What Does the Great Resignation Mean for Employers?

Work Life Balance

We have heard so much about people leaving their jobs that the mass exodus has been called The Great Resignation. So why did it happen, and what does it mean for employers?


The COVID pandemic of the last two years has led people to reassess their lives, including their jobs or careers. Many people have decided that life is too precious to stay at a job that makes them miserable. They are considering things like low pay, toxic work environments, the feeling of being unappreciated, not cared about, and general dissatisfaction with their work/life balance. 


While some people argue that is the nature of “work,” those choosing to leave their jobs have decided that work doesn’t have to be “work.”  A saying goes, “if you enjoy what you do, you’ll never ‘work’ another day in your life.”


The frustration began over the pandemic when employees, especially retail workers, were told they had to risk exposure to COVID and go to work. Unfortunately, many businesses struggled to survive through the pandemic, and the stress of keeping a business afloat led some business managers and owners to demand more of their employees. Many even slashed salaries to make up for the downturn in business. High stress, the risk of illness, and less pay were a bad combination that led many to walk away from their jobs.


What does this mean for employers?


The Great Resignation was so widespread that it has led to a ripple through the economy that the United States Department of Labor said it would be a while before the economy fully recovers. It has also led some employers to reevaluate their compensation packages, benefits, and even employee preferences regarding certain things, such as how often, if ever, they are going to commute to an office setting.


While remote work isn’t an option for many, such as retail workers, tradespeople, Police, and Fire Services, those who work in an office quickly learned that they can perform all of their functions from home. 


Employees are Demanding the Ability to Work from Home on a Regular Basis


The biggest question many employees have is that after two years of working remotely, why do they have to go back into the office all of a sudden? There are many reasons people want to work from home, including the convenience of not having to commute, being available for young children when needed, and not putting themselves at risk for COVID or any number of other viruses that have been going around.


Many businesses did not allow for remote work pre-COVID, but the pandemic forced their hand, and many employers realized that they could not put the genie back in the bottle. Many employers are allowing people to work from home a few days a week, and some have even allowed their employees to work from home on a permanent basis requiring them to come to an office, perhaps, once or twice a month, for specific purposes such as meetings or training sessions.


Employees are Looking for a Better Work/Life Balance


The pandemic forced many people to reevaluate their lives completely. This reevaluation was prominent among those who have lost loved ones or those who were sick enough to be hospitalized. They don’t want to go back to a job where they put in 60 hours a week and only get to see their children for a short time before going to bed at night. As a result, the concept of “working to live” instead of “living to work” has grown, and people are looking for jobs where employers recognize this and provide relief from the long hours that many employers demand.


Critics of The Great Resignation say that people don’t want to work. However, if you ask most people who left their jobs, they will tell you they want to work and love their chosen careers. They just don’t want to wait for retirement to start to enjoy themselves.


Employers have listened


According to Indeed.com, job listings for Human Resources have grown 128.5% since the pandemic. Many businesses have taken this trend very seriously. They are bulking up their companies with the people who can design and implement Human Resource policies that strike a fair balance between employer requirements and employee demands.


Office work, at least for the near future, will look very different than before March of 2020, and like anything else, the best results occur when each side listens to the other and agreements or even compromises can be made.


The upside of The Great Resignation is that many businesses are reevaluating their corporate culture and realizing that improvements can be made, and happy employees lead to a more successful business.