There has been a major, unexpected shift in the workplace that has left everyone scratching their heads. After a year filled with shutdowns, economic uncertainty and record-breaking unemployment levels, a massive change took place that no one could have anticipated: People are quitting their jobs.
The Labor Department estimated that a record 4 million people decided to leave their jobs in April of this year alone, placing job vacancies at a 20-year high. And here is the kicker: no one wants to fill them! Dubbed "The Great Resignation," we are in unchartered territory. Here is what is happening and why:
2020 was tumultuous. Across the globe, individuals feared for their health, financial well-being and future. People used this time to assess where they were and where they wanted to be. The flexibility provided through remote schedules (and paid unemployment) proved to be a valuable part of that.
The trouble is, once everything started to reopen and “normalcy” resumed, businesses had expected employees to jump back on the 9-5 bandwagon, picking up where they left off before the world seemingly closed its doors. Employees, feeling emboldened, decided they had better things to do.
No longer burdened with a long commute or the daily office grind, employees finally had the time needed to reflect. Some loved working from home so much they vowed never to set foot in the office again. Others realized they hated their jobs and wanted to do something that ignited them.
After a year of being so worried about their lives (figuratively and literally), can you blame them? This new season is a fresh start. People refuse to pick up where they were. Instead, they are going to pick up and take off to where they want to be.
As an employer, what can you do to incentivize employees to return to work?
1. Be flexible. If employees can work from home, why not let them? Most employees are not opposed to a hybrid schedule and are open to coming in one or two days a week. Others are even open to more, provided it is on their terms. Remember, happy employees make better employees.
2. Review your compensation and benefits. Employees aren’t always looking for a higher salary (though that never hurts!). Other perks are just as enticing, such as a fully remote or hybrid work schedule, additional paid time off, paid parental leave and paid time off to volunteer.
3. Analyze your corporate culture. Employees want to feel like they are a part of an organization that genuinely cares about them, the community they are in and the world at large. Think about the culture you have created to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment with a greater purpose.
As an employee, if you are going to join the masses and quit your job, consider this:
1. Make sure you know what you want to do (and what you don’t). List your negotiables and non-negotiables so you can pursue positions that align with your goals. Scratch off any that do not meet your needs.
2. Advertise your hard and soft skills, especially if you are transitioning into a new industry. Hard skills are technical (such as computer programming, accounting or electrical engineering), while soft skills are transferable regardless of the job (i.e., communication, customer service, project management, etc.).