Whether you call it the Great Resignation, the Big Quit, or the American Job Reshuffle, the challenge is real for companies trying to attract and retain employees. The tumultuous changes due to Covid resulted in a restless workforce that is redefining what they are looking for in their place of employment.
And if they don’t find it – either in their current job or when they apply for a new position – they will move on to the next opportunity.
Consider these statistics:
- In November, a historic 4.5 million workers voluntarily left their place of employment, a whopping “quit rate” of 3% of the entire U.S. workforce.
- Almost half of American workers (48%) are actively job searching or watching for opportunities, according to a Gallup survey.
- A just-released analysis by the MIT Sloan School of Business indicated that a toxic workplace culture was 10 times more important than compensation in predicting employee turnover, making it the biggest factor in pushing employees out the door during this time.
There are ways for companies to combat the mass exodus, according to Dietrich Sauer, Executive of Human Resources at Coconino Community College. It will require looking inward, embracing change and expanding our view of the workforce.
Sauer, an HR professional for almost 25 years, has been presenting to local businesses and organizations recently offering insights on what he calls the “new adventure” in hiring (and keeping) employees.
The key word in this shifting employment landscape is “flexibility.”
Sauer said the Great Resignation is allowing businesses to re-evaluate how workers get the job done. It doesn’t require abandoning the 8-5 schedule or on-site workplaces, as that’s still a core employee set, he said.
But businesses should consider if they have opportunities for remote or hybrid workplaces. Would they benefit from flexible start times (which might also expand hours for customers)? Could some of their needs be fulfilled by gig workers or short-term employees like the “travel nurse” model.
Flexibility also includes expanding the definition of what a diverse workplace might look like. For example, older workers are putting off retirement and about half are planning to work at least part-time after retirement.
“When we talk about diversity and inclusion, the focus tends to be on ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, but we tend to forget about age,” Sauer said. “Our retirees and baby boomers are a wealth of potential and opportunity for employers to tap into.”
Another source of workers that often is overlooked are those with disabilities. Nonprofits like Quality Connections are eager to partner with local businesses to provide opportunities for individuals with physical or developmental disabilities. They often provide support services to ensure successful job placements.
Lastly, businesses are going to need to re-think job descriptions and advertisements and be sure to include location, hours of work, and if there are flexibility options, Sauer said. Not being clear on these items will likely lead to a lot of wasted recruitment time, he warned.
Once a business has a position defined and is ready to get the word out, they should use all the local resources for employment listings. These include: Arizona@Work; Handshake, the recruitment portal for Northern Arizona University students; the Northern Arizona Jobs & Careers group on Facebook; Goodwill of Northern and Central Arizona; and your local Chambers of Commerce.