Where have all the people gone? or What is the Great Resignation all about? Employers take note.
The labor shortage has perplexed us all . . . we thought it was the big unemployment subsidies keeping people at home instead of going back to work. Then, in states which ended those subsidies, we expected a surge in employment. It didn’t happen. Now with everyone no longer receiving the subsidies, employment numbers are still flat. What happened? If it is indeed the time of “Great Resignations”, what is driving everyone to discard their old jobs? More importantly, what will get people back to work, in any capacity?
It reminds me of sailing around the waters off northeastern Massachusetts. After a few hours of breeze in the morning, the wind dies. It literally disappears, even if the morning breeze was quite strong. The calm lasts for a short or long while (30 minutes to 2 hours or so), but what is predictable is its return. And more often than not, that breeze is from an entirely different direction (often 180 degrees different).
The same with this strange moment we are in. We are in the calm and when employment, job energy and recruiting comes back, it will be with renewed energy, but it may not look the same. What will be the shift? Higher wages? Better management? Greater appreciation for the essential role that employees fill? Less money grabbing in the top tier and sharing of profits and or compensation (my hope)? New organizational structure? Plenty have written about their predictions, but no one truly seems to know for sure.
STOP. How about we see the gift in this “calm”?
For organizations who want to embrace what could be the new normal, and stay ahead of their competition, now is the time to get ready for what’s next. My coaching experience tells me workers are reassessing their priorities and acting accordingly by taking time off, focusing on their family and health, contemplating a new role better aligned with their values, looking for companies more aligned with their values and management that offers mutual respect and appreciation, acknowledgement of contributions and fair compensation. We are in a new space.
On a boat, when the wind calms, the captain and crew get the sails and lines ready for a blow. For companies, now is a significant moment to reassess employment and compensation policies, benefits, bonus structure, perqs, recruiting techniques, onboarding, new-hire training, management styles, career management, etc. Payroll is the largest expenditure most companies have. Does your organization show the respect that statistic suggests is due to your employees? Can you run your company without any humans? How is it that salaries for the C-suite have grown over the years astronomically yet the worker-bees are still earning a similar salary to years ago? According to the Economic Policy Institute, “From 1978 to 2020, CEO pay based on realized compensation grew by 1,322% . . . In contrast, compensation of the typical worker grew by just 18.0% from 1978 to 2020.”1. And employees are supposed to be grateful for the 3% raise each year, equating to one free lunch a week for some?
Let’s get ready for the blow and look for ways to attract workers rather than continue the status quo for the betterment of all. Honestly, what alternative do you have?