Have you heard? Millions of workers around the world are marching out of their jobs. And it’s only just begun. The phenomenon’s known as ‘The Great Resignation.’ COVID-19 has forced millions to work from home and governments to start paying the unemployed to stay home. All of a sudden, workers everywhere want to upgrade their professional lives and are being very picky with where they will go next.
This is causing major disruptions to companies in every industry. The lack of available workers is affecting global supply chains. Consumers can’t find items they want, and many products cost more than they ever have.
What can be done? Like any other labor market shock, some companies will stumble, and others will thrive and pull ahead of their competition. How can companies advance during The Great Resignation? By doing two things: They must re-attract workers by offering things their past employers do not. They must also publicize those new investments, ideally over a corporate alumni platform where an established network distributes those messages far and wide.
But what do resigning workers ultimately want from their next employers?
Companies waiting for the pandemic to “die down” so they can pull their employees back into the office are in for a rude awakening. Seventy-three percent of workers want hybrid work options to stay. Therefore, companies that remain flexible with where their workers do their work will attract the bulk of future talent.
But offering remote work is not enough. When given the choice, most workers want to be able to come into the office 2-3 times a week. They want to connect with co-workers, find mentors, gossip, get to know their bosses, get facetime with executives, and find friends and even future mates. Recently, remote workers report that working exclusively on email and Zoom is causing them digital exhaustion. Therefore, allowing workers to work either from home or the office will attract the most top talent going forward.
When you’re passionate about your job, it doesn’t feel like work. If you’ve ever believed deeply in your organization’s mission, staying late or working weekends is not a burden. Unfortunately, ‘The Great Resignation’ reveals that millions of workers do not feel that way. As companies tighten their belts and make more ambitious compromises to boost the bottom line, frontline workers have less reason to believe their work contributes to a better world.
To retain and attract workers during a time of mass walkouts, companies should invest time and attention to their values statement. They should revise them with employees’ input and publicize them so that industry workers learn how a company is committing to making work meaningful for their employees. Obtaining a corporate alumni platform is a great way to get that message out. Sending a new and improved value statement to a community of former workers can be an easy, dynamic way to create a positive buzz around your company.
No group of workers is more disillusioned with the modern workplace than Generation Z. These are your youngest workers – still in their twenties – and more than half of them say they feel they are overworked and struggling at work. This group is also most likely to feel their bosses are out of touch with workplace issues and their company’s social media messages do not match their internal ethos.
To fix this, companies should invest time and energy into strengthening the firm’s commitment to authenticity, where the things they say publicly more closely match their treatment of workers and customers. The concept of “productivity” should come to incorporate education and employee wellbeing. Workers want more than just a job and a paycheck. They want to feel pride in their work, appreciated when they succeed, and supported when they fail. Committing to authenticity will go a long way to ingratiate a company with a generation of increasingly mobile workers.
No one knows how the global labor market will look in five years, or even one year from now. But we know that talented workers have more leverage than they had before the pandemic. Many companies will fail to recover from losing workers. The ones that will thrive will offer their employees flexible work options, a sense of meaning, and an authenticity their workers – and customers – can be proud of. Turning these changes into hiring top talent will require publicizing them widely on a corporate alumni platform, where a network of former workers can alert their most talented colleagues of new opportunities at their old firm. Be sure to get one now.