Here’s a series of numbers that’ll make your head spin, especially if you might have hoped we could leave “The Great Resignation” in the rearview with the rest of 2021: 4.1 million. That’s how many additional people will be leaving their jobs in the first quarter of 2022. So, not the 4.4 million that left last September, or the 4.5 million that left last November — but we’re still squarely in the “4 million” category.
We tell you this not because we think aren’t aware of what’s already happening in the market (of course you do) or because we’re trying to be sensationalists (we promise, we aren’t). We tell you this because, at its core, The Great Resignation is so much more than employees giving their notices en masse. It’s that many are redefining their relationship to work. Our relationship to work.
We don’t pretend to know every reason why employees are leaving jobs, but we do know it’s tough out there right now. We’re nearly two years into a pandemic, and it’s fueling people to, in the words of Kathryn Hymes in a recent WIREDarticle, “confront and remake their relationship to life at home, with their families, with their friends, and their lives outside of work.”
We realize by talking about employee retention, we’re a little out of our lane here. But, hear us out: the stronger retention strategy you have, the better you’ll look to potential recruits. And that begins with a redefined employee experience — an experience that focuses on the benefits for people’s day-to-day lives, not necessarily the cool perks that might have been in vogue prior to COVID-19. Quality healthcare plans, education and upskilling opportunities, remote work, schedule flexibility, boundaries between work time and downtime: from our conversations with candidates, these are the things that matter to them.
Creating a great employee experience takes time, and it takes work. It takes listening to employees — the people you’re looking to retain and the people you’re looking to attract — and having transparent conversations about what’s important to them. And while all of the Great Resignation talk might have you scrambling to overhaul your entire strategy and get it right in the next two weeks, it doesn’t have to be done overnight. Get feedback from the employees in your care, digest that feedback, and start with just one thing: maybe it’s your onboarding process. Maybe it’s mental health benefits. Maybe it’s taking a hard look at your career opportunities.
As Philip Kane says in this Inc. piece: “If nothing else, the Great Resignation has taught people that they have a choice — worker and employer alike. The employers of choice in this brave new world will be those who understand this, and who balance a desire for accountability with basic concern for humanity. Over 15.5 million workers so far have decided that there must be something more. The brightest business owners will be those who show up to give it to them.”
If you’re looking for someone to talk through your 2022 strategy — employee experience or otherwise — we’re here. Give us a shout.