The US had to endure a huge disruption with the COVID-19 pandemic, also known as The Great Resignation.
That is the new term for the large numbers of American workers who quit their old jobs and started new ones during the pandemic.
The Great Resignation started in April 2021 and it’s estimated that about 25% of workers have stopped working for their companies during the last year or so.
And companies are more worried than ever how the effects of The Great Resignation could affect them.
What is it during the pandemic that causes workers to quit their jobs and move to different ones?
The first thing is that many companies stopped allowing remote work and make employees come back to the office.
Millions of workers discovered they could work effectively from home and enjoy a better work/life balance. Rather than accept going back to long commutes and all day in a cubicle or office, they look for jobs that allow them to continue telework.
Another reason workers are resigning and going to new jobs is compensation. Inflation was 7% in 2021 and will be higher this year.
Cost of living wages of 2% and 3% don’t keep up. Workers cannot stay at companies where their income doesn’t keep pace with inflation.
Here are some ways companies and workers can continue to thrive during the Great Resignation:
Companies should listen carefully to what their employees want, especially as far as when and how they work.
As long as the work gets done and no productivity is lost, why not consider allowing more remote work?
As an employee, your company won’t know what to provide for you if you don’t tell them.
Give the company feedback about the work conditions. If you are productive working from home, tell the company that you want to keep doing it at least a few days a week.
The best way to keep your workers from resigning and moving on is to give them good pay and flexibility in how they work.
You won’t be able to get away with paying them less than they are worth because there are other companies that will pay more.
If you are a worker thinking about shopping for better pay, make sure you consider all of the benefits of your current work situation.
Do you have average pay but fantastic PTO and healthcare benefits?
Value those appropriately before you jump ship for a higher salary for the company down the street.
If you aren’t entirely happy with your job, you can make small changes if you have regular, honest meetings with your supervisor.
Some refer to this as a job-crafting talk. You can maybe tell your manager that you love 70% of your job but there is 20% or 30% that is making you consider moving somewhere else. If you present this conversation in a constructive way, there may be ways to improve your current position so you can continue to thrive and grow in the same place.
If you have too much work and your company is struggling to get everything done, the last thing you should do is force workers to do more in less time.
As so many people are resigning and finding work they like more, this could push some employees over the edge to switch jobs.
You can reduce the number of people who leave if you change up your workflows and match it better to current resources.
Prioritize which projects are most critical and make plans for some deliverables to be delayed. Then you should communicate the new workflows to your customers and vendors.
Amazon has done a great job with this during the pandemic. They made very public warnings about how there would be delays in delivery. They also brought in thousands more workers to deal with higher demand.
All managers should meet with their workers every few weeks. It allows the manager to know their workers better and understand their current needs. This also helps them to see how their employees are moving forward professionally and what they need today.
When meeting with your boss, talk to them about how you are feeling about the work and your professional opportunities for growth. You can always shop around for a better job, but sometimes you can stay in your current position by finding new paths for growth.
Workers are less likely to be part of the Great Resignation if they feel their company values them and treats them well. As an employee, you can thrive during the Great Resignation if you are open and honest with your employer.
If the company you are in is dealing with people leaving and seeking greener pastures, there could be a lot of gossip around the water cooler.
As an employee, you should not engage in gossip as it only leads to a feeling of unease and mistrust as more people leave or consider leaving.
As the employer, you can establish an open meeting of everyone in the department every month or quarter. Lay down plans for the next period of time and explain who has left and why. If you want to prevent more people from leaving, this meeting could be a good time to request people to fill out a survey to discuss things that they want to change in the company.
The Great Resignation can be stressful for both workers and employers. There have been a lot of workers moving on to different places. While some of this is unavoidable, both employees and employers can avoid some of it by working better together as partners.
If the employer offers a bit of flexibility and the employee is willing to compromise as well, both sides can come out ahead and enjoy a better working relationship.
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Ryan is the VP of Operations for DEV.co. He brings over a decade of experience in managing custom website and software development projects for clients small and large, managing internal and external teams on meeting and exceeding client expectations–delivering projects on-time and within budget requirements. Ryan is based in El Paso, Texas.