The entire workforce is changing, right before our eyes. As millions of workers are leaving their jobs every month, employers are facing tough questions about how to attract and retain talent. Meanwhile, workers in every single profession are seeking more ease, meaning and joy in their jobs. Welcome to the Great Resignation!
On this episode of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work, our pair of pretties riff on what has become known as The Great Resignation. Yes, people are leaving the workforce in droves, and not returning to the workforce after being laid off due to COVID. There is essentially a mass exodus from the workplace.
So here are some jarring stats:
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, during the months of April, May, and June 2021, a total of 11.5 million workers quit their jobs. This is significantly more than this time last year – about 40% more. Sure there were layoffs, but these are quits – folks who leave of their own accord.
- A survey of over 30,000 workers conducted by Microsoft found that 41 percent are considering quitting; that number jumps to 54 percent when Gen-Z is considered alone.
- Gallup found that 48 percent of employees are actively searching for new opportunities.
- And Persio reported that 38 percent of those they surveyed planned to make a change in the next six months. The Great Resignation Is Here, and It’s Real | Inc.com
- A recent survey by the search firm Korn Ferry found that over 90 percent of retailers are struggling to fill empty positions, even though nearly one in three offer sign-on bonuses and another third have instituted paid referral programs. The Great Resignation: Why Millions of People Are Quitting (and How Employers Can Earn– Not Lure–Them Back
- As of May, 1.8m of the 5m women who lost their jobs in 2020 have not returned to work. Women Rush To Entrepreneurship In ‘The Great Resignation’ (forbes.com)
We know a little about why they are leaving. The vast majority spent that time trapped in their home thinking about their current work situation and realized they needed a change. Stress and burnout are also significant factors as people, particularly women push the eject button. Some are just dissatisfied with how their employer has handed COVID, others cite unfairness and others just decided being a two income household was too much and made the decision to live with just one income. And some have been motivated to take the leap and start their own business.
If you are one of those employees looking for the door, our hosts have some ideas:
- Getting another job before you leave is safer, but staying can be unbearable
- Consider having at least 6 months savings and stop spending money
- Do the work to understand what you want, what you need, what your values are (listen to the meaning episodes!). Remember that you take yourself with you wherever you go.
- Change one variable at a time at your current job
- Give your current job some time to settle, especially if you’re compensated well and it aligns with your values
- Lean on your network to find other opportunities
- Set up job alerts
- Work on your resume
- Remember that while it’s a job seekers market, there are still a lot of other people who will be competing with you for the job
If you are one of those managers looking to keep your employees, consider these strategies:
- Once pay and benefits are fair — not industry-leading, just appropriate and reasonable — how you treat people makes a huge difference.
- Talk to your employees to determine whether the company’s mission and values align with employees; mission and values
- Make sure your employees know what is expected of them
- Take the opportunity to recognize and make use of employees; strengths
- Be fair and kind to your workers
- Invest in internal communication and transparent decision-making
- Build trust and team
And there is some anecdotal proof that these kinds of measures work. A study of more than 400,000 people published in Harvard Business Review found that when employees believe promotions are managed effectively, employee turnover rates are half that of other companies in the same industry.
The last 20 months have been a very unusual and upsetting time. It is understandable that the vast majority of us are reconsidering how we spend our work time – and it makes sense that we are considering a change. If you are a manager, accepting that reality and being the preferred employer is important if you want to retain your employees. If you are an employee, plan carefully, but the workplace is your metaphorical oyster (you know, the one with the pearl) in ways it has never been.