The Great Resignation: Will Your Workforce Leave Too?

The Great Resignation: Will Your Workforce Leave Too?
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Large turnover rates are heading our way in what is now dubbed “The Great Resignation.” The time has come for company leaders to truly pay attention and understand their workforce to avoid being hit by this wave. 

So, what do we mean by “Great resignation”?

This has become a popular term coined by Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. The phrase refers to the large number of workers who are either quitting or seriously considering it as the pandemic starts to dial down. 

Here are some numbers that you might want to consider:

Although the US Bureau of Labor statistics showed in May that the level and rate of people who are quitting decreased to 3.6 million and 2.5 percent, compared to the 4 million people who quit back in April, this trend will continue to show as vaccination rates go up and employees are asked to return to the office. The question is, why?

The big mindset shift

Last year, due to the global pandemic, most of the workforce was rushed into remote work schemes. And, what came in the form of abrupt change not only made a lot of employees question the way they performed their jobs, but their entire lifestyles.

Let’s not forget that employees and teams are more than just figures, they’re people. And as such, a lot of them have come to realize that the traditional 9-to-5 on-site work style may not sit well with their new and refined priorities. Flexibility and time management have become an increasingly popular necessity for workers post-covid.

Some of the things that stopped making sense for many people once they realized there are other ways to work include: 1 to 2 hours of commuting on top of 8 hours at work, a neglected nutrition based on takeouts, poor quality time with loved ones, and more.

Why leave now?

Employees now feel very encouraged to leave their jobs. Not just because some of them love working from home, but because of the new possibilities arising in the job market. While some companies are fixed on bringing everybody back to the office, either full time or through hybrid work schemes, others have decided to evolve along with the global industry’s changes.

Just as many employees are quitting, there are plenty of companies that have started posting remote opportunities in the hopes of finding top talent regardless of location. For people who relocated during the pandemic, either to be closer to their families or to explore the world as digital nomads, these job offers are the right cup of tea.

Now, some employees might even leave their companies to do something entirely different. Some have decided to roll with their passion projects as freelancers or start a new business as entrepreneurs. At the same time, others decided to re-skill and up-skill by learning new things through online courses and certifications for a job in a different industry. 

So, it’s safe to say that, after last year’s wave of layoffs and furloughs, people are not just leaving their jobs in an inconsiderate tantrum for more bedtime in the mornings, as some old-fashioned managers claim. This is a conscious attempt to find work-life balance and stability in a way that makes sense to these former employees.

What can employers do about it?

  • Times have changed, embrace it

Simon Sinek’s book, The Infinite Game, talks about how infinite or large-minded companies thrive in challenging times because they expect to be transformed and evolved along with those changes. Instead of forcing your employees to go back to the way things were, think about how to move on according to this new reality.

  • Talk to your workforce… and actually listen

Many companies have been sending surveys to their workforce in an attempt to understand their needs. Still, in some cases, it comes across as bureaucratic paperwork and not a real interest on the side of the company leaders. 

Try promoting one-on-one meetings between managers and their teams to better interpret the results from the surveys. You might realize that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, but you might also find a way to cater to different alternatives.

  • Prepare for worst-case scenarios

Alternatives like hybrid work are good but not good enough for those who have set their mind on leaving the company. So, it would be best if you were prepared for that. Design a preemptive hiring strategy, work with a recruiter, and stay in constant communication with your managers and teams so you can be prepared for any possible resignations.

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