Steven Jagger, Founder, Maxwell Bond

Culture “revamp” necessary to weather recession

A recession should not have any impact on staff turnover or retention

Predictions of a spiralling economic crisis will be another blow to businesses’ hiring headway but according to Steven Jagger, founder of tech recruitment firm Maxwell Bond business leaders should “revamp” their culture in order to weather the looming recession and avoid a Great Resignation 2.0.

The arrival of the so-called Great Resignation this year hit the headlines and saw UK businesses’ staff turnover and attrition rates hitting record levels. But experts are forecasting another blow once the impacts of inflation, the cost-of-living crisis, and the recession come into full force.

Steven Jagger, Founder, Maxwell Bond commented: “An economic crisis shouldn’t leave you clutching at straws and panicking. Staff will always be loyal – if you give them reason to be. Employees don’t leave workplaces and colleagues – they leave bad leadership, toxic culture, or a lack of vision for your team and business. Ask yourself, when was the last time you looked at these and revamped your vision?”

Jagger was quoted saying that while a recession would be another blow to businesses when they’re already down, it shouldn’t have any impact on staff turnover or retention if your business’s culture is right.

The founder of the award-winning tech and digital recruiter whose clients include the BBC, Reckitt Benckiser, Barclays, TalkTalk, and Mastercard, believes talent retention “is a skill in itself” and that many leaders “fail to see the importance of it in times of adversity”.

Jagger continued: “By industry standards, we should have experienced higher attrition rates than we have to get to these numbers, but we founded the company on the values of prioritising people, especially our staff, above anything else.

“A recent Deloitte report shows only 56 per cent of employees think their company’s leadership cares about their wellbeing – contrasted to 91 per cent of leadership believing their employees think they care. This disconnect is a big player in staff turnover.

“Companies need to go the extra mile to attract and retain candidates if they want to hit their hiring aspirations, stay ahead of their competitors, and weather the incoming storm. In times of adversity, it’s understandable that survival instincts are to slash headcount and starve spending – but this short-term logic leaves firms bare once the turmoil is over.

With that being said, he understands employers can be afraid of the “T word” (turnover), wrongly perceiving that it reflects their leadership and values: “Some level of turnover, whether facing economic hardship or not, is part of any healthy organisation. If you train people up, they may leave to progress further and take on a higher role or they may be poached by another company for their skills and talents.

“Either of these scenarios means that as their employer, you did your job properly. Remember: running water never goes stale.”

But Jagger says to take heed: “Retaining someone who doesn’t fit the company values can easily make the whole infrastructure fail,” he says. “Put a bad apple amongst good apples, the good ones will eventually turn bad and leave.”

Maxwell Bond has grown by 4,000 per cent since its inception five years ago, despite weathering numerous economic crises, and has seen a further 45 per cent increase just in the last six months. The firm took no financial support from the government during the pandemic.

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