In April 2021, a record 4 million Americans quit their jobs. Fast-forward to September 2021, and 4.4 million quit in one month alone. Wow.
How did we get here?
Way back in 2020, resignation rates had fallen to the lowest levels in a decade. The pandemic had caused plenty of fear, uncertainty and doubt, companies had shut down, business had stalled, and people stayed put.
But as they hunkered down, workers began to reflect on their relationship with work. And as they did, they realized that certain aspects of work just didn’t work for them anymore. The traffic, the expensive parking or business wardrobe, the commute, the daily grind suddenly seemed excessive. The call to a higher quality of life—as we considered our mortality—was deafening. And then, the vaccination program entered the scene and gained momentum. By April 2021 the resignation trend had reversed, and it started to look like the beginnings of a hockey stick.
Thankfully, Zety recently conducted a survey of 900+ American workers to get to the bottom of this dilemma. Their findings are below, in infographics, because it’s time for us to unpack this.
MORE FOR YOU
The biggest causes might not surprise you, but let’s look at their impact:
There are currently around 154 million employed people in the US. So if we extrapolate Zety’s findings to the whole working population, then around 75.5 million people have quit their jobs in 2021.
That’s roughly twice the entire population of Canada.
What can employers do to retain, attract, inspire their workers?
What You Can Do
1. Create Flexibility and Autonomy – Let people work at times and in ways that work for them. Focus on getting results and trust your people to get them in the way that works for them. If your people are meeting their deadlines, delivering quality work that meets the specification, communicating and keeping you in the loop, and effectively planning so time is managed well, then all is well. There’s no need to micromanage how they work and when they do.
2. Create Growth Opportunities – Most people want to grow and evolve and see a path to both earning more and expanding their skill set. Help them, using Individual Development Plans and other similar tools. Make growth and advancement a key part of your culture, invest in your people, inspire them to stretch and become a bigger version of their awesome selves. Help them self-identify as leaders. Our leadership levels template will help you.
3. Create Meaning in Your Workplace – Now more than ever we all want to know our work matters. Help your team see how they contribute to the greater good, communicate how your firm is making a difference, help everyone volunteer or support inspiring non-profit organizations. Here’s one of my blogs on creating meaning.
4. Create a Sense of Tribe – Help everyone see how they belong together with a clear tribal identity. When we understand how to be safe, belong, matter together we feel trust, we feel tribe, we feel loyalty and yes, even devotion. Humans are emotional beings. Don’t miss this. It matters.
5. Create a Cultural GAME Plan – So all know how they will grow, be appreciated, be measured, and engage.
See our image below:
Yes, it’s a mess out there. But now you have a map to navigate it. And the great news is that by intentionally creating the 5 items above in your culture, you’ll have a more compelling workplace, and navigate far fewer resignations far more easily.