The Great Re-Evaluation and Why Employers Need to Reimagine Work Now
Valerie is currently the CEO and owner of Valerie Martinelli Consulting, LLC. in which she offers Life, Leadership, and Career coaching for women as well as various Management and Human Resource consulting services such as program development, management, and evaluation, human resource audits, and employee handbook and other policy developments.
We have been hearing the phrase The Great Resignation for months now. However, months later and employees continue to leave their roles at levels we likely have not seen before. Many have wondered why this is? Also, we continue to hear about labor shortages and employers who cannot fill open roles- how are these things tied together?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in November, the “quit rate” rose to 3%, with more than 4.5 million people voluntarily leaving their jobs. Employers are struggling with a challenging labor supply shortage as people seek out new opportunities. It is believed that this is a trend that shows it is not relenting anytime soon.
The Great Re-Evaluation
I have started to call this The Great Re-Evaluation. Many studies have pointed to the fact that workers are truly re-evaluating not just where they want to work but how. It is important to remember that we spent 2020 locked up at home being forced to think about what is important. Many of us now realize what is important and how short life truly is. We have come to realize that we do not need “to take it” because “it’s a job” or because we have to. And employers are learning that now too, which is why there are labor shortages.
People are sick and tired of being sick and tired and being forced to take it. On top of it, they are sick and tired of being paid poorly, watching execs receive raises and bonuses from the pandemic profits, being forced to pick up the slack – and not being recognized for doing so- or being compensated for it, either. They are sick and tired of being forced to go into the office while their boss works from home and having absolutely no work-life balance and running at a pace that simply cannot be sustainable for the long term.
Many studies have pointed to the fact that workers are truly re-evaluating not just where they want to work but how.
This shift is about people re-evaluating their priorities and purpose. If employers want to be successful in this new age of work and amid a job seekers’ market, they must:
- Revisit their values: Decide what is most important and prioritize accordingly. Some things that may have worked before the pandemic may no longer be acceptable and it may be time to re-align organizational values and goals. Be sure there is a clear purpose because employees like to feel connected to their work and have a “why.”
- Get Recruiting, Hiring, Onboarding, and Retention right: Simply put, your turnover will begin to speak for itself. Are you bleeding employees? Then it is time to consider what is wrong with your practices and how to correct them. Are you conducting exit interviews and listening to your employees as they quit? If not, it may be time to do so. Do you have an onboarding or training program for new employees? Professional development and internal advancement practices for existing employees? Are your recruiters ghosting candidates as they apply? It is important not to always blame external forces when or if your internal practices have not evolved to accommodate an ever-changing world of work that satisfies workers’ needs.
- Examine Your Compensation Practices. It isn’t always just about pay, but have you adjusted salaries to accommodate for inflation or to account for the extra work employees may be taking on? If not, then you will likely continue to bleed talent and fight an uphill battle in recruiting quality candidates in such a competitive job seeker market. Have you threatened to decrease the salary of your remote workers who relocated? Not only is that bad PR it could still pose as a potential nightmare in recruiting and hiring.
- Reimagine Work. Work cannot always be forcing your staff into the office, especially if they prefer working remotely. It is even worse if their boss is at home, and they are being forced back for no reason. Work isn’t about being in an office all day. Work is about getting your work done and being trusted to do so in a timely and effective manner. Remember, your staff did it for the last 2 years all while schooling kids from home, dealing with closed daycares, and having their kids on their laps. Why should you trust them any less now?
People Want to Work…Maybe Not for You
It truly isn’t fair to say that people don’t want to work. If you are having trouble finding staff and filling roles, then maybe people just don’t want to work for you. As a Career Coach, I speak to a lot of job seekers, and they all tell me the same thing- they are tired of being treated poorly.
The rate or type of change we have undergone since 2020 is not likely to occur again in our lifetimes. The good news is that we now have the opportunity for massive growth and change unlike any other time in history. We can change our society from being a constantly over-worked burnt-out one because we think that’s normal to one that demands work-life balance, fair compensation, and benefits that make sense. If we embrace these changes, it can continue to fuel growth and learnings for our future so we can make work- and the workplace- a happier place to be where we can thrive and do our best work that makes a difference for generations to come.