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The Great Reshuffle: How To Adapt to Today’s Changing Work Environment

by Michael Pettengill on May 19, 2022 8:26:40 AM

If you’re like most businesses, you’ve probably noticed new – or missing – employees. Change is literally afoot in the American workplace. In fact, nearly 3% of the workforce quit their jobs in October. But employees aren’t simply quitting to stop working; they’re rethinking what they want and looking for new opportunities that can meet them. And it’s not just long-time workers jumping between employers; even people newly hired just a few months ago are quitting for better opportunities. Amid this great reshuffle, what can you do to retain your staff?

While it can be overwhelming to focus on your business while also trying to keep up with the changing demands of today’s workforce, learning more about the current environment brings you one step closer to becoming an employer of choice. To get you started, here, we’ll share the biggest reasons people are choosing to make a change and the steps you can take to encourage them to stay.

What is the great reshuffle?

COVID-19 affected the workforce in significant ways. One of the biggest impacts was that it caused many employees to rethink their lives. What workers discovered? They want something more fulfilling and better suited to their values and life choices, and they’re moving around the job market to find it. In addition, the rise of remote work has made the great reshuffling even easier because new roles have opened up that were previously geographically off-limits

Why are employees quitting?

During the pandemic, some people left their jobs to take care of their families or to retire early. But many didn’t leave the workforce at all. Instead, They quit to find more of what they want out of work. And the top things they’re seeking?

  1. A better work-life balance. More employees now want to fit work into their lives instead of the other way around. In a LinkedIn report, 63% call a work-life balance the top priority when choosing a new job.
  2. To start their own businesses. A significant number of those leaving jobs opted to go into business for themselves. Last year, there were 5.4 million applications for new business formations.
  3. A new career. Many of those looking for a role want to pursue new career paths altogether, especially those in high burn-out roles in the healthcare and hospitality industries.  
  4. Following personal passions. A large number of workers are seeking more fulfillment. Whether they’re leaving their job to monetize passion projects or for a role that allows them to make a difference, they want their work to support their core values.
  5. Remote work. After getting used to working from home during the pandemic, many employees don’t want to give up remote work. A ZipRecruiter survey from September revealed that 54% of workers want a job that lets them work from home.
  6. Higher pay. With a 7% jump year-over-year in the consumer price index and wages raising only 4.7%, some are looking for a job that can keep pace. In one survey, 60% cited compensation and benefits as the most important draw when seeking a new job.
  7. A compatible culture. Employees are increasingly looking for a work environment that promotes their happiness and satisfaction. Job posts that mention culture get 67% more likes, shares, comments, and clicks compared to average posts.

How can I retain workers during the great reshuffle?

With unemployment at or near historic lows, there’s no doubt that workers have a lot of bargaining power right now. And that’s causing employers to have to rethink how to incentivize employees. Here are the top things you can do to help retain workers during the great reshuffle.

  • Offer flexibility. Flexibility is here to stay post-pandemic. Employees want work arrangements that match their preferences. That may mean a fully-remote job, hybrid schedule, four-day workweek, or other structure that allows them freedom in work hours and location. 
  • Facilitate connection. Even though employees may not be in the office on a regular basis, connection with their coworkers is still critical. Provide opportunities for workers to bond, even virtually, to enhance camaraderie, a sense of belonging, and satisfaction. Making use of different team building strategies and employee engagement tools can be a great way to get started.
  • Provide opportunities for development and advancement. Many workers felt their progression plateaued during COVID-19 – or even experienced a setback. To boost retention, ensure workers know their career path and provide them training, continuous learning, and mentorship options to help them reach their potential. Even in a more flexible work environment, training can be made simple with tools like a learning management system (LMS).
  • Provide perks that matter: Higher salaries, performance bonuses, and stock equity must be addressed but there are also other non-cash perks that matter. For example, to appeal to workers’ desire for a better work-life balance, think about offering unlimited PTO. According to MetLife’s 2020 Employee Benefits Survey, 70% of employees want unlimited PTO.
  • Promote your values. Employees, especially younger workers, want a job that aligns with their values and gives them meaning and purpose. While your product or service may not directly change the world, you can still promote your organization’s social purpose, connections with the community, and volunteer initiatives that can help them feel like they’re making a difference and benefitting society at large.
  • Focus on employee well-being. Employees want to work for a company that listens and cares about them. In fact, 42% of employees want their employers to invest in mental health and wellness. Show you are invested in improving workers’ well-being by offering access to therapists, coaching, and wellness and meditation apps.

How to Best Retain Workers Today

After two-and-a-half years, the pandemic continues to affect the employer-employee relationship, and the great reshuffle is just the latest development. It can be overwhelming to navigate all the changes, which ones your business needs to respond to, and how you can be in the best position to retain workers over the long term. 

To learn more about how to positively impact attitudes in your workplace, read our next article on how to keep your workforce engaged right now. If you’re looking for more hands-on help with managing the changing workforce, our certified HR professionals can work with you to develop strategies to boost morale – and retention – in your workplace.

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