How to make the Great Resignation work for you

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Article provided by Lorraine O’Keeffe, Director of People at Noon, the Social Learning Company

The Great Resignation is in full swing and the workforce is in a position they have never faced before.

According to CV Library more than three quarters (76.4%) of UK professionals intend to look for a new job this year. With so many people looking to move roles, surely you can’t make it work in your favour? Yes. Yes you can.

Employers are keen to hang onto good employees, both on hire and those long-term. With this in mind, it is a great opportunity to leverage what you really want from a job role – be it more flexibility, responsibility or permanent working from home arrangements. Now more than ever employers are being more flexible and accommodating to retain their current employees or get them to join their companies, especially in tech.

Tech you say?

Never considered tech before? It’s the fastest changing industry and ever evolving. Tech companies are barely rooted in traditional corporate structures that you may be used to, with processes at the helm of their ships. Tech is quite the opposite and can offer big opportunities to people to explore and learn new skills. 

We need more women in tech as role models to inspire the next generations and encourage diversity conversations in the boardrooms – virtual or not! It may not always be easy. The Tech world is still dominated by men, for example according to PWC just 5% of leadership positions in the tech sector are held by women  but we are on a path to change this and it is helped by every woman that joins. 

Being a woman in the tech industry means you are already a minority in the room and there is often a misconceived notion that women have worse technical skills than their male counterparts. This is certainly not the case and now more than ever employers in tech are proactively looking to diversify their workforce. There are some excellent female mentors and female specific programs within the industry that are supporting women’s development and providing access to networks to help introduce more women to the world of tech. This also creates a pipeline for diverse talent.  Events such as Women Silicon Roundabout is just one such example.

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Be bold and be seen.

At times working in tech I have struggled to be seen as an equal counterpart to some of my male colleagues. In most instances it’s simply unconscious bias towards the fact I am female and not an intentional knowing that perhaps asking me to take the notes during the meeting as I am the only female in the room is not my sole contribution to the company.

Women will always face a challenge within tech as from the outset, even before beginning a career in tech, girls are less likely to study STEM subjects at school compared to the 83% of males who do. 

But this challenge is not insurmountable by any means. Embedding yourself in the community of female tech leaders, entrepreneurs and mentors is key. Today there are enough women-centric tech organisations bringing together communities to combat some of the existing inequalities women face. These communities can help navigate what comes next whether this be gender bias in the workplace, unequal job growth opportunities or unequal pay for the same job.

It helps to understand the challenges of working in a male-dominated industry, have faith in yourself and know that sometimes it’s okay to not be okay. You too, have something valuable which sets you apart from the rest so make sure you shout about it often! 

The best tip I’ve ever received when applying for new roles is to make yourself visible. Say you find a job on LinkedIn and apply, follow up by sending the hiring manager a friendly and personal message to let them know you’ve applied for the role and are keen to meet with them. Do your research on the company and show off that knowledge. With more people applying to new roles in light of the Great Resignation, applications may be competitive and this small tip can set you apart from the rest. 

One last thing here which may seem obvious but – make sure your professional profiles are up to date! This is something we can forget to do which could make a big difference to you moving forward in lieu of traditional CVs.

A tip for the employer – Culture fit leads to toxic bias

In order to attract the right people, you too need to live the values you preach. I do not believe in hiring the right ‘culture fit’, this can lead to bias that is toxic, but hiring people who align with your values is so important to build a culture that drives your business in a positive way. At its core ‘culture fit’ means to hire those people who align with the company’s mindset, habits, values and vision. So often you see businesses hiring from a company with a more established culture, that they may be trying to emulate like at Google, Netflix or Facebook and profile a certain type of person. This can lead to a noticeable lack of diversity amongst teams, favouritism amongst certain employees and an unwillingness to usher in change.

A great way to do this is through a culture panel to interview potential candidates made up with a diverse team from your company. With talent so competitive, it may be tempting to hire anyone that can do the role quickly, but by slowing down and asking the right questions you can make better decisions for the long term.

Lorraine O'KeefeAbout the author

Lorraine O’Keeffe is a Senior HR Professional with 14+ years’ of strategic and operational experience working in global high-growth business’ and technology start ups. In Lorraine’s current role as Director of People at Noon, she is responsible for leading the overall human resources strategy, global talent acquisition, employee and cultural development. Prior to joining Noon, Lorraine served as People Director at Builder.ai as well as HR Lead at Global Web Index. Before entering the world of technology Lorraine worked in ad land at such agencies as Adam&EveDDB and Olgivy. 

Through joining Noon, Lorraine hopes to transform the People and TA functions, grow Noon’s culture, and make HR more impactful across the company to support its business goals and strategies as well as the needs and aspirations of its 100+ employees around the globe. Lorraine’s aim is to be an advocate for people centric people processes that give employees at Noon an exceptional people experience from day one. 

Lorraine holds a BA Degree in Arts as well as a Degrees in Personal Management and Employment Law from the University College Cork (UCC) and Law Society, Dublin. Part time stand-up, at least once a month Lorraine can be found in a basement pub making a room full of strangers laugh.

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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