Planning Points: Navigating the resignation season: maximising employee benefits for retention

Between February and April, a notable surge in resignation letters hits desks. Picture: Nick Fewings Unsplash.

Between February and April, a notable surge in resignation letters hits desks. Picture: Nick Fewings Unsplash.

Published Feb 18, 2024


As the year’s first quarter unfolds, workplaces across various industries brace themselves for what has become known as the “resignation season”. Between February and April, a notable surge in resignation letters hits desks, leaving employers and colleagues alike pondering the reasons behind this annual phenomenon.

This period of heightened resignations is not a new trend but a well-established pattern observed in workplaces worldwide. While the exact reasons behind this surge may vary depending on individual circumstances and industry dynamics, several overarching factors contribute.

One of the primary catalysts for the surge in resignations during this time is the natural reflection that often accompanies the start of a new year. Many individuals take advantage of the fresh beginning offered by January to evaluate their career paths, reassess their goals, and contemplate their job satisfaction. This period of self-reflection can prompt employees to recognise any lingering discontent or unfulfilled aspirations within their current roles, ultimately leading them to seek new opportunities elsewhere.

Furthermore, for many companies, the end of the fiscal year frequently coincides with the onset of the resignation season. As financial reports are finalised and performance evaluations conducted, employees may become acutely aware of their contributions to the organisation and whether they feel adequately recognised and rewarded for their efforts. Dissatisfaction with compensation, lack of career advancement opportunities, or a perceived misalignment with the company’s values and culture can trigger individuals to pursue alternative employment options.

Another significant factor contributing to the surge in resignations during this period is the anticipation of annual bonuses and performance-based incentives. Employees who have been dissatisfied with their current roles may choose to delay their departure until they have received these additional financial benefits, providing them with a financial cushion as they transition into new opportunities.

The phenomenon highlights the importance of employers prioritising employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention throughout the year. Organisations can mitigate the risk of losing valuable talent by fostering a positive work environment, providing opportunities for career development, and regularly soliciting feedback from employees.

Employee benefits are pivotal in enhancing job satisfaction and fostering employee loyalty. Comprehensive employee benefits, including group risk benefits such as income protection, disability and life insurance, retirement funds, and medical aid offer employees a sense of security and stability. By providing comprehensive wellness benefits through employee assistance programmes, employers demonstrate their commitment to supporting the well-being of their workforce.

Furthermore, retirement benefits are a significant aspect of employee benefits, contributing to long-term financial security. Employers can enhance their retirement packages by offering matching contributions and, significantly, access to individualised financial planning. These incentives encourage employees to stay with the company and cultivate a sense of loyalty and investment in its success.

Employee assistance programmes (EAPs) are another invaluable resource for promoting job satisfaction and retention. EAPs offer confidential counselling, financial assistance, and other support services to employees facing personal or professional challenges. By providing access to such resources, employers demonstrate empathy and commitment to their employees’ holistic well-being, ultimately fostering a positive work environment and enhancing retention rates.

For employees contemplating a change, it is essential to approach the decision thoughtfully and strategically. Conducting thorough research, networking with professionals in your desired field, and carefully evaluating potential opportunities can help you make informed decisions that align with your long-term career goals and financial aspirations.

If you decide to resign, bear in mind that you need to make important decisions regarding your employee benefits and retirement funds. Many companies offer the option for employees to retain certain risk benefits even after leaving the company. For instance, you may be able to continue your medical aid coverage and risk benefits in your personal capacity. Additionally, transferring retirement funds to a preservation fund allows you to preserve your savings and continue to benefit from tax advantages and investment growth. Importantly, to stay on track with your retirement and financial goals.

This time of year presents both challenges and opportunities for employers to reassess their employee retention strategies. By prioritising comprehensive benefits packages, including group risk benefits, retirement funds, and employee assistance programmes, employers can foster job satisfaction and loyalty among their workforce. Moreover, offering flexible options for retaining benefits when resigning ensures a smooth transition for departing employees, ultimately contributing to a positive employer brand and sustained organisational success. As you revisit your strategies, engage the services of a certified financial planner and reputable firms specialising in employee benefits schemes and individualised financial planning. These professionals can provide invaluable guidance in optimising your employee benefits offerings and developing tailored strategies to enhance employee retention.

For employees, when contemplating resigning or transitioning to a new role, seek the assistance of a certified financial planner to help you make informed decisions regarding your employee benefits, retirement funds, and overall financial planning. By leveraging expert advice, you can maximise the value of your benefits package and ensure a smooth transition to your next career opportunity.

* Dube is certified financial planner and a director and wealth manager at Wealth Creed. She is a practising member of the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa and is the Financial Planner of the Year 2022.