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What ‘The Great Resignation’ Means for You as a Leader
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What ‘The Great Resignation’ Means for You as a Leader




BIG IDEA:

Millions of people are thinking of changing jobs right now. Is your top performer among them?

I’m hearing a lot of concern from my customers right now about their concerns of employees leaving their jobs. It’s not that my customers believe their companies aren’t great places to work. They are! But the simple fact is that many people have used the pandemic period to reevaluate their career goals and their relationship to their current employer.

Given the recent trends, senior leaders are right to be concerned. Labor economists are calling the current period “The Great Resignation.” A record number of people are, in fact, quitting their jobs—4 million just in the month of April. There’s no reason to think your office or your team will be the exception to this widespread trend.

WHY IT MATTERS:

The shift to remote and hybrid work has changed the nature of the employment relationship.

‘The Great Resignation’ may be taking some employers by surprise, but it’s a natural consequence of a generation-defining period of upheaval. I would actually call it, “The Great Reassessment”. The pandemic changed everything about the way we live our lives. At the most basic level, it changed the way people spent their time. People spent more time alone and less time with people they didn’t live with. It makes sense that after a year of a radically different life, many people are reevaluating their work-life balance, their career goals, where they want to live, and more. In many ways, this shouldn’t be a surprise. I believe it’s human nature to reassess our lives after we’ve experienced a significant crisis.

However, the one thing I’ve sensed in all my conversations, is that many organizations are feeling like they have little control over the great reassessment that is taking place. In many ways, some seem to be in a victim mode, feeling helpless to the changes taking place in real-time.

I believe that this isn’t a time to wait and simply hope for the best. Organizations have to get out ahead of this trend, and not merely watch things unfold. How? Be the company, or the team leader, who proactively talks to employees about their goals and what the best next move for them is? Help your employees work through the great reassessment taking place.

THE IMPACT:

This is a huge opportunity to strengthen your company’s brand as a place that puts employees at the center of everything you do.

Your willingness to have these kinds of open and transparent career conversations can have a big impact on your company’s brand as an employer. If and when your employees do move on to another opportunity, what will they say about their time with you? Will they talk about how much their boss and the company as a whole invested in their career growth?

A strong employer brand can be a huge asset in helping your company attract top talent. And the pandemic drove many consumers to pay more attention to how companies treat their workers, as well. Your company’s brand as an employer can even impact the bottom line: research shows that companies with bad reputations have to spend about 10% more on salaries to attract talent, and almost 50% of workers say that no amount of money could persuade them to take a job at a place with a bad employer brand.

WHAT TO PAY ATTENTION TO:

Make time to talk about the big picture with your direct reports.

Even if an employee’s best next move is not at your company, you can have a powerfully positive impact on their life just by opening up the conversation, listening to what they have to say, and being transparent about what you can and can’t offer. Even if they do end up moving on, they’ll remember you and the company fondly because of your willingness to step up and help them advance their career.

Set aside time to have career conversations with your direct reports. In these conversations, ask open-ended questions about the employee’s goals. Be as transparent as you can about their future prospects within the company and any upcoming changes you’re able to share. And be generous with your contacts—connecting great people to one another always pays dividends.

Will you be a victim of the great resignation?

Gut Check for Leaders

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