benefits, lack of recognition, lack of flexibility, which are all things you can do something about. Sometimes it's simply that the employee needs a change, in that instance you need to wish them well (in a positive way) – you never know when that employee has the ability to influence work coming your way.

Here are some ideas that may help to retain and attract new staff.

Hire the right people

Hire the right people. Make sure you get to know the candidate, ask a lot of questions and ensure they understand the job they are applying for. Hiring the wrong person is costly. Put in place easy practices that will assist in the hiring process. These can include checklists for each role, pre-screening, a list of questions specific to each role and interviews with key people the candidate will be working with to ensure they will fit within the nature of the team.

If you have people leaving shortly after they are hired, revisit your interview process, are you asking the right questions, is the advert for the role correct?


Get the induction right. Ensure the new employee understands the company, its culture and 'buys' into the hype. The induction stage is a great time for the employee to forge new relationships with their team members. Organise team morning teas or lunches to make the employee feel welcome and excited to get to know the team.


Offer benefits. Often benefits can help to attract talent and retain staff. We have seen a range of benefits being offered including:

• A duvet day – one day a year an employee can simply say, I'm not coming in;

• Birthday leave – giving staff paid leave for their birthday if it falls on a week day;

• Grandparent leave – giving staff a few additional days paid leave if they have a grandchild;

• Pet leave – giving staff leave if they get a new pet or they need time off to attend to a pet;

• Offering wellbeing leave;

• Extra sick leave;

• Offering full or subsidised medical insurance;

• Office fruit bowls;

• Having a paid life admin day;

• Offering mentoring programmes; and

• Striking up discounts on shops, bank interest rates.


The obvious retention and attraction tool is to provide competitive remuneration, but a good salary doesn't always mean staff will stay. If you can't increase salaries, you can think about offering a sign on bonus, employee shares or a retention bonus.

Career path

Communicate, communicate and communicate. Talk to your staff, let them know they are valued. If you can, offer your employees a career path. Let your employees know they are important. Be hands on in developing and upskilling your employees and allow the employee the opportunity to say how they want to progress in their career and what assistance they think they need to get there.

Flexible work arrangement

Since Covid-19 we have been busy writing flexible work policies. We are also seeing clients offering four day weeks or nine day fortnights, others are requiring staff to be in the office a certain amount of days per week or month. In 2020, Future Forum shared a global pulse survey, and overwhelmingly the majority of people wanted a hybrid working model, the ability to work in the office and at home.


In addition to a flexible working policy, we are starting to see clients introduce trail blazing policies we haven't seen in NZ before such as menopause policies; pet friendly policies, summer Fridays (half or full days off); and extended bereavement and sick leave.

Workplace culture

If an employee enjoys working within the organisation and has good connections with those working around them, they will be less likely to leave. Holding regular "fun" events that encourage employees to forge relationships and make fond memories within the company can significantly boost morale within the workplace. Events can include game and quiz nights, dinner and drinks, workplace outings to different activities such as bowling or different sports groups.

Saying goodbye

Finally, employees will inevitably leave, but you can make it harder for them to make the decision by having great benefits and policies in place. If they choose to leave, make sure you give them a great send off, you never know they may return in the future.

We are here to help. Let us know if you need any assistance in evolving your workplace into a desirable place to work.

For more details, please contact:

Melissa Johnston (Partner) on (09) 306 6729 (

Hiruni Wijewardhana (Solicitor) on (09) 262 4940 (

See our Expertise page

Employment Law

Written by Melissa Johnston

© McVeagh Fleming 2022

This article is published for general information purposes only.  Legal content in this article is necessarily of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  If you require specific legal advice in respect of any legal issue, you should always engage a lawyer to provide that advice.

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