After experiencing a staggering number of life-altering events during the last two years, many workers are adopting a “life is short” mentality and re-examining their priorities, which poses a threat to their employment status within an organization that isn’t meeting their needs financially or emotionally. What does this mean for the workplaces they are leaving behind? Can companies adapt to changing demands and increased expectations of employees? Or will the great resignation of 2022 be the new norm.
The Great Resignation of 2022 is a global phenomenon that began in early 2021 as a record four million Americans quit their job in a month, with workers in other countries worldwide taking note and closely following suit. This came at a time when staffing shortages were already impacting the global workforce due to safety concerns about the ongoing pandemic and the financial impact of the global shutdown on many corporations, among other socio-economic reasons.
The overarching theme of The Great Resignation is that employees are simply losing interest in remaining loyal to companies
in favor of seeking fulfillment in other positions and in areas beyond their employment. Thanks to widespread burnout and stagnating wages at a time when inflation is soaring, all with a potential recession looming on the horizon, employees are not behaving as they have before.
The culture of the workforce is shifting to one where jobseekers, not employers, hold the upper hand and have more negotiating power over their terms of employment. They attend quarterly performance reviews and job interviews with the knowledge that if the conversation doesn’t veer in their favor, they can easily reach out to one of the dozen recruiters in their LinkedIn inbox and have a new job lined up by the end of the week. Their urgent exit to a more suitable situation often leaves employers shorthanded.
It may be necessary to pivot your business decisions and take a people-centered approach rather than a profit-centered approach or risk losing long-term viability altogether.
It’s not uncommon at this point to experience a reshuffle within your organization. Roles may be redefined to make sure departments are sufficiently supported through a staffing shortage. Remaining flexible to make sure the workload isn’t resting too heavily on any one group can ensure your loyal employees don’t get burned out and themselves contribute to the staffing issue. It may be a temporary solution or a necessary refresh to fix long-standing gaps, but focusing on the impact a restructure could have on operations through this transitional period is key to getting the formula right. It’s also speculated the great resignation of 2022 is merely a result of the rise of independent contractors.
If you’ve already been significantly impacted by mass resignations (or expect that you might be soon), you may anticipate the need to redistribute your budget and manpower to prioritize sourcing high-quality new candidates.
For example, the marketing department may be expected to switch gears and split advertising dollars and time to balance marketing products and services to consumers while also advertising to attract candidates to fill open positions. In another example, Human Resources might have to allocate more time to mass hiring and batching onboarding tasks to meet staffing needs.
You could also expect a pause on special projects to shift focus onto getting new recruits in positions–after all, you can’t expect to carry out extraneous work if you can’t even operate business as usual due to a lack of personnel. Getting your day-to-day operations handled and securing the future of the company is paramount, so it may make sense to press pause on secondary tasks.
In the great resignation 2022 era, adopting new strategies to keep your current employees satisfied could offer the most protection from major repercussions. A crucial component to retaining employees is offering appropriate incentives and providing more value than is customarily offered within their position. This also has the potential to increase engagement and boost productivity.
The cost of living is soaring, and wages just aren’t keeping up. Even a slight increase in wage doesn’t account for inflation if the raise isn’t at least an 8-10% rise in salary–meaning your employees are doing the same work for less purchasing power year over year. And some even theorize the great resignation of 2022 could solely be a cost of living issue.
Financial stress can cause even the most enthusiastic employee to seek other long-term solutions
So if you want to retain your top talent (or entice fresh blood to accept an offer), you need to start by offering wages that are competitive. Meeting the market rate isn’t enough.
A lack of flexibility is also cited by resigning workers as a major source of job stress and plays a key role in their decision to seek opportunities elsewhere. You can offset this stress for employees by offering remote work, flexible hours, and reduced work weeks to promote a better work-life balance.
Workers are more likely to stick around if they feel that their employer cares about their well-being. Plus, well-cared-for employees are often more productive and satisfied with their roles. Offering more PTO, expanding sick leave to include mental health days (or increasing the number available), and bringing on trained professionals to aid workers in navigating mental fatigue and emotional distress are all fine examples of ways to support your employees.
Finding the right people for the job could prove to be a difficult and time-consuming task. In the meantime, find ways to make operating procedures more efficient to lessen the load on already-strained staff. A great way to increase efficiency is to invest in automating tasks like tracking applicants, managing payroll, and monitoring performance, so you can focus on vetting, hiring, and training individuals who are aligned with your company’s goals and are ready to stick it out long-term. There are even industry-specific programs to address the unique needs of each vertical. For example, if you’re a staffing company, Bilflo is a great option for automating all of your back-office tasks while managing hundreds of contractors at once.
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for retaining employees, and results may vary between organizations based on industry standards and how much employee demand was already being met. There is only one thing to be certain of: expect to make major changes in your company’s practices or face the possibility of joining the ranks of the companies currently experiencing a mass exodus of workers.