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Learnings from “The Great Resignation”

As the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics reports, 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November 2021 – roughly 3% of the total workforce. This mass resignation is being called “The Great Resignation” and it is sparking a lot of discussion about the reasons why people are quitting their jobs.

Some of the discussion around “The Great Resignation” is focused on the idea of job satisfaction. A recent study by Gallup showed that only 33% of employees in the U.S. are engaged in their work, meaning that they are emotionally and mentally connected to their job and are motivated to do their best. This leaves the majority of employees (67%) who are not engaged or actively disengaged.

This is a problem. When people are not engaged in their work, it leads to lower productivity, decreased creativity, and increased absenteeism. Disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy $450 billion to $550 billion each year.

Of course, one would argue that it is an American problem. Why should we care? However, the underlying reasons for quitting are universal. People leave their jobs because they are unhappy, unfulfilled, or feel that they are not making a difference.

Making sense of “The Great Resignation.”

Before we get into the specifics of how to remedy the situation, let’s first examine what caused it to develop in the first place. The first step is to look at the reasons for “The Great Resignation” and see what it is telling us.

Pent-up Anger:

A large number of people are quitting their jobs because they are angry. They have been bottling up their frustration for a long time. A study by MIT shows that the number one reason people quit their jobs is because of the toxic work culture. This includes disrespectful behaviour, unethical practices, and a lack of diversity/inclusion efforts. Job uncertainty, COVID-19 failure to recognize performance and a poor COVID-19 response added to the frustration.

Actively Disengaged:

The second reason for the high quit rate is that many people are not engaged in their work. They are unhappy and feel like they are not making a difference. This group has been dubbed the “actively disengaged.” The Gallup’s State of the Global workplace: 2021 report confirms that the highest quit rate is among not engaged and actively disengaged workers.

Low Pay, No Benefits:

The employees and workers in the food services and hospitality industries are quitting in droves because of the low pay and no benefits. They are tired of working long hours for little pay. In a study by the Economic Policy Institute, it was found that the median wage for restaurant workers is $10 an hour. This is well below the federal poverty line for a family of four. Furthermore, only 26% of restaurant workers have access to paid sick leave. This means that they are often forced to work when they are sick.

The desire for fulfilment.

People are quitting their jobs because they realised that they were missing out on important aspects of their life. Previous office jobs meant working long hours and not spending enough time with their family or friends. They see the resignation as an opportunity to start over and find a new job that is more in line with their values. They don’t want to go back to a job where they are unhappy or unfulfilled.

Childcare:

One of the interesting findings from “The Great Resignation” is that women are quitting their jobs more than men. This is because schools were shut down, childcare wasn’t available, and women tend to be the bearers of responsibility at home and work. They had no choice but to leave their jobs.

Stemming the tide of resignations.

Now that we’ve identified some of the causes behind “The Great Resignation,” we can finally apply our learnings to prevent people from quitting their jobs. Here are a few ways you can retain your employees.

1. Create a better work culture:

There are many things that companies can do to create a better work culture. This includes instituting policies that discourage toxic behaviour, promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives, and creating a system where employees feel heard.

All companies should offer paid leave, not just those in the food services and hospitality industries. Paid leave allows employees to take time off when they are sick or to care for a family member. It also allows them to take vacation time. They also should offer a livable wage. This means that employees should be paid enough so that they can afford to live without having to rely on government assistance.

2. Develop and Engaged Workforce:

The best way to reduce the high quit rate is to have an engaged workforce. An engaged workforce is invested in their work and feels like they are making a difference. There are many things companies can do to create an engaged workforce, such as promoting a culture of respect, having a clear vision and mission, and offering professional development opportunities.

3. Offer Flexibility and Agility:

The workplace needs to be flexible and agile. This means that employees should be able to work from home, take time off when they are sick and have a flexible schedule. They shouldn’t be forced to come back to the office provided that they remain productive. Remote work should be an option for all employees, not just for management positions.

Also Read: Remote management for agency managers

4. Lateral Job Opportunities:

Employees often leave their jobs because they are not allowed to grow. They feel stuck in their position and there is no opportunity for advancement. One way to combat this is to offer lateral job placements. This means that employees can move to a different department or role within the company. This allows them to learn new skills and grow their career.

5. Put health and safety first:

Employees need to feel safe at work. This implies that the safety and well-being of their employees come first. Businesses must take measures to safeguard their workers. This includes establishing social distance policies, providing sanitary goods, and allowing staff to work from home.

6. Encourage Women to stay:

Women are leaving their jobs because they can’t afford to not work. Businesses need to make it easier for women to work by providing affordable childcare and offering flexible work arrangements. They should also institute a policy that prohibits discrimination and sexual harassment. This will encourage women to stay in their jobs.

7. Help employees manage stress:

Employees are under a lot of stress right now because of the pandemic and the fear of losing their jobs. Businesses can help reduce the stress level of their employees by offering wellness programs, counselling services, flexible work arrangements, and promoting a culture of respect.

8. Retention programs:

To keep employees happy, you need a retention strategy that addresses the main reasons for disengagement. This includes identifying where problems arise and fixing them while staying true to your organisation’s mission statement or bottom line! These programs can include career development, appreciation initiatives, and a flexible working environment. This means that they have a system in place to identify employees who are at risk of quitting and provide them with the necessary support.

Summarising.

Businesses need to make changes to reduce the number of employees who are quitting their jobs. By instituting better work culture, offering an engaged workforce, and being flexible and agile, businesses can retain their employees. They should also offer lateral job placements, put health and safety first, and help employees manage stress. Finally, businesses can implement retention programs to keep their employees. These programs include career development, appreciation initiatives, and a flexible working environment. By making these changes, businesses can reduce the high quit rate and improve employee retention.

References:

1. https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/toxic-culture-is-driving-the-great-resignation/

2. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/351545/great-resignation-really-great-discontent.aspx

3. https://www.epi.org/publication/restaurant-workers-paid-less-than-minimum-wage-and-lack-of-benefits/

4. https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/why-are-women-leaving-their-jobs/

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