The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation has been upon us for a few months now. In July, I wrote an article for CMI speaker’s blog about the record-breaking statistics of employees leaving the workforce. Then, April broke the record for most people quitting a job when over 4 million people quit. That’s the most since the founding of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Since April, that record has been surpassed two more times. In fact, both July and August saw even greater numbers of people quitting their jobs. 

A handful of months after the great downsizing brought on by the pandemic, most companies are struggling to keep their workforces intact. Why?

What is the giant upheaval grounded in? Why are people opting to be unemployed rather than continuing in their secured careers?

An article from the Atlantic attributes some of this upheaval to essentially a lack of submission or patience. As a result, people all over the country, and now the world, are opting out. The general sentiment? We deserve better.

The Great Shift

I think we can all recognize this undertone. This desire for something more, something different. People’s visions everywhere have changed because of the pandemic. What many used to want is no longer at the forefront of their minds. Everything has shifted. 

As work entered the sphere of home life, the lines became blurry. Work-life balance took on new meaning, and many people’s work and life goals took on new trajectories. Employers were not a part of that work-from-home life. That aspect of people’s careers popped into their homes a few times a day on a computer screen and otherwise played a distant role. Employers did not come along in these new visions that employees started dreaming up. After all, they seemed so far away. 

How to Be a Part of the New Vision

What can you do to minimize the Great Resignation in your workplace?

First, be the employer that goes along with the new vision. Make sure you are present and not some far off Zoom manager. 

I have some tips for how to come along with these new visions. First and foremost, get the voices of your people. You have to listen. Begin by asking to spend time with your people. Once you are in a conducive environment to connect, ask questions like, “what do you see yourself doing now that you didn’t do before?” Or “how has your vision of yourself changed?” In other words, be transparent and dig deeper.

Surface-level questions will just emphasize the distance from you that your employees considering quitting are most likely all too aware of. Instead, connect and spend one-on-one time. When you become part of their work-life, there is a greater likelihood that you and your organization will be part of their new visions.

Attraction vs Retention

With everyone worrying about the labor shortage or experiencing it firsthand, it is hard not to jump into a fastrack hiring process and spur of the moment incentive changes. But what is it that will put a lasting end to the Great Resignation?

Retention. It’s not about how many replacements or open positions you can fill within your organization. That doesn’t matter if the pull to stay wasn’t strong enough for some of your long-term employees. 

Attraction is a powerful asset, but there will always be those that you can’t keep. Sometimes there is no way to mend and bend to everybody’s changes in their visions. Oftentimes, the best thing we can do is focus on highlighting the organization’s values day in and day out. Authentic caring leaders who are examples of the values they profess will work wonders as far as attraction goes. 

The more caring a leader becomes, the more renowned they become among their direct reports. People start to talk about the positive effects you have had on their life as their leader. As a result, word of mouth travels, and suddenly, because you are a good, honorable and trustworthy manager, you will attract vast amounts of talent. Plus, you’ll retain it too. Sadly, many organizations often underestimate the power of an effective referral process. 

The Solution

Recruitment and retention policies must mirror one another and reflect the organization’s values. This can be done by mirroring those policies in your caring leadership behaviors. The processes must be tracked by metrics and enforced through systems and processes. Of course, caring leadership can’t only occur within silos. We need all leaders like you across the board to step up within their organizations and reflect the traits they want to attract and retain. 

After implementing this support through the organization’s fabric, focus on being present to your people again. If you want to be a part of your employees’ future and you want them to be a part of the organization’s future, then you need to be a part of their life every single day. 

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