First and foremost, what is it?
Starting in early 2021, employees were leaving their positions left and right. The number of people who were leaving their roles for new positions was unheard of, especially during a time of high unemployment. In one period, 40% of employees were considering leaving their current position.
Why is it happening?
For many years before COVID, it was an employer’s market. Meaning, employers were in the driver’s seat. They were calling all the shots when it came to compensation, work/life balance (or lack thereof), work conditions, qualifications, and more. Compensation did not increase with inflation over the years, and quite frankly (coming from a recruiter), employers had way too many expectations when it came to hiring a new employee. They were getting away with it-often times we referred to this as the pink unicorn. When the pandemic hit, employees said enough is enough, something has got to change.
What changes were employees looking for?
Have you heard the quote, “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life?” When people started putting life into perspective, especially during the pandemic, they realized they were working their lives away for a company that didn’t value them, and they were spending most of their day either at work or commuting to work. Employees were, and still are, looking for a better work-life balance, whether that means flexible work hours, hybrid or remote work options, or shifts between 8:00 AM-5:00 PM Monday through Friday. They are also looking to be paid adequately for their work as it relates to inflation and the responsibilities of the role.
What does this mean?
Companies need to adjust their expectations of their employees, culture, and their overall compensation structure including PTO and benefits. Some companies have made the necessary adjustments and are not having issues finding employees and retaining them. But most, are not able to meet the demands of most candidates due to inflation they are currently experiencing with their vendors along with cash flow, and maybe some stubbornness. In today’s market, it has become the norm for employees to leave their employers after a year or two, even after a few months and that is not being judged like it was in the past. They can chase the dollar and desired work environment as much as they want because the truth is, everyone is hiring and companies are really struggling to find people to consider for their open roles, keeping them engaged throughout the interview and onboarding process into employment.
What does the future look like?
The bottom will fall out at some point, look at the mortgage industry. They are doing countless layoffs of not only sales professionals, but members of their operations teams. Over the past couple of years, the mortgage industry was booming, and they were able to pay professionals unheard-of salaries and bonuses to attract them to their organization. Now those individuals have been the first to be let go along with many other of their coworkers. Realistically, this will happen to some extent for every other industry however the positive in all of this is the norm was shaken up and many organizations have realized that just because it has always been done that way, doesn’t mean that it is the best way. This movement has not only benefited employees, but it has also allowed companies to study their overhead and shave off unneeded bills, for example, rent for large office spaces, and honestly, get with the times. As history usually repeats itself, the waves will soon settle and a new norm will be figured out which will include work environments, the overall compensation structure for the same role across all industries (for example call center or support roles won’t range from $20 depending on what company you work for), employee and employer expectations, and comradery.