One of the greatest impacts of the pandemic was the space it cleared for reflection on what’s important. We were all reminded of the non-negotiables for happiness: our health and time spent with family and friends. The deck was also cleared to reflect on what we do for work (how and where). It became clear that the way we work could be re-evaluated and re-negotiated — there’s no such thing as a set system. Everything is a discussion; all can change!
What the phenomenon economists are calling the ‘great resignation’ has taken hold. Initially, countries followed the normal pattern – when in high unemployment risk, quit rates are reduced as people seek security. But as the economy has opened this has reversed. A year and a half of stress, anxiety, soul searching, and burnout means people have taken a step back and reassessed their lives. Reflecting on roles, whether they are valued, and whether their skills are put to good use, people have emerged with a stronger sense of what they want from work and what they are willing to accept.
According to a recent survey, 48% of men and 45% of women intend to quit in the next year; pre-pandemic this was 27.5%. Reasons for resigning were a desire for flexibility and higher salaries for both men and women. Other reasons included better work culture, not wanting to work for their manager, and seeking a better job title. Two-thirds stated they had experienced burnout during their careers and 80% had experienced this in the last 12 months.
According to Gartner Headlines about the Great Resignation abound, in the US at least, turnover risk varies widely among functions, industries, and locations, and it’s certainly not all about money. The tumult in labor markets today is partly a phenomenon unique to the times: 65% of employees say the pandemic has made them rethink the place that their job should have in their lives.
There are many reasons why we think that these mass resignations are occurring now. First of all, the pandemic has certainly had a huge influence on this upheaval.
A survey done by McKinsey also revealed the most common reasons cited by those handing in their notices. At the top of the list are the classics: “Lack of career development/advancement” and “inadequate compensation”. The importance of a good boss is also highlighted, however, with the third most common response being uncaring or uninspiring leaders. A quarter of respondents said that a lack of workplace flexibility was also a factor – an issue acknowledged with varying degrees of enthusiasm and success since swathes of the global workforce realized that working from home was possible during the lockdown.
Having a blanket policy for how, where, and when all employees work, used to be standard. Now it’s necessary to rethink these policies entirely. After experiencing a different reality, the daily commute is now seen as altogether optional for workers across many industries.
Everyone is doing the math about what they will gain from going to the office relative to the sacrifices involved. The calculations are favouring an employee-centric, flexible set-up In the UK, the right to work from home and request flexible hours could soon be enshrined by law. A bill was introduced in September that would guarantee an employee’s right to request flexible working conditions — regardless of how long they’ve worked for their employer
For some industries, the pandemic was the busiest it had ever been. The Harvard Business Journal noted industries in particular saw incredibly high-stress levels and a large number of resignations as a result, “3.6% more health care employees quit their jobs than in the previous year, and in tech, resignations increased by 4.5%. In general, we found that resignation rates were higher among employees who worked in fields that had experienced extreme increases in demand due to the pandemic.”
Support for well-being is also becoming a critical factor for employer branding and retention rates. Fulfillment, work-life balance, physical & mental wellness — all of these have been moved up on the priority list of employees today.
So, how can businesses improve employee well-being and thus improve employee retention in the wake of The Great Resignation?
Organisations are finding that their top talent isn’t quitting to kick back and relax: they’re in search of something bigger, brighter, and better. According to the researchers at McKinsey, 70% of employees expect work to contribute to their sense of purpose—leaving positions marred by combing, compiling, and codifying data unfilled.
For a professional, these types of tasks include hours of spreadsheet sleuthing, manually migrating data between software, or panning through a mind-numbing array of rows and columns. Workers are burnt out from the mindless legwork to accomplish.
Automation helps tap the spirit of these go-getters by cutting the repetitive, the humdrum, and the oh-so-yawn-worthy tasks from a job description. Nearly 9 out of 10 organizations are using automation to untether their employees from the mundane, shifting the responsibility for data entry and processing over to automated software. The strategy is a boon for companies that want to give their ace performers the leeway to focus on more creative work—the type of purposeful role that top talent will stick with.
Cloud automation makes hybrid work feasible lifting the pressure off management to cater for the employees’ strong preference for hybrid working. Automation does not need to supplant human work but can complement it greatly. For example, customer service departments struggling to build their team numbers back up are using chatbots and virtual agents to shoulder some of the load. These robotic workers can quickly answer easy questions like password resets and order tracking inquiries while freeing human staffers to field more challenging issues. Similarly, many organizations are turning to low-code: platforms that transform traditionally complex duties into simpler drag-and-drop, push-button tasks.
At AMO, we create custom-made automation solutions with a user-centric approach in not only designing the solution but also ensuring that the end solutions are intuitive and easy to use, thus uplifting the employees’ experience. From finance, and procurement to IT to HR, our experts have designed automation solutions that help our customers’ employees to complete their work efficiently and effectively. If your company is experiencing signs of brain drain and you want greater insight into how to improve business operations and performance, get in touch with our team!