From Covid-19 to licenses to air the latest HBO shows, we get things a little later here in Australia. This includes the Great Resignation – we’re feeling the ripple effects already, but the full wave is yet to hit.
 

But is ‘the Great Resignation’ really going to be a ‘thing’ in Australia? Or is it going to fizzle out before we’ve even finished writing our New Year’s resolutions?

 

Honestly? It doesn’t matter. Because the message we’re seeing around the world is clear: the way we think about work is way out of date.

 
When talking about the Great Resignation, lots of articles have focused on the increased options for highly skilled knowledge workers leading to massive pay rises and more flexibility around when and where they work. But it’s not just the employers of engineers and data analysts who are having to adjust the way they think about their staff. Who ordered this pizza?

Of course, pizza isn’t always the answer, and pizza delivery isn’t the only industry being affected by workers having better options, although with more flexible remote work options available for students, that’s definitely a part of it. Lockdowns have led to a shortage of hospitality workers that might otherwise have been met in part by seasonal workers looking for a quick entry into the job market while they get settled in, or to subsidise a working holiday

Opinions are mixed on whether these trends in the workforce will reverse post-lockdown, but the smartest employers are using this opportunity to gain a competitive edge. In the midst of the pandemic, organisations have chosen to either react with temporary solutions – or use it as an opportunity to innovate.

One employer taking the intelligent route is Australia’s very own Atlassian, which actually doubled its workforce over the pandemic. Rather than ride the wave of the pandemic with as little disruption as possible, Atlassian used it as an opportunity to introduce transformative workplace policies that include only requiring employees to come into the office four times a year, allowing many of their existing employees to move away from the expense of living in a big city, and opening up their job opportunities to a much broader range of prospects.

You can see this approach reflected in one of their recent recruitment videos:
 

 
Of course, what works for Atlassian won’t work for everyone. You can’t deliver pizzas in Sydney while living in a houseboat off the coast of Queensland (well, maybe theoretically, but there’s probably some better options out there for you).
 

Responding to our changing labour market conditions isn’t a case of copying another company’s playbook, or suddenly offering remote work options. It’s about examining how your work environment attracts – or discourages – the people who will thrive at your company.

 
If you haven’t already been thinking about this, Great Resignation or not, you should be. Even before the pandemic, employers of choice for Millenials and Gen Z are those who align with their personal values. For employers this means “the way we work” is becoming just as important as the why – and the what. And the way we do things around here = culture. The way we do things is inherently practical, it’s the processes we use, it’s how we make decisions, who makes them and why, who has what role to play, who speaks up. So as you assess and market your workplace, make sure to consider how the operations of the company are set up to support the values of the people you want to attract and retain. A goal without a plan is just a wish, and values that aren’t reflected operationally are just motivational posters with a kitten dangling from a branch.

A culture-first approach is the future of the workforce, regardless of lockdowns or Great Resignation Events And Testing Times (GREATT).

 
So how do we approach this at SoftIron? We’re not claiming to have it all figured out, but we do think deeply about our team’s experience and how our operations can positively support that – and we’re not afraid to do things differently, it’s in our DNA.

We’ve had a lot of advantages larger, older companies lacked over the pandemic – we were already operating under a hybrid work model, with many remote roles complementing the teams in our manufacturing facilities, and the folks who fly out to offer guidance on setting up Ceph clusters.
 

This model of working is a reflection of two of the pillars that make SoftIron, SoftIron: ‘Globally distributed, locally embedded’ and ‘edge manufacturing’.

 
 

Globally distributed, locally embedded

 
Though we’re smaller than other, older hardware companies, we’re already spread out across the world, and will continue to have people and products on the ground across a growing number of countries. This allows us to offer roles to the best talent across the world, remotely or through local opportunities as we create and support products in country which reflects our manufacturing strategy.
 
 

Edge Manufacturing

 
Our new factory in New South Wales is the most recent demonstration of this pillar and our unique approach to manufacturing – building products in the country they’ll be used in. On the ground, with the best local talent doing so. Not only do we create infrastructure ideal for edge computing, we like to work at the edge, too.

In closing, we haven’t just tacked on remote roles to a bricks and mortar operation to ride out the pandemic, and you shouldn’t either if you genuinely want it to work for your team. For SoftIron, this hybrid model is a fundamental part of how we operate, and both allows and demonstrates the flexibility also inherent in our culture. But more on that in future posts.

Like the sound of how we work? Check out the opportunities on our Careers page and take the green pill!