The Great Resignation has permanently changed how people work and how they view their employers. Since December 2020, approximately 25 million Americans have voluntarily quit their jobs, and it doesn’t look like businesses will see a reduction in their turnover rate anytime soon.
In fact, it’ll likely get worse.
An August 2021 Bankrate survey found that 55% of currently employed Americans are planning to find a new job in the next 12 months. Not only that, but the US will continue to see a rise in the gig economy, freelancers, and independent contractors.
With over 10 million job openings in the US and about 8.5 million Americans choosing to stay unemployed, it’s clear that businesses have to adapt to this new landscape to see a change.
What is the Great Resignation?
But what is this Great Resignation that the recruitment industry is hyping over?
We’ve cleared it out for you.
As we’ve almost approached the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, a record number of employees are leaving their current jobs in search of an alternative.
The last seven months of 2021 had seen the worst effects of the Great Resignation.
During an interview with Bloomberg in May, Anthony Klotz, an organizational psychologist, and professor at Texas A&M University coined this phrase to characterize the surge of people quitting their jobs.
Recruiters are helplessly looking for ways to retain talent and not just combat the effects the pandemic had had but also this very phenomenon.
Why is the Great Resignation Happening?
The Great Resignation continues to dominate headlines and has profoundly impacted the workforce worldwide.
Today’s workers recognize that they have genuine leverage in the job market for the first time ever.
After more than a year of pandemic-induced lay-offs, employers hoped to see a rush of new job seekers to fulfill rising demands.
For the first time, companies need workers more than they need the company.
Today, the employees are the center of the job market, and they recognize the value they have to offer.
As a result, employees are quitting their jobs at record rates for many reasons. With employees realizing their value, their priorities are shifting. Employees are taking advantage of this as an opportunity for career revitalization.
For some workers, the pandemic precipitated a shift in priorities, encouraging them for a career change or rethink their long-term goals.
But for many others, the decision to quit came as a result of their experience as an employee. In the wake of the pandemic, employees expect their employers to acknowledge the well-being of workers, a better work-life balance, flexibility, and other benefits to support them.
With more and more employees feeling burnt out and seeking better opportunities, employers face the brunt of the Great Resignation.
Who is Driving the Great Resignation?
The pandemic changed employees’ perceptions about their work-life, shifting the relationship between employees and employers.
As a result, today’s employees finally have the ball in their court, making them the driving force of The Great Resignation.
A study by Adobe claims that Millennials and Gen Z workers are driving this exodus who are the least satisfied with their jobs. Moreover, employees who seek better opportunities, or have changed priorities, are all propelling the Great Resignation.
As employees realize the importance of a positive workplace, employers should introspect their relationship with employees. A toxic workplace is a considerable dictator of employee attrition. As a result, employers who are not adequately acknowledging their existing talent are experiencing high employee attrition.
Apart from work culture, job insecurity and a poor response to the pandemic are also fuelling the rate of resignations.
When Did the Great Resignation Start?
Resignation rates plunged in the initial stages of the pandemic but returned to pre-pandemic levels in July 2020 and began reaching record-high numbers in April 2021.
Beginning in early 2021, the US workforce witnessed the paradigm shift to what we call the Great Resignation.
The percentage of workers who voluntarily left their jobs hit a new record of 3% back in September 2021.
Before the pandemic, this rate never receded 2.4% per month. From May to September 2021, 20.2 million workers left their employers.
The initial upward trend of increasing resignations can be seen in April 2021, when vaccination rates increased in the U.S.
A record number of 3.8 million Americans quit their jobs during that month alone.
As the world began to shift to normal pre-pandemic practices, resignation rates rose.
What Does the Great Resignation Mean for Recruiters?
The employer to employee relationship has greatly shifted from “boss to workhorse” to “leader to protege.”
Employees know their worth, and they know that a business can’t survive without them. Unfortunately, some employers will treat their staff members as replaceable.
The Great Resignation proves that quality labor is difficult to find, even in low entry jobs like fast food cashiers or administrative assistants.
The power has shifted back to the employees.
Although the US is considered a first-world country, millions of Americans are subjected to low wages, no paid vacation, abuse in the workplace, a lack of work-life balance, and little protection against discrimination and unfair firing.
It’s no wonder why Americans are quitting en masse!
However, this doesn’t mean that Americans don’t want to work for a paycheck.
Resume template websites are just as popular as ever because Americans want to find employers that appreciate them. The workforce has always been clear with what they expect from employers.
What Do Employees Want in an Employer?
Understanding and providing for the needs of your employees is essential for productivity, success, and company morale.
