The concept of “The Great Resignation” was proposed by Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University in May 2021. He believes that changes in the environment caused by COVID-19 also affect transformation in the job market. Employees’ expectations for work have changed, and they expect to maintain a balance between life and work. They also hope that the workplace environment can be more fair and reasonable, allowing them to have the space to express their abilities independently and get ideal compensation.
New York, USA (Merxwire) – In early 2021, more than 40 percent of workers in the U.S. want to switch jobs. When spring came, many people started to take action. According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics USA, by the end of October 2021, more than 34.4 million people will leave their old jobs. In November 2021, the number of voluntary resignations reached a new high of 4.5 million. This phenomenon has been called “The Great Resignation” by Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University and an organizational psychologist. This trend has continued into 2022.
Anthony Klotz proposed the concept of “The Great Resignation” in May 2021, arguing that changes in the overall environment caused by the COVID-19 epidemic also affect the job market. After the outbreak of the epidemic, the remote office model was launched, allowing everyone to spend more time with their families and maintain a work-life balance. Because people’s expectations and ideas about work have changed, they began to think about whether they can return to the previous work mode. Coupled with the feeling of birth and death and the impermanence of life during the epidemic, those who had originally thought of resigning became more determined to leave.
According to the “Hopes & Fears Survey 2022” published by PwC in the World Economic Forum 2022, one in five employees worldwide plans to switch jobs within the next year. The report surveyed 52,195 employees in 44 countries around the world.
A survey by management consulting firm Mckinsey, more than 40 percent of workers may leave their jobs within 3 to 6 months, and the remaining 60 percent of employees are not considering leaving, but prefer to live in the original city or location. If the new job is remote work or a blended working model, and the residence does not need to be moved, they will still consider switching jobs. Therefore, the wave of departures will continue to spread.
Pursuing the ideal salary is the main factor in wanting to switch jobs, with one in three employees eager for a raise. A higher percentage of women than men believe current salaries are unreasonable. Employees with professional skills are more likely to ask for a promotion or salary increase. Therefore, statistics show that about 44% of technology employees will ask for a salary increase and hope to be favored by supervisors.
Reasons Why Employees Want to Switch Jobs
Even if the salary is one of the main reasons for changing jobs, finding a job that matches your ideal is also an important reason for changing runways. Nearly 70 percent of employees want a sense of fulfillment at work, and more than 60 percent of employees are eager to show their true selves at work. More than half of them expect their work team to care about their physical and mental health. All these factors make people want to pursue the next better job.
Donald Sull, a lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management and Ben Zweig, an adjunct professor of economics at the Stern School of Business of New York University, analyzed the reasons for leaving 34 million employees and found that corporate environmental factors have a great impact on employees’ willingness to stay. There are five main reasons:
- Toxic company culture: Including poor inclusivity, lack of fairness, disrespect for employees, or unethical incidents that will let employees unwilling to stay in the company.
- The working environment makes employees feel uneasy: the development of the industry or company is hindered, resulting in a decline in revenue, and the company will adopt some layoff policies. The workload may also increase as a result.
- Innovation intensity and frequency are high: companies with high innovation development direction usually have a faster pace, greater pressure, and long working hours, but they are relatively more fulfilling.
- Employee performance is not accurately measured: employees feel that their efforts have not been properly evaluated or paid, or even unfair rewards, which will lead to a sense of powerlessness.
- Inadequate corporate resilience and immediate response: When the COVID-19 outbreak broke out, corporate resilience was insufficient and it was too slow to respond so which affected the employee’s welfare or well-being.
The survey also found that compared with employees who do not plan to change jobs in the next year, employees who want to switch their jobs have 14 percentage points less in the part of job fulfillment and 11 percentage points less in the part where they can express themselves at work. In the part of whether the salary felt reasonable and fair, they have 9 percentage points less than those who still want to stay at this company. It can be seen that the level of salary does not completely affect the decision of employees to change jobs, but a fair, reasonable evaluation, inclusive, safe, and reliable company environment that allows employees to express themselves is more important.
Work Patterns and Environments Expected by Employees
The epidemic has changed employees’ thinking about work, and the changes of the times have also made modern people’s requirements for the working environment different from those in the past. Driven by the epidemic, more than half of employees around the world believe that they can complete their work remotely, and more than 80 percent of employees expect to maintain a hybrid working model. Two-thirds of employees would consider leaving if the company works in a full-office model.
Employees want to have the opportunity to discuss other topics beyond work with colleagues in the workplace, so they expect that the company can have a more open and safe environment for employees to discuss social or political issues. It is also hoped that the supervisor encourages or guides employees of different positions to cooperate at work, to achieve positive interaction and growth.
Appropriately alleviating gender and generational concerns will also be one of the issues companies must address. In addition to the aforementioned concerns about unequal salary and promotion among female employees, most Gen Z employees aged 18 to 25 are not satisfied with their current job status and are extremely worried that future job opportunities will be replaced by technology. In particular, workers with low demand for professional skills are most worried about future development.
Business Owners Create a Benign Working Environment
How to retain employees in “The Great Resignation”, perhaps a salary increase is an option to give employees substantial recognition, but creating a benign work environment that makes employees want to stay may be a longer-term approach.
- The company can appropriately praise and fairly and reasonably evaluate the performance of employees so that employees can be promoted smoothly, and get a sense of job achievement.
- Companies provide rotation opportunities, allowing employees to try different new things, increase the sense of freshness at work, and have sustainable growth at the same time.
- Companies open remote work or blended working options according to job content, maintaining openness and flexibility to retain good talent.
- Give employees the flexibility, innovation, and stability of jobs. Make clear policies and predictable shift schedules that employees can follow.
- Create an open but rational communication culture, hold appropriate group activities, and establish good organizational interpersonal relationships.
- Be sure to implement the company’s policy plan, so that employees can understand and participate, move forward with the company at ease, and enhance their sense of belonging.
- Confirm whether the company’s welfare policy is complete so that employees can take into account the family, such as sound child care services, growth courses, or psychological counseling.
According to expert forecasts, even if the wave of departures will continue in 2022, the pace will gradually slow down. How enterprises face the changing needs of employees for work, build a reasonable and fair salary environment, allow employees to have a certain degree of work autonomy, and take care of family and life, will test the wisdom of managers.