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The Great Resignation vs The Great Migration

Stas Kulesh
Stas Kulesh Follow
Dec 10, 2021 · 6 mins read
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You have likely heard about The Great Resignation. If not, The Great Resignation is an ongoing trend seeing over 3.4% of the US workforce leaving their jobs every single month. While the word ‘trend’ makes it seem fake, this trend could not be more real if it tried.

This trend has seen companies, such as Amazon, losing more than a third of their workforce every year. This has been a domino effect causing employers to ramp up hiring like never before. Even popular social media platforms, such as TikTok, are jumping on this trend with the trending hashtag being #quitmyjob.

At first, people rushed to blame this outrageous quit rate on the Pandemic. However, many others believe that there is something else going on. This trend has proven to be enormous. Now, there is likely no going back with workers finding a new sense of mobility in their day-to-day lives.

Let’s take a look at a few basic facts. Nowadays, over 45% of employees are working remotely. On top of that, 25% of employees are working remotely full time. This means that changing jobs is really as simple as getting a new email address.

In many cases, the only opportunity to really grow is to leave considering that only 11% of companies offer career programs for their employees. Studies have shown that US companies spend only 32% of their whole payroll on benefits for their employees. Because of this, many are now redesigning them to improve education, healthcare, and flexibility.

Today, only around 18% of companies actively optimize and manage workloads in order to destress their employees. Then, only 13% survey employees to find out what they need to thrive in their work environment. This begs the question: What is really going on?

Perhaps this is not The Great Resignation, it is The Great Migration.

Employees are now migrating from bad jobs where companies don’t seem to care to great jobs where companies really care about them. For many of these workers, this means moving to companies that allow for opportunities such as promotion, growth, and even a new industry. Often, these companies are referred to as ‘Irresistible Organizations’.

As it turns out, roughly one in 7 are there today. This is not something that seems to be going away. Companies have been debating for years to find a solution to employee retention and engagement.

However, it has always been put on the backburner as something HR should worry about. Nowadays though, this has been raised to a CEO-level issue. This has now created a whole new era of leaders learning to actually take care of their employees.

In the current day and age, over 90% of all US-based jobs, including truck drivers, are service-centered jobs. This means that they add value through their consideration, care, ingenuity, or human touch. Regardless of what industry you’re in, every company is formed around the people business.

With a US workforce of around 160 million people and 14 million jobs open, you are already missing roughly one in ten workers for your company. Research from Citibank has predicted that as many as ten million new jobs will be created from Build Back Better and US Infrastructure programs. This could lower this statistic to one in eight.

To add to all of the above information, the financial return on investment in people has skyrocketed higher than ever before. In Q4 alone, is planning to spend around $4 Billion on hiring to maintain their on-time delivery brand. Improving retention isn’t even on their to-do list.

If they can afford to keep this up, so can you.

So, what does this mean for the future?

Basically, what this all means is that you have to begin running your company as if every employee has one foot out of the door at all times. It is more important now than ever to ramp up your Employee Experience program, invest in career pathways, listen to and support people, and support internal staff growth.

New solutions such as Capability Academies, Talent Marketplace, Learning in the Flow of Work, and Talent Intelligence Platforms are so hot right now for these exact reasons. People will just ‘mobilize’ straight out of the door if you don’t have an adequate internal strategy for mobility and development. When The Great Resignation suddenly arose, people thought it was temporary.

However, it has proven to be a permanent change in our workforce.

What Should You Do?

The first thing you need to do is take employee experience seriously. This has to be treated as more than a simple fad and instead treated like what it is, an existential change in the way people are managed. Luckily, we have an entire assessment and body of research as an aid.

Next, you should focus your attention on your employee brand. If your company isn’t well-positioned or people are leaving, this is because your pipeline is weak. Remember that being able to recruit is reliant on your company’s reputation.

Facebook has been under fire for some time now due to its behavior. Now, they are finding it incredibly hard to hire because of this.

Up next, you need to get serious about facilitated internal mobility. One of the largest healthcare providers in the US, Bon Secours Mercy Health, is now creating data-driven career pathways in order to develop new skills in patient care, telemedicine, leadership, and informatics. It is so important to take a seat and identify future needs.

It is equally important to create career pathways to drive people there. In this case, hiring simply will not work.

You also need to build a Talent Intelligence strategy. You’re essentially flying blind without sufficient data about the jobs, roles, and skills you need in the future. In this case, a whole new domain of HR is going to be needed: the “skills and job architecture” team. Luckily, we can help with this.

Last but not least, make sure you bring your beloved CEO and CFO along on the mission. CEOs usually understand that talent is their #1 priority. Now though, it is time to put your money right where your mouth it. It is time to invest in well-designed and tailored programs, digital workplace tools, and end-to-end wellbeing programs.

While The Great Resignation has definitely shaken things up, it is possible to use it to your advantage. As we enter 2022, it is time to take the leap to focus on your people strategy first. Then, you will notice that your company will begin to thrive.

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Stas Kulesh
Stas Kulesh
Written by Stas Kulesh
Karma bot founder. I blog, play fretless guitar, watch Peep Show and run a digital design/dev shop in Auckland, New Zealand. Parenting too.