Photo illustrating great resignation takeaways

While the pandemic may not have been the root cause for the 2021’s mass Great Resignation, it did provide ideal conditions that allowed the American labor force to begin transitioning from unsavory work environments.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job resignation hit an all-time high in August 2021, with 2.9 percent of the workforce calling it quits. Here are a few take-aways from the Great Resignation for employers facing a staffing shortage in the new year.

Flexibility Matters

Now that employees have experienced remote work, more and more workers are showing a preference for hybrid work schedules. Reduced commute time, increased time for family or leisure activities, and the escape from toxic work environments are perks that most employees are not willing to part with post-pandemic. Employees who transitioned to remote work during the pandemic are proving that they’re willing to change jobs if it means maintaining a remote status.

Work Has to be Meaningful

More and more, employees are seeking out jobs that give them a sense of purpose. Today’s workforce is increasingly drawn to types of work that they feel passionate about. Finding a sense of purpose on the job increases happiness and provides an overall sense of satisfaction––making work feel like, well, not work.

Quality of Life is Core

Employees were battling burnout long before the pandemic. However, the pandemic provided an opportunity for a substantial portion of the workforce to pause and reflect on their physical and mental health. The conclusion for many was that stress and long hours were having a negative impact on their wellbeing.

But not all employees were able to achieve a positive work-life balance during the pandemic. For some, the initial sense of burnout was accelerated because the lines between professional and personal life were blurred even more. Low-wage workers and essential workers in the healthcare and hospitality industries who’ve never had remote privileges began walking away in droves.

Compensation Packages are Outdated

For many employees, their wages have not kept up with the cost of living and inflation. Yet it’s not only lagging salaries that are to blame for staff attrition. Additional benefits like childcare assistance and mental health resources are also luring workers away from their current positions.

Now that the market is saturated with job openings, the staffing shortage is giving job applicants the upper hand when higher salaries are a priority. It’s even an opportune situation for the traditional employee with an entrepreneurial spirit to strike out on their own.

On the flip side, what is attracting employees to jobs are features like positive work culture, enhanced benefits, and work-life balance. But the victory isn’t only for employees. The staffing shake-up can be a great opportunity for business owners to figure out how to run their businesses better––to attract and retain top talent for the long haul.

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