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The Great Resignation and The Role of HR

By Anna Naveed


Human Resources Blog Library

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The term “The Great Resignation” was devised by Professor Anthony Klotz in February 2021. Professor Klotz has foreseen that countless employee resignations will materialize after the COVID pandemic, and when employees return to work this will become the new standard. Throughout the epidemic stretch, individuals recognized the significance of their time and the sacrifice they had made with the old habitual work life such as day-to-day drudgery, long commutes, pricey lunch/eating on the go, lengthy periods of work at the office, and time missing from family events and excursions.

Furthermore, throughout the pandemic, nations became more inventive, innovative and self-aware of their beliefs and what they can carry to the table. As Professor Klotz projection of the great resignation has begun to appear countrywide and has become an enormous hitch for HR.

Workplaces around the globe is showing increasing trends for resignations now, more than ever before because there is an evident change of attitude brought on by surviving a pandemic, which in turn has brought a modification in work philosophy. This philosophy favors Employees more than employers, who are now considering more flexibility, for instance, hybrid or remote work accessibility, positive culture change, or transparency within the company.

To be appreciated more than just as a worker lost in a crowd, it is imperative to be known as a human being employed to feel and be heard, their opinion taken into consideration and not dismissed casually. Great leadership requires responsibility and a positive attitude with all the workers at the workplace, forming a tribe of people who develop a sense of belonging. Offices need people who take ownership and cherish the responsibilities given, with a sense of relief when they are appreciated for their input. A workplace with a collaborative environment, rather than a hierarchy that divides different levels at a company, access to all tiers, where helping to formulate a single mantra becomes a routine and everyone is an advocate and ambassador of a single motto.

HR angst and fears have markedly been increased by 86% according to “Mystery Minds web article “The Great Resignation and its implication: 4 Tips for HR Professionals”

HR experts ought to shift their focus and work on Strategic and technical appraisals for employee retention, In addition to that HR must bring into line, the company administrator to obtain better employee feedback. Company culture needs an overhaul to better sustain employee retention and employee aptitude.  HR mavens could also benefit from reinforcing employee-company and manager relationships, with better interaction and thoughtfulness fostering everlasting trust.

During the pandemic, it is our understanding that a lot of women had to forgo their existing jobs due to family pressures. There was no one to look after the kids that were out of the day-care centers due to the surge in the virus. A lot of the female workforce especially single mothers had to quit jobs due to this scenario and all they had was the stipend given to them by the government. What we saw was people being pushed into abnormal lifestyles and a stipend that barely covered the costs of living. For others, it was a break from the monotony at workplaces and a mechanism towards liberating them from the norms created by society, now they had more time to spend with the family and yet got paid by working remotely. Working remotely was all sunshine till the inflation and stock market dwindled and the companies had huge losses to face, then came a wave of massive layoffs, that is where people lost their luxury to decide when and how to work. What will always be a mystery is with all of this crunch on the employees, the corporate sector kept observing people who left their positions too often, with major complaints being, that they needed flexibility with their work schedules, whether it was the mental stress and strain that covid was playing or whether it was the new routine settling into their lives, we would never know. Surveys and deep research into this matter reveal one fact, the workplace of the past has been altered enormously.

We don’t know the kind of pandemic we are going to face in the future, but we know that a friendly HR would play a very big role in the retention of employees. A more fulfilling job, that nourishes their work-family balance would not only encourage more people to be present in person at their workplaces, but it will also be the single most efficient tool in building confidence amongst the workforce that is weighing its options constantly. The corporate world is hanging in a very precarious and tight balance, with yearly profit margins cut and growth slacking, there is a huge pressure for the company heads to slowly lasso the workforce back to in-person attendance. The productivity levels are also massively subdued due to the constant waves of virus surges, with a lot of people getting sick multiple times in the past year, there were sick days that had to be taken and the remote work didn’t necessarily bring the desirable outcome. The companies saw people attending Zoom calls, while they were out vacationing with zero interest in the discussions, and hence the decision to lay off the non-productive staff was taken.  This in turn causes anger in the labor union factions. The labor unions lobbied around the idea of remote work religiously, which companies knew was a double-edged sword, where they were cutting huge costs by not having costly commute and in-person staff costs, and they were seeing a slowing down of the growth. Drastic measures had to be taken, to bring an equilibrium, the staff that wasn’t critical was allowed to work remotely while the rest were needed to a hybrid attendance. Then again, the hybrid mechanism started to fail when workers forcefully started converting hybrid jobs into remote ones by smartly cutting more hours off.

