Workers are saying goodbye at alarmingly high rates in the past year. The Great Resignation is an informal name for the upward trend of workers leaving their jobs during the Coronavirus Pandemic. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4.3 million American workers left their jobs in August 2021.
The future of work has changed. Especially for Gen Z, who has their whole careers ahead of them.
Causes of The Great Resignation
The Great Resignation was coined by Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Texas A&M University, in May 2021.
He noticed these four trends.
1. A backlog of resignations
In the pandemic, workers were staying put in their jobs. The job market was not doing well with record-level layoffs since the Great Recession. Not many companies were hiring, but now that vaccines are widely available in the United States, companies and economists are reporting on an increase in hiring again. And then, specific industries are doing an excess of hiring due to the labor shortage caused by the Great Resignation.
2. Burnout increased due to the pandemic
The pandemic made jobs more stressful. Those in stressful jobs are burnt out and leaving those industries.
3. A shift in identity
This shift was caused by the lockdowns and last year as a whole. The pandemic created an opportunity for those to reflect on their pre-pandemic lifestyles. Many people reconsidered their work-life balance. Those in healthcare experienced a high level of stress. Many food service employees were temporarily laid off. Therefore, workers found job openings.
Generally, the lockdown allowed for people to reflect on what they wanted out of life. People started businesses. People moved to the suburbs. People realized that their profession was impacting their mental health. People spent more time with their children. And, those people quit their jobs that stopped them from doing these things.
4. Desire to continue to work remotely
Remote work became the norm. Now that companies are shifting to in-office work, those who want to continue remotely decided to find another job that allows them to work remotely full-time.
Effects of The Great Resignation
In the month of October 2021, it was coined Striketober. There were waves of strikes throughout the United States at companies such as Kellogg, Nabisco, and John Deere.
Low Worker Loyalty
Increase in Reneging
While mid-level employees are quitting their jobs, Gen Z is reneging on offers for both internship and entry-level offers.
Combat the Effects of The Great Resignation
Assess your work-from-home policy. Figure out if employees actually want to be in the office. The employees who do not want to be in the office might be already looking for a new job.
Reflect upon employee workload. An influx of companies gave their employees extended time off and shut down the company for that time. While that is fantastic, after the break there needs to be a reflection on workload. This prevents needing the extended break in the first place.
Look at your renege rates. Right now, some companies are seeing up to 20% renege rates, while the average is hovering at 8%. Assess and understand that rate. If recruiters and hiring managers are putting in the time, money, and efforts to hire new employees, make sure that those new employees are actually showing up on day one.
Right now, students are getting back to campus after a year and a half of virtual learning. They are distracted during virtual recruitment. It’s harder to put a face to a name and communication is done via a computer screen.
And this trend of reneging will continue with the low rates of employer loyalty. Students commit with an offer for an internship or entry-level role and continue to speak with other companies.
Learn from the experts on decreasing renege rates and post-offer journeys.
Evaluate the protocols with internal growth. Employees enjoy working for places that they see themselves growing in. If there is no employee growth, they will seek growth elsewhere in this labor market.
At the end of the day, business leaders need to be proactive and listen to employees.