By Stacy M. Brown, Senior National Correspondent for NNPA Newswire
The pandemic spurred the Great Resignation phenomenon, and it is still ongoing.
Many workers have continued to quit and change jobs, and the pandemic has reportedly changed what workers care about and what they expect from their workplace – leading to a disconnect between managers and workers.
GenZ and younger millennials are talking about how they want their workplace to look – and feel – something no other generation has done.
“Many GenZ workers got their first job during the pandemic, so they expect flexibility and remote work as a default option. Additionally, they view jobs as ‘experiences’ that they can exit when they no longer need them or feel disconnected from them,” said Dr. Ximena Hartsock, Founder of BuildWithin.
This DC-based company identifies, trains and manages technically-oriented apprentices.
“And they’ve always faced a ‘buyer’s market’ in terms of jobs, which has led to job hopping that is unlikely to go away and is putting pressure on employers to lead with an employee-centric and values-based leadership culture,” Hartsock pointed out.
“This new generation is putting the necessary pressure on employers to make the workplace more empathetic. Perhaps the Great Resignation will transition to the Great Enlightenment.”
Mark Pierce, CEO of Cloud Peak Law Group, said he believes employees don’t feel valued or that their work location puts them at a disadvantage. He said that was a major contribution to the Great Resignation.
“Whether employees are working in person, fully remotely, or hybrid, it’s important to ensure everyone feels welcome and valued in their roles,” Pierce said.
He found that focusing on corporate culture and employee autonomy are solutions.
“It can be easier to focus on employees who are working in the same way that you as a leader do most often. If you’re in the office a lot, you’re likely to have more exposure to employees who work in the office frequently, and vice versa if you work remotely,” Pierce noted.
He added that micromanagement is amplified when done remotely, making it even more onerous for employees than when working in the office, where employers do it in person.
“Giving employees autonomy shows that you, as a leader, trust them to get the job done without having to intervene,” Pierce said.
“It also gives you the freedom to focus on the most important tasks instead of just monitoring employees.”
A Pew Research Center survey found that low wages, lack of advancement opportunities, and a feeling of disrespect in the workplace are the top reasons Americans have quit their jobs in the past year.
The survey, released in March 2022, also found that those who quit and are now employed elsewhere are more likely to say their current job offers better pay, more opportunity for advancement, and more work-life balance and flexibility.
“Some factors are driving the Great Resignation, but one that stands out is that most workplaces are simply not doing as much as they could to support the health and well-being of their employees,” advised Logan Mallory, vice president at motivation.
This company helps employees stay engaged remotely and in the office.
“This means offering mental health support and workplace options that support overall health and well-being, such as: E.g. flexible working hours or the possibility to work remotely,” explained Mallory.
“When employees see that their employer genuinely cares about them as individuals, they become much happier, more engaged and less likely to quit.”
Pavel Stepanov, the CEO of Virtudeskadded that COVID has left many workers questioning what it means to have meaning in their lives.
Stepanov said Generation Z, a group with a different mindset and culture, has entered the workforce.
In addition, the cost of living is rising and housing and home ownership are becoming increasingly unaffordable for young people.
“So many factors contribute to the Great Resignation. However, this is no longer just a short-lived trend. What looks like a long-lasting change is changing the culture and the business environment,” Stepanov explained.
Gen Z culture has also proven to be very different from Gen X and Millennials, where they strive to give more meaning to what they do and strive to have a powerful impact on the world.”
“This, coupled with the hardship of COVID over the past two years, is leading people to demand greater job fulfillment when entering or participating in the workforce. People want to stand out, be different and make a difference where they are, and many jobs were designed to not instill that sense of expediency.”