There might not be a permanent solution to this problem at the moment but companies like WebHR and Hireside are doing more than their fair share of contribution towards a possible solution. With WebHR’s social HR platform, people across the globe working for a certain entity can feel completely connected. The very user-friendly and Facebook-like look of the platform, not only makes the team feel connected, but also makes teams far away from each other stay on one page with the top tier, knowing exactly what is happening around the company. A more see-through and transparent outlook can solve a multitude of problems all at once, without trying multi-level meetings to get the agenda out. Now with just a few clicks or just talking to Alexa sitting on your table, you can gather critical decision-making info in seconds. The executives can look at the intelligent and catered data needed without asking others to bring it to them. Making hiring and evaluation processes so easy, observing an increase in employee retention rates. Workplace productivity can increase with interactive ways and virtual monitoring through WebHR rewards, badges, and announcements, these appreciation methods increase the worker’s morale and attitude at work. The people at work seek, appreciation way more than salary hikes, this has been well-researched over the years, that employees always seek to be seen for their work and their efforts.

According to Mark Hamrick a senior economic analyst, In some ways, a slowing job market is one of the last proverbial shoes to drop as growth cools more broadly for the U.S. economy. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has called out the job market as being too hot, particularly looking at the elevated number of job openings compared to the number of unemployed. Another source of tension is labor force participation, remaining below pre-COVID levels.

While the rate-raising central bank isn't targeting the job market per se in the fight against inflation, it does want to see a better alignment of demand and supply of workers.

Only 4 of the 20 metros tracked by LinkedIn saw July hiring exceeding pre-COVID levels.

Just to add a bit more to this, I came across something very interesting shared by Cate Champman, the Editor for Linkedin News, He reported that

“Hiring drops for 4th straight month”

U.S. hiring fell for a fourth month in July, to its lowest level since the first quarter of 2021, LinkedIn’s Workforce Report shows. Nationally and across all industries, the pace at which people began new jobs slowed by 1.5% from June and 8.3% from a year earlier. Hiring has dropped 7.2% compared with pre-COVID, as the Federal Reserve lifts borrowing costs to combat the highest inflation in more than 40 years.

  • The only industries whose hiring exceeded that of February 2020 were administrative and support services, and technology, information, and media.
  • LinkedIn’s data is based on how many of its 191 million U.S. members switched employers in the past month.
The Labor Department, set to release its unemployment report for July on Friday, said that new jobless claims rose slightly last week.

Now looking at this data, we realize the extent to which the damage is happening, According to Layoffs. FYI Tracker 467 startups have laid off ∙ 64518 employees in 2022 Since COVID-19

Robinhood laid off 25% of their staff just this month

Oracle Laid off more than a 1000 employees

Shopify laid off a 1000 Employees in one week

Rivian laid off 840 Employees

ZipRecruiter laid off a massive 40%

Sage Therapeutics Laid off 53%

Toast Laid off 50 %

Eventbrite Laid off 45 %

Groupon Laid off 2800 employees

Opendoor Laid off 35 %

Patym Laid off 500 employees

Swiggy Laid off 800 employees

Magic Leap Laid off 1000 employees

TripAdvisor Laid off 900 employees

Lyft Laid off 982 employees

This list is huge and ugly, the things are going to be worse before they become better, and there are no huge hiring sprees expected in the last quarter. We better have mechanisms in place, to face the anguish and heightening sentiments amongst the workers at big corporations, with massive funding that hired people they did not need. We need platforms and systems that support the current scenario in the most humane way possible.