Is the “Great Resignation” really over?
- On 10 November 2023
- Posted by Chantal Mariotti
Blog by: Lisa M. Sanchez, Founder and CEO, JustDigIn2It LLC
Companies and organizations across a variety of industries alike are still struggling with what to do about “The Great Resignation.” Some are demanding that employees return to the office, often with consequences of job loss. If employers are paying attention, they will see that this decision, post-pandemic, could make keeping their offices and cubicles occupied very difficult. Human resources leaders are also challenged by directives coming from the C-suite to return people to the office. What these HR practitioners are finding is that talent acquisition and employee retention remains problematic. Candidates are expecting, if not demanding, either flexible, remote or hybrid work schedules. It’s one of the first questions asked by applicants.
What did not go away is The Great Reflection or what I like to call “The Power of the R’s.” That is, the pandemic gave people time to reset, refocus, retool, reignite, and reimagine a wide array of values and priorities. With that came prioritization of wellness, well-being, mental health, work-life integration, and flexibility. Employers must recognize that a new employee has emerged out of the pandemic, which led to other terms like “hush trips” and “quiet quitting.” According to Indeed.com, (http://www.indeed.com)“Quitting in masse has been a trend that has remained strong throughout 2023. Between 4.1 to 4.5 million people quit their jobs each month. And despite growing economic uncertainty, the rate of job quitting is still 16% above the pre-pandemic norm.” The numbers speak for themselves. In this regard, “The Great Resignation” is far from over.
To balance this, employers must recognize that it is a new day and a new way of engaging employees. This idea of looking at the backs of people’s heads as they sit in offices and cubicles is over. It requires a mindset of performance over presence and leading through trust. At the same time, the focus can be on when employees need to come together for connection, for in-person engagement, for strategy and projects, and for team building.
Demanding that employees return to the physical location is short-sighted. Instead, invest in and rethink the talent acquisition process. What is the work that needs to be performed? How can the work be performed? Where can the work be performed? What tools and resources are needed to perform the work? Make decisions based on the job. Employers can create opportunities to hire diverse talent within the job location, other states or even other countries, depending on the work and the respective employment laws. The job market is suddenly bigger when employers offer flexibility.
At my college, we embrace a hybrid work environment. We hire either onsite, remote in-region or remote out-of-region. For the latter two, the employee works remotely but can come to the office as needed or as requested by a supervisor or there is no expectation to come to the physical location because they work in another state or country. This allows us to tap into talent that we otherwise would not have if we were rigid in our hiring practices and decisions around where people work.
The argument employers make is that people need to come back for organizational culture. While this is important, culture is not tied to the physical location. More importantly, culture is about how people feel about their work, how they contribute to the organization’s mission, how they engage with their colleagues and their supervisors, if their employer cares about their well-being and lived experiences, do they feel seen and heard, do they have competitive salaries and benefits and opportunities for growth no matter where their work location is.
The pandemic as we know it is over. The Great Resignation is not. Employees are still leaving their jobs for a variety of reasons. To face the talent acquisition challenges head on, it would behoove employers to think about the job first, find the right talent to fill those jobs and strengthen their culture to support employees regardless of their location.
Founded in July 2021, JustDigIn2It LLC is a life/career coaching and HR consulting company. The Founder and CEO, Lisa M. Sanchez, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CPLC, has 28 years of Human Resources (HR) management and executive leadership experience. As a thought leader on organizational culture, Sanchez folds into her practice the values of ABIDE – access, belonging, inclusion, diversity and equity – to ensure that the “whole person” approach is connected to business decisions, HR and organizational strategies, employee experiences and workplace engagements.
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