Especially for companies who dealt with the great resignation…
And yes, let’s not forget to mention this fantastic song from the 60s, written and performed by Bob Dylan, focusing on, well, let’s say, the changing times. Hence the title. Yet, the changes I want to talk about are the ones that were triggered by COVID-19 — focusing on how it affected a lot of organisations by creating a trend: The Great Resignation.
Wikipedia explains it clearly: ‘it is an ongoing economic trend in which employees have voluntarily resigned from their jobs en masse, beginning in early 2021, primarily in the United States. Possible causes include wage stagnation amid the rising cost of living, economic freedom provided by COVID-19 stimulus payments, long-lasting job dissatisfaction, and safety concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘In short, due to the corona, people were forced to stay at home, and they used that time to think about what they wanted and needed — business and private.
What can we learn from this? Was it necessary? Or do we need to prevent this from happening? I mean, we can’t stop something we have no control or knowledge of, but … we can do something about the general happiness of employees and employers. Just in case…
A MESSAGE FOR THE ORGANISATIONS
Let’s be honest: people who took the chance to leave probably wanted to go anyway; they just postponed it to ‘when the time is right’, and the COVID-19 pandemic was exactly the sign they were waiting for. As an organisation, you can be mad and disappointed at people leaving you, decide that they weren’t the right fit and replace them with someone else (if you can find someone ;)). Or, you can be critical of yourself and ask this: what can I learn from this?
There is a reason why people leave. It doesn’t matter what that reason is, either the nature of the job, the working culture or the management; if it’s important to them, then it’s the right reason. If you want to keep people, you listen to them and give them the right environment to do their job properly. In our experience, people are realistic and not that needy; they just want to be themselves and have an environment that respects and supports them. Ask them what they want and need, and give it to them. Of course, needless to say, to keep it real. But, trust us, if people feel they are treated with respect and let them feel to be themselves, they really need little, and it’s realistic to give them whatever they ask. People who ask you for impossible things usually want compensation for their unhappiness at your organisation or on different fronts, which is ‘treating the symptoms instead of the cause’ and eventually doesn’t do any good in the long term. Most importantly, don’t judge people’s wants and needs, even if you can’t give them what they need at that time or don’t understand their needs. Just listening and having an unbiased conversation can do miracles.
It is easier said than done, but if you look at it from a different perspective, you can say that people who left were probably not motivated anymore, and it made room for the right people who would be a better fit for your organisation. If you, a.k.a. the organisation, still have trouble finding new people, then maybe it is an idea to look at your working conditions and make some changes. Don’t be afraid to be critical and ask, ‘maybe there is something I can do differently.’ And sometimes, there is really nothing you can do about people wanting to try something else.
A MESSAGE FOR THE EMPLOYEES
Some employers honestly give a lot about their people. They do the best they can with the resources they have. Usually, they have a fighter’s mentality and try to protect their people. For example, you can be upset with a micromanager or … try to understand them. Perfectionism can be annoying, but it can also mean a manager experiences pressure and doesn’t want to pass this on to their people, so they feel responsible for everything in an organisation. It’s not even about you.
Of course, if you want to try something else, just do it. If you tried the best you could at your work and still believe you need to change your environment, go for it! Sometimes, people grow apart, and that’s okay. Sometimes, organisations exist for too long, and after a while, they’re in a bit of a rut, and more significant changes are required to realise that things need to change.
Employees and employers must be honest about their needs and expectations and respect each other. You can disagree with someone, yet be respectful. Differences are okay and mean growth for the opposite party. It is that simple.