According to a US Bureau of Labor Statistics report, over 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November 2021, indicating that “The Great Resignation” that started in early 2021 is far from over. This begs the question: exactly what is driving this shift?
In today’s blog, we’ll be trying to demystify the root causes of “The Great Resignation”. And after we determine WHY people are quitting, we can suggest ways to counter those factors
Covid Related Issues
There is no question that Covid is the biggest contributor to this trend. Concerns about catching Covid, worries about safe childcare options, vaccine & mask mandates, caring for sick relatives as well as people becoming sick themselves have all had a dramatic effect on people’s daily lifestyle. Then often add the logistics of having children that are now home doing distance-learning. All these factors have played a substantial part of having people no longer able to maintain their pre-Covid employment.
Employee Burnout at an All-Time High
Burnout & Anxiety cannot be medically diagnosed, but that doesn’t make it any less real. In fact, it comes with very real mental, emotional, intellectual, and physical side effects. In March 2021, before mass resignations rose to current epidemic levels, a report by popular career site Indeed revealed that more than half of the surveyed workers admitted to feelings of anxiety coupled with burnout, and around two-thirds of those people said that the pandemic had ignited as well as exacerbated those feelings of unease.
If that was the status at the very beginning of the pandemic, one can only imagine what that same study would show now.
It’s not a mystery why those numbers would skyrocket during a global pandemic.
Since homes have become classrooms and workplaces, employees have been getting less time off and an increased workload. They’ve also had to assimilate to a largely housebound existence, while dealing with near constant fears related to health. All of this has contributed to a tipping point where it has just been easier for many to throw in the towel and stay home rather than continuing to stay in the workforce.
The Hybrid Work Model Conflict
During the pandemic, people who had never wanted to work from home found themselves with no options but to embrace virtual offices. And just when people were getting used to working remotely, many companies started to mandate that their employees return to the office, at least on a part-time basis. Most employees expressed an interest in continuing the flexibility they experienced while working from home, opting to continue either as fully remote, or through a hybrid work model that would see them splitting their days between the office and home. A solid 52% even went so far as to say they would quit if they were asked to part with their new normal!
We are now seeing many employees refusing to go back to a 5 day a week in-office setting, and not all companies are comfortable with that. There is currently a big disconnect between companies and employees, and the result is that many people are choosing to resign as opposed to going back into the office.
The resignation trend we see now might just be that 52% following through on their intentions.
Lack of Support
Because so many companies suddenly found themselves with a workforce that was working remotely, normal support systems have fallen by the wayside, and on-boarding of new hires has also been severely affected. Employers were not set up with systems in place to provide a normal level of support to a virtually based workforce, let alone the additional support required in these unprecedented times.
The result has been a tremendous number of new hires that have turned right around and left prior to becoming assimilated in their new role.
In addition, we have seen a massive wave of senior leadership resign in the past few quarters. People close to retirement have chosen to push their retirement date up early as opposed to dealing with ‘the new normal’. These mentors have left a substantial gap in support that has left the remaining team floundering,
A good manager is pivotal to employee retention. These executives have been valuable in their roles not solely because of inherent skills but also due to the knowledge gained through hands-on experience. Losing them is a substantial loss to the whole team’s retention and growth.
How Employers Should Address These Concerns
1) Consider offering remote work options, or at the very least, a hybrid work from home model.
2) Acknowledge that vaccine and mask mandates are cutting out a large swath of potential candidates, and weigh whether it is worth diminishing the candidate pool as opposed to making it a personal choice.
3) Make ‘Stay Interviews’ a part of retention plans, quickly addressing any concerns that come up.
4) Conduct ‘Exit Interviews’ every single time someone resigns, to learn about the root causes to stop further attrition.
5) Offer quarterly bonuses to encourage retention.
These are clearly unprecedented times, and top talent can pick and choose not only who they want to work for, but the way they want to work.
They are not responding to ads, and it currently takes a dedicated team of executive recruiters reaching out to find out their current pain points, and what it would take to have them switch teams. If hiring managers want to build organizations based on exceptional candidates, they should strongly consider a partnership with a well-established executive search firm that can deliver a strong pool of exceptional candidates to their interview table.
This is where International Search Consultants comes in.
If you’re looking for an executive recruiting firm that can help you find stellar candidates for critical fill hiring needs, consider connecting with the #1 most recommended recruiting firm in the entire US – International Search Consultants!
Since 1999, ISC has been matching up top talent to incredible opportunities with the best companies within the industries we serve.
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Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants. You can reach Ann at 888-866-7276 or .
Kara Onorato is Director of ISC’s award-winning team of Executive Recruiters. You can reach Kara at 877-316-6249 or .