We've all been bombarded by the forthcoming Great Resignation since the COVID-19 shutdown. The sentiment is that companies need to adapt to the requirements of the evolving workforce to keep the lights on (in the office to which no one is going). A recent Harris poll determined that 66% of Americans are interested in switching jobs. Along with this rhetoric comes the call for organizations to allow flexible work, adapt a new tech stack, and change management styles. There's only one problem..... no one is quitting their corporate job.
It could be that the uncertainty of times is forcing people to keep jobs they dislike (hasn't that always been the case)? Maybe go-getters who thought the job market would be vibrant with opportunity have discovered otherwise? Is it that those who had gotten comfortable in their profession didn't realize 100 other qualified professionals would be interviewing for their "dream job"? We may also have to entertain the concept that companies have actually done a decent job engaging their employees?
After the great recession of 2008 corporations were forced to eliminate jobs, cut wages, and decline bonuses. Things are different this time around. We've seen our fair share of hiring freezes and furloughs but the empowerment of employees has proven resilient. What we have witnessed is an evolution of what is important to the working public:
Financial expectations have taken a back seat to meaningful work, company missions are driving motivation beyond the almighty dollar, and advancement through quality work is debunking workplace politics.
Now that the watercooler is empty
I recently read a post advising that one cannot advance in an organization without networking internally. The premise-based in having lunch and participating in post-work activities to enhance one's personal "brand." With the "watercooler" now shut down and people working in silos, networking has been abandoned to focus on the work being performed. Imagine that, people are being promoted based only on the merit of their performance?
The flip side reveals an unfortunate truth. As the workforce gets back to the office the option to work from home may remain supported. While one can continue to exercise this option, their ability to ascend the organization will become less likely. This is an excellent option for those who prefer autonomy over status but in order to have influence, you'll need to be present. Sad but true!
Where is everybody?
As we talk about the great resignation, one consistency has never changed: people don't leave companies, they leave bosses. All the perks, wonderful culture, and leadership vision are irrelevant if one's boss seeks to control as a form of management. Workforce research can depict what needs to be done to retain and attract all-star talent but if you allow managers to continue to bully employees, an exodus is certain.
With all the misfortunate of the last 18 months, if the downside presents an opportunity to dispel micromanagement, our time in exile may have been worth it. If we are to admit opportunity to job hop will be greater than in the past, focus on responsible management is a must. With the continual emphasis on employee mental health, organizations cannot be true to policy without holding managers responsible to treat their employees with mutual respect.
More carrots, fewer sticks!
Maybe my job doesn't suck...?
Hindsight is an interesting thing. I've experienced so many people who were actively engaged in a job with a great company that left to look for a "new challenge."Careful what you wish for! Sometimes we take for granted a great job under the illusion that something perfect is out there. No job is perfect. If you have 10 objectives for work and seven of those are firmly met, you may just be living your best work life. If your job is intolerable, no amount of money is worth the detriment to your mental health. If you are able to work with a certain degree of trust for a company whose mission pulls at your heartstrings, this might be as good as it gets?
Every job has its pros and cons. No boss is perfect. Products will fail. People will let you down. There will be unfair promotions. Some days will be tough and others will prove rewarding. We spend the majority of our waking lives at work, it's probably a good idea to find a place where you can challenge yourself with a certain degree of harmony.
The pandemic has weighted us down with a thousand opinions of where the workforce is heading. The most trusted source in determining the future is no one other than yourself.
Don't forget to remember,