“The Great Resignation” is a term that HR professionals have coined to describe the current phenomenon of people leaving their jobs in droves. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as if it is letting up anytime soon.
A Microsoft survey of 30,000 global workers showed that 41% of them were considering quitting or changing professions in the next twelve months. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not just one group of people, either; it seems like everyone is jumping ship these days.
But why? Why are so many Americans quitting their jobs? And what can be done to stop this “turnover tsunami?” This blog post will answer those questions with some tips on how to stem the tide of the Great Resignation before it takes over your workforce!
What’s Really Happening?
According to the Department of Labor Statistics, 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November 2021. Resignations have been consistently high for several months, reaching a record 10.4 million open positions across the country. This number becomes even more concerning when you realize there are currently one million more available jobs than unemployed Americans of working age.
There’s a lot of talk these days about how bad the Great Resignation is, but what does it really look like? According to an employee turnover survey conducted by Eagle Hill Consulting, it looks something like this:
- Roughly 50% of American workers are unhappy at work.
- 57% of U.S. employees say they are burned out, and 49% say their workload is the primary cause of their stress.
- 53% of professionals believe that their current role does not use their skills and talents effectively.
And those numbers just scratch the surface.
While the Great Resignation is affecting most demographics, from entry-level positions to seasoned executives; men and women alike; blue-collar and white-collar employees across multiple sectors— it is the low-wage, frontline, minority, and female workers who are most at risk for leaving their current jobs. In fact, according to the Washington Post, the proportion of working women is at the lowest point since 1988.
What’s Causing This?
We are sure there are many reasons for this Great Resignation, but three, in particular, stand out to us.
According to Visier’s Stop the Exit Report, resignation reports were highest among mid-level workers and those in the tech and health care industries. These demographics tend to bear the burden of increased workloads, particularly during the pandemic. Add to that the pressures of working through the pandemic, often while caring for children or the elderly at home, and the possibility of burnout significantly increases.
Toxic Workplace Culture Was Heightened
Lockdowns during the Pandemic had many workers either working from home or working in environments where they had to remain hyper-vigilant. For those who worked with the public, like teachers, health care workers, and essential service industry workers, the added safety measures, long work hours, and constant insecurity during the pandemic created not only increased workload and demand but also higher levels of stress.
Beyond all of that, the stress of the Pandemic put workplace culture under a microscope. Companies already struggling with toxicity often made decisions that highlighted a lack of compassion and empathy and drove home the idea that workers were not appreciated as human beings. Studies have shown that workers have always valued how companies treat their employees, but the last two years have drawn company culture into sharp focus.
A Lasting Change in the Way We View Work
The Pandemic changed how we view work and our interaction with it. Lockdowns forced many of us into an activity that we hadn’t been super familiar with – rest- and changed our behaviors significantly.
Many working families determined they could survive financially on less money and found that their need to be valued and respected in their work environment was more important. This shift was already in motion before the Pandemic, but the changes workers endured during this season poured fuel on that fire.
The way a company treated its employees over the last two years will have an impact on whether its future employee turnover is high. To be successful in this post-pandemic workplace, businesses must make significant investments in their workers’ salaries, benefits, opportunities, and general well-being.
How Can You Stop It?
One of the best ways to turn things around before you find yourself losing your top talent en masse due to The Great Resignation is actually pretty simple: start thinking about how you can improve employee engagement. Engaged workers stay at their jobs longer than those simply putting in their time or who are not engaged.
As a leader, your commitment to engagement is easy to see and shows workers that you value them as human beings more than work machines. Transparency and openness go a long way here- whether it is through town halls, one on ones, or just open conversations over lunch.
Flexibility has been an essential skill during this season. Generous PTO and opportunities to work remotely help your best employees stay engaged by increasing morale and reducing stress, but perks are not the only thing workers are looking for.
Ultimately, employees are looking for a place where they are respected and valued and feel they can make a positive impact in their role. Great leaders understand that engaged employees are more productive, so they push for better company culture and higher levels of job satisfaction.
Shawna Lake is the Founder of Deep End Talent Strategies, an HR Consulting firm working with growing organizations and nonprofits across the US to create better candidate and employee experiences. http://www.deependstrategies.com