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Have you heard about the Great Resignation?

Chances are that your office has not been immune to the major shifts that are currently happening in the labor market. Across the country, employees are packing up their cubes and re-evaluating.

From April 2021 to July 2021, nearly 11 million Americans left their jobs. And the rate of job change has not improved since then. In fact, September 2021 reported the highest level of resignations on record for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with 4.4 million people leaving their jobs during that month alone.

What is prompting this mass exodus of employees?

Employees Are Reprioritizing

For all of us, the pandemic has seriously reframed how we think about the world – from how and where we work to how we take care of our families and what we value. It has spurred a collective reprioritization and revaluation of our lives and skills. So, what have we learned about ourselves and what we are looking for that is leading so many to seek out new opportunities?

For many, the prospect of giving up telework and returning to the office is spurring them to seek out greener (more flexible) pastures. Employees from around the country have spent the last two years adjusting to working from home and aren’t eager to give it up. 40% of respondents from a recent GCO survey indicated that they would consider quitting their job if they could not work remotely at least part-time. After months of seeing the immense value of full-time telework for their lives – from the ability to better manage care for a child or aging parent, to no longer wasting hours of their lives in traffic going to and from work, to simply being able to do laundry or take the dog for a walk during the workday – they are being forced to abandon it all for the sake of in-office communication.

For others, their values in their personal life have changed. They value the time they’ve gotten back from not having to commute that they can now use to spend with their families or doing the things that bring them joy in life. They enjoy the flexibility to work from the beach or while visiting with family and the savings they get from not commuting which they can translate into anything from investing in their retirement to investing in their hobbies.

Employees are burned out

In addition to these past two years shaking up everyone’s priorities, they have also been utterly exhausting. From the pandemic to human rights issues, the last two years have drained everyone’s energy. Despite the chaotic nature of the world around us, people have had to continue doing their work, and often working longer hours while teleworking than in the office. And for too many, the last two years have been about nothing more than survival.

Considering the Great Resignation, how can you develop your retention strategies and keep employees on your staff?

  1. Telework option
  2. Flexible scheduling
  3. Compressed work weeks
  4. Flexible PTO

How can flexible options serve as retention strategies?

  1. They demonstrate trust for employees
  2. They give people needed flexibility for their individualized needs
  3. It is a selling point for recruiting talent
  4. It can help reduce burnout

By offering flexible options, employers can help their employees recharge and work as their best, most productive selves. No one is a good employee when they are burned out. Giving people the option to telework or adjust their schedule to fit their needs and explore their passions outside of work are just some of the ways that employers can build a loyal workforce ready for the long-term. Want to learn more about flexible work options? Check out resources here.


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