What is this “Great Resignation” all about? What’s happening here? In my opinion, a couple of factors are driving this dramatic transformation in how your employees view and approach their work life.

You may have noticed, quitting can be contagious. When your workers think about jumping ship, they don’t just assess their own pay, benefits and career development. They look around and take note of how their friends feel about the existing team culture. When one employee leaves, the departure signals to others that it might be time to evaluate their options. 

So if quitting leads to more quitting, that can be a challenge that small business owners and employers can’t always solve with raises or perks. Even one worker’s decision to leave is especially likely to inspire others who don’t feel strongly embedded at the company and it just might become contagious!

In a recent poll of more than 21,000 LinkedIn members, 59 percent said a colleague’s departure had led them to consider quitting as well. Think about it. When you walk by a restaurant and it’s full of people, it’s a clue this restaurant is pretty good. Similarly, when the people you know, like, and respect are leaving a job, you think maybe the grass is greener somewhere else.

For one of your employees, it might be really scary to make a decision to leave their job. But if they see other people doing it, it might not feel as lonely, or like they are an outsider.

So what’s really happening here? I think a couple of factors:

  1. Redefining the very concept of work.

I believe the very concept of work has fundamentally changed for many people. While, unfortunately, the pandemic marked the first time many people found themselves working from home for an extended period of time. And guess what? They found a lot of things they liked about this new work model. No commute. More time with family and greater freedom and flexibility. These are things many people have become accustomed to and want to keep in their lives. Today, workers looking for a new job, almost 30 percent cited “more flexibility” as the primary reason for doing so. 

2. Team Culture

The challenges over the last 20 months have revealed the true character of a company’s culture and its leadership. Some leaders and their organizations rose to the challenge—and some fell short. Now that the world of work has started to loosen up, employees—especially those who have become disillusioned—are more comfortable exploring their options and making the move to new opportunities. They are ready to look for a work environment that offers better culture, greater flexibility, and more visionary leadership.

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In short, people are challenging assumptions about what work is and what it means in our lives. Do I need to go into an office every day? Do I need to confine my work hours to 9 to 5? Can I be just as productive—if not more so—working remotely? The pandemic answered many of those questions, showing us that forward-thinking companies can not only survive but thrive in the new world of work.

3. The Challenges of Working Parents

We all know that working parents faced immense challenges during the pandemic—including the need to coordinate childcare and homeschooling while trying to do their jobs. This led to burnout. Many employees who are looking for a new job are seeking better ways to manage family and work responsibilities. 

Employers today must show empathy for the challenges parents face. I believe the more companies that demonstrate that they care about their employees, the more those workers will reciprocate. And when they do that, employee effort and engagement will increases dramatically.

4. Sense of Community

People, including your employees, spend a good portion of their lives working. For that reason, I believe many businesses have lost the importance of building a community at work. They have failed to offer a sense of community and connection to create a culture where differences are celebrated and embraced. In general, they have failed to understand that the line between work and personal lives has been merged.

So what can your business do to stem the tide of this mass exodus? Try doing a better job bringing the human connection back to the workplace. Celebrate the things that unite us as people, families, pets and home. We need to take down some of the the walls between the personal and professional. Don’t get me wrong, your employees do have a job to do and must focus on the tasks at hand.

However, businesses need to go beyond just recognizing work accomplishments, and celebrate the total person, such as birthdays, new homes, children’s accomplishments or completing a marathon to bring people together from across your business. In doing so, if your business can build a team culture with a true sense of community, your employees are less likely to leave. Not that would be Magical!

Need help? Contact Coach John today! info@johnformica.com or (704) 965-4090