The Great Resignation and What it Means

The Great Resignation. What is it? How does it affect you? Recently, I started coming across TikToks from Millennials celebrating their resignations from their jobs. It was clear a weight had been lifted from them. They were tired, fed up, and ready to move on to something better.

As a parent-professional, I often think about the energy it takes to do what we do. We are shoulders to cry on, fixers, people-pleasers, advice-givers, and so much more. We give more than we take when it comes to doing our jobs. While there are many satisfying elements to our jobs, there are moments where we think, “when is this too much?”

In a recent leadership meeting, the head of Talent & Culture at West Virginia University posed the question, “why do you think people are leaving their jobs?”

I was the first to raise my hand.
I didn’t have to “think.” I know why.

Excluding Baby Boomers (who are rapidly retiring), Millennials and Gen Xer’s are quitting for the following reasons:

  • Doing the job of multiple people

  • Not being properly compensated

  • Not being taken seriously 

  • Being passed up for promotions 

  • Returning to an office setting (working from home was successful) 

  • The inability to have flexibility 

  • Lack of work-life balance

Instead, they are finding jobs that pay them competitive wages, give them the flexibility to work from anywhere, and encourage ideas and growth – all key elements to a successful career.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. The rates of resignations are not expected to stop anytime soon.

Because of this, employers are asking “how can I retain my employees?”

While there is no right answer, there are ways to ensure your employees are happy or satisfied with their job.

How can you retain your employees? The answer is not “one size fits all.”

Think about the following:

  • Flexibility: Can employees have the flexibility to work from anywhere? Can they make their own schedule? 

  • Work-life balance: Can you work with your employees to ensure they get done with work in time to get to their kid’s soccer game? 

  • Is there an opportunity for growth within the position? 

  • Are you offering competitive/market value wages? 

  • Finally, does your employee get a seat at the table? Can they freely share ideas and offer feedback and input? 

While positions may be difficult to fill, it’s important to note that current employees shouldn’t feel the burden of doing everyone’s job. Forbes makes a point of noting, “since talent leaders can’t fill open roles fast enough, employees that want to stay have had to take on the employment of multiple people in addition to their day-to-day responsibilities.”

Whether you’re the employer or the employee, it’s critical – now more than ever – to realize your value. Ask for help. Negotiate raises. Find the balance between work and life.

Don’t be afraid to have tough conversations. At the end of the day, you are your biggest advocate.

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