The ‘Great Resignation’ and the ‘Great Reflection’ — And What it All Means for Industrial Staffing

You’ve probably heard a lot about the Great Resignation, where a large number of employees voluntarily quit their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. And while these resignations are continuing, a new era has been ushered in: the Great Reflection.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, more than 47 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs. The pandemic was immediately blamed, but as it turned out, the Great Resignation has been a continuing trend throughout the last decade.

Yes, with more and more people working from home and/or in different shifts and capacities during the pandemic, many people rethought what ‘work’ meant to them.

But this change in mentality has been going on for a while. The way today’s job-seeker thinks about work and career is far different than it was 20 years ago.

Everybody needs a pay check, but today’s employee wants more, and sometimes it’s benefits that mean more to them than money.

This is why employers need to have a Great Reflection of their own, and give their people what they really want.

Otherwise, the Great Resignation will continue and industries will suffer.

What Employers Must Consider in Today’s Industrial Staffing World

As the Great Resignation showed, people weren’t leaving their jobs for other opportunities, they were leaving because they weren’t happy at work. This implies that they may have stayed—or even might come back—if they got what they wanted out of their jobs and employers.

So, what should companies be doing differently? Again, competitive salaries are always important, but they’re no longer the be-all, end-all. You also need to give people hope for the future. This can be done through learning and development experiences and training that give your people opportunities to hone their current talents and/or learn new ones so they know they can continue to move up internally and not have to look elsewhere for career growth.

You’ll also want to create a purpose-driven work environment, which means placing an emphasis on culture and empowering workers to care deeply about their work and find purpose in their roles. Have a simple and clear mission statement so people know why your company exists and how their jobs help fulfill that ‘why’ for customers.

Make sure everyone is accountable for this purpose. Nothing should be ‘business as usual.’ Show people exactly how they can contribute to the company’s reason for being in business. Encourage employees to share their stories of purpose to help build awareness, camaraderie, and pride.

Finally, be authentic. Now more than ever, trust is everything. A clearly defined purpose means nothing if it’s not backed by real action. Be transparent about everything to build trust across the organization.

How to Focus on Employee Experience to Tackle the Great Reflection

To tackle the Great Reflection and boost employee retention, organizations must also focus on enhancing the overall employee experience.

To keep employees motivated, organizations should:

  • Build a safe and flexible work environment
  • Practice employee recognition regularly
  • Work on strengthening peer-to-peer relationships
  • Offer better growth opportunities
  • Focus on meaningful work
  • Cultivate trust in the leadership
  • Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)