The conferences and organization I present keynotes and training at tend to “peel back” the curtain and share information that would otherwise not be available. People share with me their happiness of having a job, the painful daily uncertainty of business, a new variant, remote, in-person, hybrid, leaving their job for another opportunity and more. They continue to share. “We’ve been stripped of some life’s pleasures like attending concerts, eating inside at a restaurant w/o a mask, traveling without restrictions, school, mask/no mask, to vaccinate or not and even family gatherings.”
The pandemic gave everyone an opportunity to evaluate their lot in life. We had ample time to ponder things that we simply put off or didn’t have time to delve into. We saw things clearly, or at least clearer than before, from both a personal and a professional vantage point. The messages regarding work were clear, crystal clear! It’s time to consider a job change. The question is to what degree will people quit?
Most employers are aware of the changing tide and are ramping up efforts to retain talent. They see the writing on the wall and are worried that you are going to flee for another opportunity. They are right. But why? Why now? In part, the time we’ve had to evaluate helped us and hurt employers. And, remote options opened up a whole new world offering new perspectives to work, productivity and mental health.
1. Mental Health.
Our connective and individual minds were/are fried by the pandemic. And, we each have our own stories of struggle, tragedy and triumph. Plus, we paid a price beyond the almost 700k who have sadly lost their lives. Our mental health was pushed, prodded and perpetually tested and it weakened our resolve as we were focused on survival. Coming out of the pandemic shows us that it is going to take months and years to recover our mental health as a tremendous toll was taken.
2. Show Me the Money.
It’s a prime employee market right now and you have considerable power. Use it! Look for greener pastures if you require it. Jobs are plentiful and opportunities abound if you’re willing to put the work in to find the right fit. Organizations need you and are willing to be flexible to some demands. Advantage-you! Plus, a desire to work for an organization with a public conscience and desire to do good outside of the workplace is important to many as well.
3. Freedom and Flexibility.
This was a chant I have heard over and over and over again. Some organizations are rigid and insist that all staff be in-person every day. Others, offer remote or hybrid options to fit individual needs. That’s new and a direct effect of the time we spent proving that working from home works and productivity stays the same or even increases! Taking this away will cause many staff to look for another job and the time, effort and money it cost to replace them is enormous. Once again, we have virtually the entire workforce reassessing their feelings about work.
We all understand the crappy feelings the pandemic gave us and many are in search of inner happiness. New employment might be a piece of the answer. Money, freedom/flexibility and mental health were mentioned often when I listened to participants at the events I presented at. And, happiness was at the forefront too; from a crummy manager to an inflexible workplace, perceived poor pay and substandard workplace communications. People shared a feeling that their employer did not really care about “me.” These reasons made it easy to consider other work options as happiness reigned supreme and a balanced life essential
5. It’s time for a change.
These words have been echoed many times at the conferences I spoke at. Individually and in groups, folks have shared with me an optimism about their futures and the many opportunities for employment, freedom to work remotely and even better pay. As one attendee put it, “There’s a mindset at work that is about individuals first and employers second. I find this exhilarating and freeing.”
Moving forward into 2022, I can tell you with some assurance that 2021 is going to follow us from a work perspective. People are focused on themselves, their friends and their family. Organizations that understand this will be in a much healthier position to attract and retain staff.