The Great Job Exodus. The Great Reshuffling. HR professionals hear these words and know that it’s not a matter of if but when they’ll start getting calls about backfilling vacant positions.
Indeed, the balance of power has shifted in the employer-employee relationship, with the employee having more power than ever to ask for what they want—or choose to leave.
In her now-viral LinkedIn post, Daryl Fairweather, PhD, Chief Economist at Redfin, shared why employees have the upper hand when it comes to asking for more from their current (and potential) employers.
- Pandemic-related savings behavior has given people more freedom to leave an unhappy job—and take their time finding a new one.
- The labor shortage is less about people not wanting to work and more about people’s priorities changing—specifically, what they want from their employers.
- There are ways for companies to get ahead of The Great Reshuffling of talent.
As Dr. Fairweather pointed out, employers will have to work extra hard to recruit and retain talent as the economy reopens.
So, what can organizations do now to get ahead of The Great Reshuffling? We’ve taken a deeper dive into what we think will help you retain the talent you have—and attract new talent in the future.
It Begins and Ends With Culture
Start by fostering a culture where your employees want to stay. And this is more than the fun-but-superficial benefits of a workplace, like ping pong tables and free lunches. It’s about establishing the workplace practices that support them, like flexible work arrangements, better benefits, and fair pay.
It’s also about leaders who walk the walk when it comes to work-life balance. While HR can set the policies that help prevent burnout (and attrition), it’s the leaders at your company that perpetuate the culture and demonstrate the behaviors expected in the workplace.
If HR says, “let’s support employee well-being and work-life balance” and leaders respond by sending emails on the weekends and working through their vacations (or worse, not taking time off at all and punishing employees who do), you can understand why employees are confused by your culture—and ultimately want out.
So, poke around. Ask about your colleagues’ vacations. Run reports about PTO. Then, get started filling in the gaps between where your culture is and where you want it to be. And communicate to the leaders—nay, laggards—who don’t switch off that your company culture aims to prevent burnout, not induce it.
Personal Savings Means More Time for the Job Hunt
In addition to culture, take a look at what you pay your employees.
As Dr. Fairweather indicated, people have been able to save more over the past 15 or so months due to changes in consumer behaviors: During the pandemic, the personal savings rate rose to 21%. Even in the years leading up to COVID-19, most employees never saved more than 10% of their income. Now, they’re saving more than double that.
This gives employees a safety net to leave jobs they’re unhappy in and take their time finding new ones; ones with better pay and better working conditions.
What does this mean for you as an employer? First, take a hard look at what you offer for compensation (but remember pay isn’t everything). Evaluate how your compensation compares with your industry peers. Increasing what you offer employees is also a good way to attract talent, especially during the current labor shortage.
Supplemental reading: 3 Ways to Attract New Employees During a Labor Shortage
Compensation Matters—But So Do Values and Goals
Remember that people’s priorities have shifted, too. While more pay is one attractive factor when looking for a new job, people are also looking to work for a company that aligns with their priorities. That is, companies with flexible work arrangements, those that align with their values (e.g., those companies that are active in their corporate social responsibility efforts), and those who offer better benefits. They also want to find an employer that will help them achieve their career goals.
You Won’t Know Unless You Ask
You need to find out if your current employees are happy. Ask them about what’s important to them. Ask how they feel about returning to the office or hybrid work. Ask about their satisfaction with their current compensation. Ask about their career goals.
And then act on that feedback.
You also want to get a pulse on what’s important to people so that you can be attractive to new talent, too. Looking for a job is costly. But with savings, people have the money (and time) to look for a job that pays them what they are worth, offers better benefits, and more flexibility.
If you want to be the place top talent lands next, you need to take action now and get ahead of The Great Reshuffling—before your business becomes a victim of the great shuttering.