20 Oct Navigating The Great Resignation
A record-breaking 4.3 million people quit their jobs in August. What does that say about the current job market? Well, it says a lot, but mostly it’s a sign of the unprecedented power that workers have right now. This empowerment can be seen across a diverse range of industries and it’s clearly a red flag regarding the state of workplace culture. 2.9% of the workforce calling it quits is clearly an indication that they feel they deserve better working conditions. And, it’s an indication that they’re confident in their ability to find that greener grass.
2.9% of the workforce calling it quits is clearly an indication that they feel they deserve better working conditions.
The staggering number of resignations included 892,000 in hospitality, 721,000 in retail, 706,000 in professional business services and 534,000 workers in health care and social assistance. With so many people giving up their jobs, it’s obvious that we have a huge issue on our hands. Evidence suggests that more than half of the U.S. population is unhappy with their jobs. This lingering dissatisfaction has always been there, but it’s only just come to the surface due to the massive shock we’ve all experienced as a result of the pandemic.
We’ve all had that voice in the back of our heads, telling us to quit the job that makes us miserable, and we’ve all ignored it at some point or another. The only difference is that people are actually listening to that voice now, and giving it decision-making power.
Clearly, unemployment is not so attractive that people are quitting their jobs across all industries in order to receive the benefits.
For some reason, there’s been a myth circulating that the newly attractive emergency unemployment benefits are to blame for the labor shortage. Countless studies have debunked this misconception, finding “no evidence that more generous benefits disincentivized work.” Plus, the Census Bureau has found evidence that 1 in 3 people on unemployment are still failing to cover essential expenses such as food, housing, and healthcare. And a whopping 75% of unemployed parents reported not being able to sufficiently feed their children. Clearly, unemployment is not so attractive that people are quitting their jobs across all industries in order to receive the benefits. This myth, while not true, is a peek into how unattractive working conditions must be for people to prefer unemployment over a stable job.
The truth of the matter is that working conditions are not great in many organizations, and that people are finally realizing that they deserve better, and that they have the power to make that demand. People would not be looking for a new job if their current job offered an appealing culture, or a satisfying employee experience. This newfound leverage amongst workers is being used to change the nationwide standard for workplace culture.
So, the question now becomes, how can organizations effectively navigate this workforce transformation? Here are a few of the things you can do to attract and retain talent during a time when almost everyone is struggling to do so.
Rethink your hiring process
With so many organizations scrambling to fill vacant positions, competition is high. In order to keep up, you’ll need to be agile and adapt your hiring practices to meet the changing environment. Currently, organizations benefit from being able to adopt a more remote-focused approach to recruiting. It’s also a good time to rethink what your priorities are in terms of candidate capabilities, to make sure that your strategy is aligned with your actual goals. Consider hiring a recruiting firm to help tackle your hiring needs. If going that route, be sure to pick a firm that will find the right people to fill your vacancies. Our favorite recruiting firm is P3Hired, because they understand that recruiting isn’t a one size fits all process.
Give your culture some TLC
People would not be quitting if they didn’t feel dissatisfied with their jobs. If your employees don’t feel a genuine connection to your organization, you’re in trouble. Take a look at your mission, vision, and values and determine whether your company culture really has a strong appeal. Ask yourself too if those values are being lived each and every day or whether they are “words on a wall.” With workers having so much leverage right now, you can’t afford to have a subpar culture. The biggest trend we’re seeing in terms of desired culture right now is flexibility. Learn more in our blog, “Flexibility is the Future of Work.”
Focus on what you have
While you may have lost some top talent, odds are you still have a great team. By focusing on the people who are still with your organization, you can achieve a few things. First of all, it demonstrates how much you value them, which in turn encourages them to perform their best and stick around. Secondly, you can develop them into a team of engaged, empowered and high performers with a bit of coaching, training, and mentoring. And third, it’s very attractive to potential talent when they see how much you invest in your people.
It’s not often that we get such an all-encompassing opportunity to reassess the way we’ve been operating for as long as we can remember.
It seems promising that this workforce transformation will lead to an increased employee satisfaction rate across the nation. That’s not only because people are empowered to find a job they like, but also because businesses have no choice but to better their culture in order to attract talent. No doubt the worker shortage will have an impact on the global economy as things settle after a period of shock, but the positive upheaval that will result is worth it. Sometimes, we need a reset. It’s not often that we get such an all-encompassing opportunity to reassess the way we’ve been operating for as long as we can remember. Periods of transition can be uncomfortable, which is why many of us don’t often seek them out, but ultimately change is a necessary part of life. Without embracing the opportunities we get for initiating positive change, we’d all be stuck in the now-archaic ways of the past. If you need help navigating change, schedule a consultation with The Silverene Group.
Shaara Roman is founder and CEO of The Silverene Group, a culture consultancy that helps companies align their people programs with business goals.