Are you part of the Great Resignation?

As we come to the close of end of 2021, something that i’m hearing a lot from peers as well as social media is around the Great Resignation. I wanted to spend some to explain what the Great Resignation is and why it is impacting us on a daily basis.

What is the Great Resignation?

The Great Resignation was coined in late 2020 and describes people leaving the workforce/changing their jobs as a result of the Corona Pandemic. For many reasons, the pandemic has made people question why they are staying in a job which doesnt make them happy? or which isn’t absolutely perfect for them. It’s often indicated as a US issue, but it a worldwide phenomenon that has impacted many international countries.

With mass resignations, it is causing seismic changes to our entire job market. Labour markets have been reshaped by the pandemic. Working from home norms, the demand for flexible working, a re-evaluation towards priorities (work /life balance) and criticising the negative parts of the job that may exist (e.g. long commutes, long working hours, stress etc).

What does this mean for our organisations?

In my opinion, as leaders, we really need to re-evaluate not only our retention strategies but also how we are managing and working. What are our core values for managing workload and managing people overall? What does it look like?

If we think back to two years ago, I rarely saw my colleagues families or pets. There were few/none interruptions in the working day and working from home was not at all ‘the norm’. Fast forward to two years, I can tell you all of the names of my colleagues children, when they’re in the office (as opposed to when they’ll be working from home) and perhaps more importantly, they know this information about me too.

On a wider discussion, there is also the impact that the Great Resignation is having on the labour market. Regardless of the number of vacancies, in the US alone, there are 4 million less people in the workforce than before the pandemic. This could be due to retirement, death or people needing to care for others.

There is a lot of discussion around the different stimulus packages that different countries bring. What works? What doesn’t? Each country has their own challenges which gives it it’s own individual melting pot of issues.

What does it mean for individuals?

What I am seeing with peers is a real focus on looking on what is important for them as an all round individual. Rather than looking at: Where do I want to be in my career? It’s also looking at:

  • What is best for my family?
  • What job suits me today?
  • Where can I find greater job satisfaction?

One question that was I was asked when I discussed “The Great Resignation” with a peer was “Does your organisation fulfil all of your needs? Is it taking your wider wellbeing into consideration?” There is a slightly greater emphasis and priority put on the individual and what they might need as opposed to the Organisation having the power and choice of applicants.

What does this mean for me?

I think every single one of us has questioned during the last year if we’re staying in the right job, the right organisation or even the right career. If you’re thinking about whether you should join the great resignation, then consider the following points:

  • Research what’s out there. What does your industry look like? Are there plenty of jobs? What sort of change would you be looking for?
  • What do you really want? Do you know? If you don’t, consider talking to a career or life coach to get guidance
  • Understand the impact of your decision. Any change has consequences. How can you ensure that the change you’re making is the best for you, your family.
  • Don’t settle. This could be related to your current working conditions, flex working requests or even just basic adjustments to your working day/life. Don’t settle for less than you’re worth and make sure you have a clear case for what you want.

Organisations and Economies are still adapting to a post-covid economy and reality. What will our working lives look like? What will be the new normal? I think it’s going to be a balance between what an organisation wants and what the employee or individuals need.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you made a switch since the start of the pandemic? What were your motivations?

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