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Three Things Businesses Need To Reconsider In The Wake Of The Great Resignation

the great resignation, shown by image of worker resigning and leaving office with box in hand

Have you heard of the Great Resignation yet? It’s a term coined to describe the record-high numbers of Americans who quit their jobs in April 2021. That number was 4 million.

In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, during the months of April, May, and June, a total of 11.5 million workers quit their jobs.

Fueled by the pandemic and jobholders’ demands for more money, more flexibility and more happiness, we’re witnessing a change in history like never before and it’s having a direct effect on hiring and retention for all businesses.

So, what does that mean for you?

If you’re a business leader, here are three things you should be considering right now.

Your People

If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that people value their health and wellbeing, and they expect their employers to care enough about them that they value it, too.

According to this article on Inc.com, “Workers aren’t just looking for higher pay, more time off, or more days at home (though those things would surely help in the short term). They’re actually questioning the whole meaning of the daily grind. Why do we put so much of ourselves into our careers? And are we getting a fair deal from our employers in return for all this stress and heartache?”

If you’re a business owner or leader, you’ve got to be thinking about these things because if your people are burnt out, exhausted, and questioning their role or purpose, they could be looking for an exit and the Great Resignation could be it.

How You Work

As we’re all learning to navigate this new way of work, one thing is for sure: more people have come to expect companies to offer work from home options. Whether that’s the option to work remote full-time or to have a blend of in office and at home work, aka “hybrid work,” we expect to have a choice in how and where we work.

By offering your employees, staff, or team a choice in how they work, you’ll not only develop a greater level of trust, you’ll likely see more of your people sticking around for the long-haul.

Take Microsoft, for example. They had planned to fully reopen their headquarters on October 4, 2021, but given the rise of the Delta variant and the rate of community spread, that’s off the table for now.

What Microsoft noticed over the last 18+ months is that their employees have learned to work differently. So Microsoft reexamined how, when, where and why they do the work they do.

According to Microsoft Chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella, “Our new data shows there is no one-size-fits-all approach to hybrid work, as employee expectations continue to change. The only way for organizations to solve for this complexity is to embrace flexibility across their entire operating model, including the ways people work, the places they inhabit, and how they approach business process.

When Microsoft surveyed its employees about these recent trends, they discovered that collaboration and social interaction were at the top of their list of reasons to work in the office. While skipping the commute and a healthier work-life balance topped their list for working from home.

Knowing this data has allowed Microsoft to refine how they work and develop a stronger relationship and understanding with their employees. It is through this that they’ve created new workplace norms that lead to happier, more fulfilled employees, but also better business.

If you’re struggling to reimagine how your team works, you may want to take a page from Microsoft’s playbook.

Where We Go From Here

With every industry feeling a shortage of team members and workers – and in some cases supplies companies need to take a look at the work they do and assess what can be done differently to meet their goals while still giving team members flexibility.

In fact, since the start of the pandemic, permanent remote job postings on LinkedIn have increased by five times what they were at the start of 2020. Add to that that according to CNBC, job openings have topped over 10 million for the first time ever and that more and more people are quitting jobs they once planned to keep for years. It becomes incredibly important that we – as leaders and business owners – take notice of this and adapt accordingly.

Here are seven things I recommend doing:

  1. Start the conversation with your people: How do they work best? How do they feel about their work? What causes them stress or overwhelms them?
  2. Approach these conversations with honesty, openness, and flexibility.
  3. Gather data – be it anecdotal or through a formal survey.
  4. Really listen to what the data – and your people – are telling you.
  5. Embrace the need to adapt your processes and practices, and learn from what isn’t working.
  6. Explore alternative ways of hiring and getting work done.
  7. Commit to leading for the long haul with purpose, empathy, and understanding.

What are you noticing right now in your organization? And how are you dealing with the current challenges of hiring and retention?

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