Here’s what employees expect from their employers–
- Fair wages
- Job security
- Health benefits
- Career growth
- Work-life balance
- A sense of belonging
- Goal setting
Company leaders are expected to provide for their employee’s physical, mental, financial, and environmental needs.
Because 90,000 hours (or 1/3 of your life) is spent at work!
If that period of your life is miserable, it affects the other 2/3 significantly because of work dread.
Employees are asked not to bring their personal problems to work, but too often, their issues start in the workplace. Feeling disrespected, ignored, and underappreciated isn’t empowering.
However, employees that feel valued tend to perform better, which benefits your company’s growth.
In this challenging recruitment climate, HR and hiring managers must accommodate their employees. Otherwise, employers will continue to stay short-staffed and lose money.
How Can Your Recruitment Strategies Adapt to a Changing Workplace?
Beating the Great Resignation is possible if you consider your candidate’s expectations. Here are 5 actions businesses can take to improve their recruitment and retention efforts.
1. Offer Remote Work Options If Possible
Although many unemployed workers turned to self-employment options to survive, most of them stayed because their at-home job offered flexibility.
52% of men and 60% of women say they would quit their jobs if they had to return to the office after the pandemic. It’s that important.
The top reason why employees prefer to work from home is the cost savings. Remote employees don’t have to travel to and from the office, get dressed, or sacrifice their personal time for their employers.
Employers also benefit from reduced costs and increased productivity.
While remote work has its benefits, employers aren’t enthusiastic about offering it. This Forbes article states that a loss of power and the cost of remote infrastructure are likely culprits.
However, the cat’s out of the bag, and your employees want to work from home.
By adding “work from home” or “hybrid workplace” to your job posting, you’ll see a rise in applicants.
Read more: A recruiter’s ultimate remote hiring guide in 2022.
2. Enrich Career Development & Upskilling
Your employees want to know if you’ll invest in their future. Although Millennial and Gen Z employees are more likely to job-hop than older generations, they aren’t quitting their jobs because they’re bored.
They’re quitting because they don’t see a future in your company.
For all workers, young and old, job security is very important. If you develop realistic and clear career paths, allow your employees to move up the ladder, and offer leadership opportunities, you’ll attract quality talent that wants to stay in your business for a very long time.
Employers can encourage or pay their employees to go back to school or earn certification in their field. Alternatively, they can start promoting from within to reduce recruitment costs.
3. Rethink Your Benefits Packages
Most Americans get their healthcare plans from their employers, but the demographics that need them most often receive the worst benefits packages. Minimum-wage workers, who barely earn enough to survive, are also saddled with high premiums and worsening health outcomes.
Up-and-coming workers need their employers to offer a great benefits package that includes healthcare, dental, and an optimal work-life balance.
They expect meaning and purpose in their work that can only be promised with positive workplace culture and caring employers.
You don’t have to necessarily raise wages to retain or attract top talent. While more money helps, your employees are more concerned with retirement accounts and childcare benefits.
Read more: Positive candidate experience & organizational culture: How to hire top talent and keep it?
4. Streamline the Talent Acquisition Process
To improve your recruitment strategy, you can’t focus solely on what you offer.
You also have to consider the candidate’s experience while applying. For example, candidates hate having to write out their resumes even after they have already uploaded the document.
However, most employers still expect candidates to take this unnecessary step. If they continue to do this, high-quality candidates will look elsewhere because it proves to them their employer is inefficient.
You need to eliminate steps in your application process to encourage opt-ins.
At the same time, you need to consolidate the interview process to get back to candidates faster. The search for top talent will continue to become more competitive, so act quickly.
If you don’t have an employee referral program or a way to make virtual interviews standard, put the infrastructure in place. Including these will help you increase your talent pool.
5. Nurture Long-Term Employee Connection
Accessible and authentic communication is important to your candidates.
They want to work for honest and transparent employers during recruitment and after onboarding. If you aren’t offering the benefits you promised in your job posting, they’ll quit and look elsewhere.
Remember that trust is hard to earn and impossible to regain once broken. If employers say they support open communication but punish their employees for doing so, they’ll never convince their staff they have changed.
Your employees want a positive connection with their peers.
Employers need to provide the mechanism for leadership to communicate with employees on a human level.
They should be accessible and open to constructive criticism and feedback.
Periodically ask employees if they feel engaged and connected to their team and the company’s values. If they don’t, strive to change portions of your culture to keep your employees happy.
Don’t forget to let us know in the comments below how is the Great Resignation affecting your recruitment process.