According to Visier, resignation rates hit a spike from July to September. Trend data for the remainder of 2021 shows that “the great resignation” is more pronounced this year than previous years. “It’s safe to say the ‘great resignation’ is already upon us, and businesses (particularly those in high tech and healthcare) will need to address voluntary turnover while they continue to grapple with post-pandemic recovery and return-to-office plans,” said Ian Cook, vice president of people analytics at Visier.
“While not all turnover is bad, it becomes a problem when organizations struggle to retain their very best talent, which negatively impacts the bottom line. It’s worth noting the 2021 “great resignation” marks a departure from previous high-turnover seasons due to key gender differences and high levels of burnout brought on by Covid-19.”
According to the Labor Department, four million people quit their jobs in April, 2021, and the job market as we know it is changing. In a quickly rebounding economy, a newly empowered workforce has clear conditions about health and sustainability for their offices. Studies show the primary reasons employees quit their jobs is when office health and sustainability expectations go unmet and they feel underappreciated and undervalued.
Recent research in the International Journal of Business Communication shows a trend from millennial employees putting more value on having respectful communication in the workplace over trendy fun perks. And this new trend is driving resiliency, engagement and job satisfaction. As we look at the remainder of 2021, there are additional key hiring trends that companies need to acknowledge, according to John Morgan, president of LHH—a global provider of talent and leadership development, career transition and coaching. He has identified four must-know trends to focus on as we close out 2021.
“The pandemic has accelerated behavior changes within the workplace and transformed the way we work,” Morgan said. “Employees are emerging from the pandemic with more confidence and new expectations. They are re-assessing and re-imagining their careers. How organizations and leaders respond will be critical to the health of their people and their companies. We’ve identified several key areas that companies should focus on to successfully adapt to the new world of work.”
According to Morgan, one of the most important areas is mental well-being. “A lack of work-life balance, including no clear end to the working day, along with a lack of personal connection, have been cited as the most negative personal shifts when moving to a fully remote working model,” he said. “In fact, during the pandemic, four out of 10 adults in the United States have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder. HR leaders must take deliberate actions to drive employee well-being.”
The second area that organizations should focus on is re-defining productivity based on output and merit. “Over a third (69%) of employees feel they should be measured on results rather than hours worked,” Morgan said. “Leaders should focus on building a results-based culture that clearly outlines how employees will be measured and the frequency of assessments.”
The third area Morgan cites is culture building. “An overwhelming majority (74%) of employees want their managers to demonstrate a leadership style focused on empathy and a supportive attitude,” he insists. “Research findings have shown that team connection, trust and communication are the most positive professional shifts to come out of the pandemic. Management can work to build trust by frequently connecting with employees, helping manage their workloads and offering opportunities to develop new skills.”
The fourth area that companies need to take into account, according to Morgan, is career development. “Employers must show that they have a genuine investment in their employees’ long-term careers. Offering opportunities for employees to up skill and re-skill will go a long way in driving employee satisfaction and loyalty.”
A Final Word
Now that “the great resignation” is in full swing and millions of workers rethink how they want to live their lives after the pandemic, they’re not willing to settle for less. Some want a job with more work options such as better benefits, more money, shorter commutes and more flexibility. And some simply are looking for a safer workplace. Michelle Wax, founder of the American Happiness Project, believes hiring practices should use “customization” in order to accommodate employee demands. “With a return to office, employees may feel threatened,” she said.
“The more you can allow employees to ‘customize’ their working environment, the better. Depending on personality, their family dynamic at home, and work styles can affect this ‘customization’—allowing team members to implement hybrid working, commuting on their own schedules around meetings to avoid rush hour, or allotting ‘no meeting’ time blocks for productivity and focus are all great solutions to allow for more flexibility and freedom.”
According to Wax, employees want to feel appreciated, trusted and important to the organization. She sees incorporating ways for team members to connect, recognize each other and continue to normalize the conversations around burnout, mental health and stress that are impacting everyone, allows employees to connect on a human level and realize they are not alone.“
As human beings, we crave community and connection with others on a deeper level than just work and this (most likely) has been lacking in the past 18 months” she said. “Doing this through town halls, employee-led open forums, mental health workshops or interactive activities in the office amplify and tap into the core human needs of connection and appreciation.”