You have probably heard this phrase passed around recently or even seen it used as a hashtag. However, you might not know why The Great Resignation is becoming such a concern for businesses as things reopen again after the pandemic. It seems ridiculous but a lot of the fear comes from the fact that the term has been capitalised and given this ominous aura. This isn’t to say that it’s something businesses should brush aside, there are definitely aspects to be concerned about. Starting with what it all means.
Long story short, The Great Resignation is a term coined by Anthony Klotz and refers to the fear that workers are now looking for employment elsewhere. This has sparked worry over mass walkouts and drastic rises in turnover. However, instead of being the looming threat that the media might be making you think it is, it could be a way for businesses to get themselves back on track and build a healthier working environment while they are at it.
What is all the fuss about?
The Covid-19 pandemic changed a lot of things for people but especially their day-to-day working life. Many businesses were forced to shut down whilst others adopted remote working or furloughed their employees for jobs that couldn’t be completed from home. People with once stable jobs were now facing a reality of reduced hours or the threat of being laid off completely. This has caused a lot of workers to re-evaluate their careers amidst the push for a return to ‘normal’ life.
There is a want to blame the shift in the workforce on the younger generations simply not wanting to work and this kind of thinking is a part of the problem. People have had a whole year to rethink their lives and their futures, including whether or not their job is fulfilling enough. Remote work has saved people money from not having to commute as well as giving them more time with their families at home. So, is it really any wonder people are reluctant to return to the office?
Outside of offices, service jobs have faced the hardest year both physically and mentally which has left a lot of people weighing their value against their job, possibly for the first time in their lives. Some of these workers had to jump industry or take on extra part-time service jobs to stay afloat. The toll this shake-up has had on workers has left many wanting to find a career path that doesn’t just feel like a means to an end.
How can businesses battle The Great Resignation?
During times of crisis, people tend to stay put in their employment to keep some kind of stability in their lives. With so many horror stories about people losing their jobs because of the pandemic, those who are employed are grateful to still have a steady income. People are not jumping ship without cause. There are no mass walkouts or protests happening as people demand a fairer wage or better benefits. People have simply had time to rethink their working lives and want it better balanced with their home lives. A career change is not the only way for workers to achieve this.
In cases of workers returning to the office, what works for one person will not work for everyone. A lot of people are still feeling anxious about being back in an office environment while others are looking forward to it. I, personally, prefer the break up of work and home life but not everyone is in the same situation. A more compassionate approach to leadership may be the way forward whilst navigating a post-covid world and the foreseeable future. One way businesses are trying to be more accommodating for their workers is by adopting hybrid ways of working. This is giving employees the opportunity to divide their workdays between the office and home, giving them a better balance and easier adjustment period.
All workforces can benefit from better open communication between management and employees. Companies need to trust their employees to know what is best for them whilst working in conjunction with what is also best for business. Encouraging conversations about the topic will give workers a better outlook on their careers. As we all readjust to the ‘new normal’, employers have a responsibility to eliminate the uncertainty workers have grown accustomed to this past year.