June 21, 2021 • By the New Iron Blogger
A “Great Resignation is coming,” according to Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M, and many economists and labor experts agree. The quit rate for April (those leaving their jobs) was the highest in 20 years, 24% higher than pre-pandemic, and it shows no signs of slowing. Moreover, vaccines are fueling new freedom to make the career changes that many employees wanted to make pre-pandemic, and others feel they need to make now.
Additionally, in some sectors, the demand for labor is so high and supply so low that the market has sharply shifted back into the Candidate Driven mode that existed pre-pandemic. Only now, it is far more heavily weighted on the candidate side.
We see it ourselves here at New Iron Solutions in our interactions with clients and candidates. Current trends and surveys all indicate that there is a substantial shift happening in the workforce. As a result, many people who retained their jobs through the pandemic are questioning how their companies handled the problem, how they were treated, their work-life balance, burnout, and are now more than ever ready to make a change.
There are many demographic, psychographic, and geographic shifts also compounding the problem. The unemployment rate is dropping while the number of firms unable to fill roles is increasing. Thus, it is not just “labor sitting on the sidelines collecting unemployment,” as many suspect. If it were, the unemployment rate would be higher or growing. With the unemployment rate dropping while the number of firms unable to fill jobs growing, this suggests a shifting marketplace. Talent will continue to reject open positions by industry sectors as they find more favorable jobs in other preferred industries.
Some surveys state that as much as 25% to even 50% or more current employees are prepared to leave their current employer. Current employers are also concerned, with 47% of business leaders saying they worry about keeping employees engaged and productive – as well as just keeping them.
What are employers to do?
First, lean into the problem, and talk to your people. According to Liz Kislik and her Workplace Wisdom Blog, it may be time to have “Stay Interviews… A thoughtful, constructive process of checking in with your people can help you identify who might be a flight risk and what leverage you have to change their minds. Plus, it can be fuel for organizational improvement as well as preventative if you take the opportunity to express how your employees and your business can grow together.”
Second, when hiring, we cannot look at candidates the same way as we did pre-pandemic. According to Michael Maggiotto, SHRM-SCP and Head of HR Advisory at BEST Human Capital & Advisory Group, “To meet the demands that this new economy has created, we must hire differently, be open to change, and focus on successful behaviors.” Thus, long gaps in employment should not raise red flags during this transition period, but candidates should adequately explain how they occupied their time during such gap periods
According to Maggiotto, “Transferrable skills will be critical, and hiring managers will have to differentiate between what is teachable and what is not. For example, you can teach people the product or service your business sells, but you should not have to teach people the motivating behaviors that lead to success. They should bring those with them.”
Lastly, the companies that differentiate their recruiting by focusing on behavior traits, competencies, and transferable skills will be the winners during this transition from an employer-driven to a candidate-driven market. In addition, HR departments that partner strategically with executive leadership will adapt their total rewards program to retain and obtain critical talent, and this partnership will be vital going forward.
The Great Resignation may indeed be occurring, or it could be a brief period resulting from pandemic-related “burnout.” Regardless, use this time wisely to prepare and continually improve to make your company one where people want to stay and grow – pandemic or not.
The Answer for Today and Tomorrow
New Iron Solutions realizes that it is more important than ever not just to fill a position but fill it with a candidate that will take your company to the next level. It may be time to bring on an experienced partner to help you navigate this new age as the cost of IT employee turnover and missed opportunities are just too high to ignore. We help drive the achievement of our client company’s strategic goals by identifying middle management to C-Level leadership professionals. They align with the culture, behaviors, and results valued by your organization.