Is The Great Resignation Something Bosses Should Address?

Updated on

Companies the world over are going through a phenomenon dubbed ‘the great resignation.’ It is a trend of large swaths of employees leaving that kicked off during COVID-19. Many people reevaluated their situations, priorities, and lives due to the pandemic.

Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF

Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues

Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

With the job market hotter than ever, others chose to seek out new opportunities while they were available. Workers have never been in a better bargaining position than now as employers struggle to find people with the skills needed to get the job done.

According to the World Economic Forum, 41% of workers globally are thinking about changing jobs.

What Is The Great Resignation?

The great resignation was coined by Texas A&M University's Professor Anthony Klotz. In his study of workforce trends, he predicted that many employees would leave their jobs after the pandemic.

While he predicted that this would occur once the pandemic ends, we already see it unfold while the pandemic continues. Employees are dealing with the aftershocks that the seismic shifts the pandemic caused.

The New York Times highlights more open positions in the US than ever, with four million Americans quitting in July of 2021. Official data shows that over four million more left their jobs in September. Moreover, the rate of resignations was the highest in healthcare and technology for mid-career workers and the service sector.

What Are The Causes Of The Great Resignation?

Burnout from working through the pandemic is a big one. However, the sector that has experienced the most significant departure is the service industry, whether food service, retail, or hospitality.

These workers were deemed essential through the pandemic, working extra hours, and dealing with untold stress. This wasn't helped by the number of dine-in restaurants that were forced to shut by local regulations, as well as cruise ships, airlines, and events staff. It's the nature of these business models, and it has a knock-on effect on the employees' motivation and wellbeing.

While many employers have increased wages, it hasn't been enough to entice people. One of the primary reasons for this could be how everything reopened following the pandemic.

  • Employees are tired of unprepared, ill-equipped managers who don't listen — lack flexibility, poor communication, and no emotional intelligence factor.
  • Rigid workplace policies.
  • A lack of constructive feedback.

Wages aren't the only issue, and ultimately, it is a culmination of things that started bubbling over when the pandemic hit.

“Many employees are also grappling with return-to-work mandates because of health and safety concerns the pandemic has brought, especially as new variants continue to pop up and reignite uncertainty. Technology, however, offers solutions that office owners and commercial landlords can take advantage of that ease these anxieties and keep people safe.

For example, access control that offers touchless access for doors, elevators, and turnstiles is a great way to minimize germ-spread and eliminate common touch-points throughout offices,” said James Segil, vice president of Access Control at Openpath, a Motorola solutions company.

Why Has The Future Of Work Changed?

Today, it is far easier to create your own business. With knowledge at our fingertips, many workers are up-skilling themselves, which opens a whole new world of opportunities. Side hustles are also more common, and a semi-successful one may tide workers over between jobs.

Jason Smith, the founder of Courses for Success, sheds light on this, “In addition to better wages, employees want healthcare, dental, hybrid/flexible working, and improved working environments. Moreover, they care about the company's sustainability message and social impact.”

Attrition Versus Attraction

Attrition is a term generally used for natural labor turnover, but what we have seen in the last 18 months is anything but ordinary. Volen Vulkov, Cofounder of Enhancv says, “Given the fact that the majority of people are leaving companies that offer little to no future growth to employees, it’s the boss’ job to find new ways for their employees to grow.”

Experts predict that it is only going to get worse. Research from McKinsey shows that up to 40% of employees may quit their jobs in the coming six months. With job openings on the rise, and many workers looking for new positions, there's an opportunity to flip the script and focus on attraction.

What steps do you need to take if you want to be part of the great attraction rather than the great attrition? There are a variety of strategies business leaders can use to retain and attract talent.

Strategies Business Leaders Can Use To Retain And Attract Talent

Employees want opportunities to grow, and they have shown they are willing to leave their positions to find companies that will provide them with those opportunities. If your best employee quit tomorrow, what would you do to change their mind?

You have to get ahead of things by asking your employees how they would shape their dream job if given the opportunity. The most successful organizations have held retention interviews to find out what employees need to stay, and you should do the same.

In terms of wages, you can incentivize loyalty with the right package. It isn't just base salary; it's bonuses, loan help, stipends, and benefits. It all plays a role, and many companies are offering departed employees these things to bring them back. This includes mental health services, recognition, acknowledgment, and family support.

What is the point of your business? What is your purpose? Is that something you frequently and accurately communicate to your team to imprint a strong culture at work? It's something both consumers and employees expect now. It should shape everything you do.

You can't afford to ignore the great resignation. You can take steps right now to solidify your team, make yourself an attractive prospect for job searchers, and attract new and exciting talent. As with anything, future-proofing your business will keep you ahead of your competition.