We’ve all heard the last year referred to as “the Great Resignation,” and it has left many business owners and leaders feeling defeated. One leader even said to me, “If everyone is resigning, maybe I should just resign myself and stop caring so much.”
But in that conversation, we went a bit deeper and started exploring what is causing people to resign. Yes, the pandemic has undoubtedly changed the landscape of work, but it has done something even more powerful: it has forced all of us to look at the world through an entirely new lens.
Personally and professionally, we are navigating the world completely differently. The pandemic has reminded us that nothing is certain; life is short. This has caused employees to ask themselves – and their employers – deep, probing questions:
- What do I gain by sharing physical space with my colleagues?
- What is the difference whether I work in two-hour chunks vs. an 8am - 5pm block, if I get all my work done on time?
- Is what I am being paid worth the stress my job creates?
- And probably the deepest question of all, what do I really enjoy doing?
Individuals are awakening to what could be, not what just is. They are challenging convention, not because they want to, but because they must. I have been referring to this mind shift as the Great Awakening.
While the business owner I referred to earlier felt resigned in the face of the “Great Resignation,” I have seen some employers lean into the concept of their employees’ Great Awakening. These leaders do not see their employees’ deep, probing questions as a challenge to their authority; rather, they see it as an opportunity to better optimize their talent. And they have asked themselves similar questions:
- What infrastructure would we need if we didn’t have a physical office?
- What would our culture look like if we don’t all work at the same time?
- What investments do we need to make to ensure our team has good mental health?
Chief among these questions is “What will keep my employees engaged and fulfilled, so they are happy to stay at my company?”
These forward-thinking leaders realize that if you measure what drives individuals, you will be able to determine what they need from their job. And when your employees’ needs are being met, they will be more engaged, happier, and productive – even in these stressful, uncertain times.
Leaders who have made a conscious decision to invest in their talent strategy over the last two years are now experiencing their own Great Awakening and have generally dodged the Great Resignation bullet.
And if reading this is your own Great Awakening, have no fear. It’s not too late to get started.
Contact Bobbi Kelly, Director-in-Charge of Kreischer Miller’s Talent Advisory practice, at Email for a conversation about how we can help you determine the way forward for your company’s talent strategy.
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