The February jobs report showed signs of life for the U.S. employment outlook — a surprisingly strong 678,000 positions were added, with widespread growth across industries, led by the leisure and hospitality, healthcare and construction sectors. The unemployment rate also decreased to 3.8 percent, down from 4 percent in January. Clearly things are headed in the right direction.
Why, then, do we continue to talk about the Great Resignation?
During the pandemic, employees left their jobs in record numbers (estimates reveal nearly 69 million people quit their jobs in America last year), for a multitude of reasons, which we’ll dig into below. The question on employers minds is: When will this mass migration come to an end?
The answer might not be simple or obvious, but the bottom line is: We continue to grapple with the Great Resignation because it’s a complete transformation of how, where and why we work.
Why the Great Resignation Isn’t Going Anywhere
An easy conclusion for employers to make is that their workers are looking elsewhere for better pay. And they wouldn’t be wrong — but compensation is only part of the (much more complicated) equation. A recent Gallup poll finds that 64 percent of job seekers state higher pay as motivating their search.
But more pervasive — and complex — are issues surrounding employee engagement and well-being. The same Gallup survey concluded that 42 percent of the reasons why workers were looking elsewhere had to do with how they specifically felt about their bosses and organizational culture. Low employee satisfaction stems from a lack of growth and learning opportunities, as well as not feeling respected or valued in their organizations.
Twenty-one percent of responses had to do with overall employee well-being — the need for more flexible schedules, the ability to work remotely at least some of the time, a greater awareness of an employee’s life-work balance by leadership. These workforce issues aren’t going to magically disappear, meaning the disruption of employee turnover will continue to haunt employers across industries for some time to come.
Unless employers take notice and make some major moves to retain their best employees and to attract top talent to stay relevant and successful in an ever-changing marketplace, this rapid reshuffling is sure to continue.
So What Can Employers Do?
What does a more empowered workforce mean for employers? Seen in the right light, it’s a rare moment for organizations to rise to the challenge of increasing employee engagement and satisfaction, which leads to more resilient, robust and innovative teams.
Corporate talent expert Josh Bersin has identified organization design — examining the work your company does and redesigning it for growth — as an urgent need for organizations to stay ahead in this economic climate. As he warns: “Every company is now in the ‘productivity business.’ If you can’t find a way to continuously reorganize your company to improve productivity, you’ll simply fall behind.”
Being intentional about your internal structure and the roles, responsibilities and expectations of your employees leads to increased agility, more transparency — another hot button issue in today’s workplaces — and better outcomes for your team and your organization.
Meeting the Moment
In a time of great disruption, the most agile and forward-thinking organizations will flourish. Workers are demanding more from their workplaces, and that’s a good thing. The definition of what constitutes a “good job” is diverging, and savvy employers are taking notice, investing in and supporting their workforce to cultivate a mindset of growth and expansion.
We all play a part in building strong organizations that can withstand these challenges. With increased awareness and intention comes the opportunity to rethink and reinvent our workplaces for the better, and that starts with focusing on the human in human resources.
In these uncertain times, a trusted hiring partner who has industry experience combined with recruitment expertise can help you find and nurture your most skilled and effective leadership team to guide your organization to reach its goals and further its growth.