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Working Through the Great Resignation


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Working Through the Great Resignation

As we (hopefully) are moving into the endemic phase or perhaps it’s the “live with it phase” of COVID-19, nearly every individual that I speak with has also faced challenges associated with the Great Resignation, as it has been called.

At Roth IAMS, we too saw a significant increase in turnover starting around a year ago and continuing until late last year. Luckily (and I am knocking on wood), we are hopeful that the worst is behind us.

As we were one of the lucky businesses that remained as busy as ever and in fact thrived during the pandemic (increasing our team by almost 50%), we were hiring staff regularly from June 2020. We also feel that we have taken advantage of the Great Resignation. We were lucky enough not to have had any positions go unfilled as we have ramped up our staffing even though we too were experiencing increased turn over.

I recognize that we are once again one of the lucky businesses. I know many organizations that have struggled to get applicants, let alone qualified applicants for many positions. One of our clients previously had over 200 open positions on a team of 800 staff.  Not only couldn’t they find the right people to fill the seats, but the pressure on the 800 staff was causing burn-out and increasing turn-over. Something seen across many organizations regardless of industry.

For many years it was an employer’s market. That dynamic has shifted, and I don’t see it going back anytime soon. As leaders of organizations, it is important that we focus on what we can control and not get caught up in what we cannot.

Good turn-over is when someone decides they want to change their career and there is no opportunity to do so within your organization. Good turn-over is when a colleague decides that they want to make a change to their personal life that no longer fits with their role. Good turn-over is also when someone joined your team and realized that they did not have a passion for the work. As leaders we must recognize, as much as all turn-over hurts, in the long run this type of turn-over is in the best interest of both the organization and the individuals making the change.

Regretful turn-over (assuming it is a team member that is performing well) is when people are leaving your organization and going to do the same thing for someone else. When a team sees an increase in this situation it is critical that you start to look inside the organization for ways that you can retain these individuals. What is causing these valued team members to leave? What can you do to remedy it? How can you keep them engaged? What changes do we need to make to be more attractive for both existing staff and potential new hires to replace those that left?

If you have been lucky enough to not have much regretful turn-over to-date, I would still recommend that you start a dialogue with your current team to get out ahead of it. I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review that recommended Pre-Exit interviews, or stay interviews, where you approach your current staff to ask them why they might choose to leave and then address those issues before they decided to even start looking elsewhere. I am interested to explore this concept in collaboration with our HR team.

Organizations of all sizes are going to have to up their game in terms of employee relations to navigate the Great Resignation and whatever comes afterwards as it relates to recruitment and retention. As with everything, there will be winners and losers. I truly believe that the winners are the ones that pay the most attention to what they can control and accept that which they cannot.


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