Christmas is Coming, and your Employees are Going

One of the effects of Covid-19 has been people looking at their work in the context of their lifestyle.  Instead of trying to construct a life around their work, they want a lifestyle. This article highlights some relevant US Research. 

This winter will be different. As we approach Christmas and New Year, many people become a bit reflective. Perhaps it's the drink or the never-ending festivities and boastful conversations. But, one way or the other, it is a time when many top performers examine their career and their future with their current employer. As a result, January traditionally sees a surge in employee departures and vacancies right across the globe.

Some research suggests January 31st as the busiest day of the year in the recruitment market. This is because people decide over Christmas and start looking at their options in January.

If you are an employer, you should be prepared. There is a double whammy coming at you next January. Working from home gave people a taste of an alternative lifestyle, and many of them liked it. So, adding that to the usual January turnover and 2022 could start off very challenging indeed. 

Research conducted by our own CSO as part of their CSO Pulst Surveys in November 2021 shows that a significant proportion of workers really appreciate the impact the new Covid work environment has exposed them to. You can find the full details here. If you took part in the survey, you might already have seen these key findings. 

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These CSO statistics suggest that many people have found the new flexible working environment to have had a positive impact on their lives.

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Of course, you could try to save this year by engaging with your key employees and asking them about the changes they would like to see made in the business in 2022. You might learn something valuable from these conversations, and you might stop some of the waverers from leaving with your promise of better times ahead. Of course, you had better deliver on those promises.

It is probably too late to stop them going this year, but it is not too late to start eliminating the reasons they leave and building the reasons to stay so you don't face the same problem next year. So there are two parts to your 2022 New Year Resolution. Stop them wanting to leave and make them want to stay. They are two different strategies, but you can add them together by just becoming a better employer. 

So, what is a Good Employer? 

Good employment is not just about wages and "Terms and Conditions of Employment". Our modern Irish workforce is well educated, with very few exceptions. Well educated workers look for more in their relationship with an employer. They do not wish to be considered as a unit of production. They have a lot to give and want a more equal relationship than the low trust "them and us" environment so many find themselves in. 

This relationship is about the psychological contract. It is about shared values and a sense that they, as human beings, are also valued by the business. Top of the list of values is trust. With trust comes factors such as Team Spirit, Responsibility, Organisational Clarity, Standards, Autonomy and genuine Rewards. 

Take a quick peep at these factors and how they can impact a place of work: 

Team Spirit

Team spirit can be both positive and negative. It can bind a business into a single, well-functioning entity or divide the business into two cohesive but warring camps of the "them and us" variety. Good Team Spirit means that there is a prevailing atmosphere of trust across all roles and levels, that "good relationships" are seen as essential and where employees at all levels seek to support others when and where it is needed. 

Organisational Clarity

People like to know where their journey is taking them. They like to know how their efforts for the business contribute to the overall performance of the company. They want to know that those at the top know what they are doing and want to be part of it. This is more like a racing yacht than a pirate ship.  Organisational clarity must be shared across the whole business. Organisational clarity is a sign of trust and contributes to Team Spirit and, as we will see, to so many more factors. 


Do your employees have a sense of responsibility toward their work, their colleagues and the business as a whole? Again, Organisational Clarity contributes to this; if I know where I am going and what I am expected to contribute, I can control my work. Too often, responsibility is delegated without the autonomy to deliver. 


Standards are a critical factor in a Good Organisation. Without standards, performance is going to be erratic. Without Organisational Clarity and Standards, Responsibility is meaningless. In a world where Performance Management is such a hot topic, the simple task of providing clarity, standards, and appropriate responsibility puts performance management into the hands of workers who have a meaningful sense of ownership of the task and commitment to the team. 


Conformity is about rules. Are the rules in your organisation appropriate? Do they inhibit innovation? Do they restrict an employee's actions that might otherwise lead to higher performance? Does punishment arise from mistakes that might choke innovation? Mistakes made and lessons learned are the best of teachers. Too often, an organisation is crippled by adherence to outmoded concepts around conformity. 

So, Why Worry?

You've heard that famous line "Those that Can, Do". Those with the education, skills, knowledge and personal characteristics that can deliver above-average levels of performance will move on if their job or role doesn't provide the satisfaction they can get elsewhere. 

Alongside the six factors described above and some new elements that Covid has uncovered around the place of work and the time of work. For example, flexibility is a significant new player in how people view their jobs. Get the six factors above in place at the appropriate levels across your organisation, and the opportunities to leverage Flexibility will quickly become apparent.

Make 2022 the year to reposition your business as not just a Good Employer but a Great Employer. At Sagitas, we have the tools, techniques and experience to guide your business from Good to Great.