One doesn’t have to go far to experience what the lack of needed employees does to our experience and the ability of a business to function effectively. For starters simply visit your local restaurant. You’ll find parties waiting in the lobby for an available table. You’ll also find many empty tables making it obvious that it’s not space that’s the issue. Rather it’s the inability to find people wanting the available jobs being offered.
Unfortunately, the ‘Great Resignation’, as it is being called, is knowing no boundaries. It is being experienced in restaurants and hotels. Education and health services, transportation and utilities, financial activities as well as professional and business services are in the same boat. The numbers of people who are leaving jobs and without necessarily having their next one is setting records. It is anticipated that even as we hopefully emerge from the threat that COVID has provided, being an employee’s world will remain with us for much of 2022.
WHY ARE WE HAVING THE RECORD RESIGNATIONS NOW BEING EXPERIENCED?
Higher pay, COVID burnout and a lack of career-development opportunities have been cited as factors. But that’s not the whole story. Marcel Schwantes, the founder of Leadership from the Core believes it’s a simple explanation provided in his contribution to INC. It comes down to four little words that provide the explanation for the job flight that has hit record numbers. Feedback that goes unheard.
To alter the current direction being experienced, a management solution organization (Explorance) surveyed some 2000 full-time and part-time employed adults seeking an understanding of ‘why’. The findings were clearly thought-provoking and motivating. As eager as employees are to share their feedback with employers hoping for positive change, their feedback goes unheard. As a result, there is no meaningful change.
These are other factors that play a large role is the exodus being experienced:
- Working Remotely
It is well established that the remote work requirement that became a necessity during COVID also became preferred by many. With organizations now requiring workers to return to an office workplace, there are many not wanting to do that. They have learned to efficiently perform from home and that is how they want to continue their work lives.
- Upset with the COVID work experience
Learning to be productive and function well in an often-imposed remote manner was a learning experience for all concerned. Some employees were unhappy with the ways in which they felt treated and valued especially in the early months. Feeling they were forced to put in longer hours by working at home, they speak to the resulting burnout.
- Switching Careers
The changes that workers were forced to embrace led to some self-evaluation. What they missed related to their sense of accomplishment and satisfaction led some to make a switch. Understandably, healthcare workers experienced this. Feeling unchallenged and unfulfilled made this time ripe for change.
- Work-Life Balance
Working remotely clearly blurred the line between ones’ workday and the remainder of a day. Having both one’s office and home be one and the same, blurred the lines of division. Thus, the desired and needed balance faded to the background bringing frustration and unhappiness.
WHAT CAN ORGANIZATIONS DO TO CURTAIL THE GREAT RESIGNATION?
As head-scratching as this question seems, the answer might be quite simple. Focusing on why people are resigning at a record-breaking rate through exit interviews is valuable to gain that understanding. However, the solution might well be in conducting ‘stay’ interviews. Sabina Nawaz in her article in the Harvard Business Review made some insightful suggestions. She sees as the key to stay interviews is asking questions that address what the exit interviews reveal. Having such one-on-one interviews with employees that remain will lead to potential solutions.
- What’s your frame of mind today?
Encourage people to express a full range of emotions and don’t attempt to solve the problem or negate their experience. You want to encourage and acknowledge their honesty in sharing their experience and feelings.
- Who do you feel connected to at work?
Friendships create a bond that work like gravity. And it has been found that friendships at work relate to enhanced productivity. Thus, once one knows of a connection that exists work to create situations that will deepen that friendship. With this information the leader can create work situations that allow this friendship to be furthered.
- What barriers can I remove for you?
Having a manager remove barriers that inhibit employees from achieving their goals is very meaningful. Often praise or rewards are offered which makes the leader feel good however don’t impact the employee or their work. Then, with this information devise ways in concert with the employee that the identified things can be achieved.
- What new thing would you like to learn that will excite you and aid your growth?
Doing this will demonstrate that you care about the employee. Not only for the work they produce but also for what the company can do to aid their growth and success. Doing this you demonstrate that you are their advocate for helping them achieve their personal goals.
Could the key to slowing the Great Resignation be as simple as employers or managers listening to and acting upon employee feedback? Combining exit interviews with ‘stay’ interviews will provide organizational leaders with balanced knowledge. As such, it is realistic to believe that the current ‘great resignation will diminish. And that likelihood is enhanced because of what will be learned from the ‘stay’ interviews. These will serve to make inroads into reengaging employees and halting the bleeding of talent from organizations. They will also strengthen skills of managers and the desire of employees to continue working with them.