October 26, 2021
Finding the right people to fill out your team can be a difficult endeavor. And once you’ve found them, providing the right workplace experience to keep them content and engaged is an ongoing (but crucial) challenge. In a recent press release, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that a record-breaking 4.3 million people—or 2.9 percent of the entire American workforce—quit their jobs in August. Previous months also saw record amounts of employee attrition, indicating that The Great Resignation discussed in the media for the past several months is not only real, but also gaining momentum.

These resignations are occurring across industries, with leisure, hospitality and retail seeing the largest lossesGiven the surge of the Delta variant, some economists point to ongoing concerns over safety or disrupted school reopenings as a cause for the uptick in resignations. While those are no doubt contributing factors, employers shouldn’t dismiss the substantial toll Covid has taken on our collective mental health; people are reexamining what is important to them and making life changes accordingly. Similarly, the pandemic is forcing businesses to reassess how they operate and treat employees. In fact, one of the leading reasons people cite for leaving their jobs is mistreatment from employers throughout the Covid crisis.

People are seeking new opportunities, increased flexibility, better treatment and more money, particularly as compensation has stagnated over the past several decades despite a surge in worker productivity. Employers have an unprecedented opportunity to attract and keep quality talent, but only if they’re willing to provide the necessary flexibility, opportunity and compensation demanded by their employees. 


Closing the Empathy Gap

In a recent study from EY, a staggering 90 percent of U.S. workers say empathetic leadership—the kind that emphasizes transparency, fairness and follow-through—leads to higher job satisfaction; 79 percent say it decreases turnover. Although these numbers are new, it’s no surprise that people want to be treated with dignity and respect, to feel valued and like they’ve got room to grow. The current situation has given job seekers leverage, and employers are adapting as a result. For example, many in the restaurant industry—infamous for low wages and long hours—are attempting to address hiring issues by offering signing bonuses or additional base pay; others see the present moment as an opportunity to address root causes of attrition by making major operational changes focused the needs of employees. Industries across the economy are making similar shifts as more businesses consider The Great Resignation an opportunity to attract the best talent by giving people a more supportive, employee-driven work environment.


“We have to give people the tools they need to do their jobs,” said Amy Stromberg, Host’s Global Talent Director. “Understand and value their contributions, communicate that you know their worth and help them grow professionally. You have to invest in your employees. Typically, people don’t quit their jobs—they quit their managers.”

Empathy and flexibility from leadership is key to attract and retain quality hires, and forward-looking organizations must adapt to ensure continued success.


The Role of Experience

At Host, we think a lot about the workplace experience and how to make it better for our clients and employees alike. We also take a people-first approach to hiring, emphasizing opportunities for career growth, an empathetic and collaborative culture, the necessity of work/life balance and organizational stability.  We focus on helping people feel empowered, valued and understood in their roles because experiences are important. They determine how we interpret and understand the world, impacting our individual decision making and risk assessment throughout our lives. Personal economic experiences—from wide-ranging crises like Covid to individual job losses—also inform the economic decisions we make, affecting our choices on everything from home purchases to consumer spendingExperiences alter neural connections and influence future outcomes, shaping our outlook and decisions long after an event has passed.

In short, our experiences stay with us and influence how we choose to live our lives. Given how much time most of us spend doing our jobs, workers now have greater opportunities to assess workplace cultures and seek out employers who emphasize positive employee experiences. Employers who are slow to put their people first risk missing out on the best candidates and falling behind their competitors.

The pandemic necessarily shifted how we live, work and organize life in the short term. Some of these changes will no doubt create lasting impacts on companies and their cultures. But crucially, Covid also led many to reassess where work fits into their lives overall, further highlighting the effect of experience. People want to be invested in the job they do and feel like they’re making a difference. Work is important, but it’s not the only thing that shapes and inspires us. We have a rare opportunity to shift the way we do business to be more adaptable to life’s demands, and create a healthier, happier and more productive approach to how we work.


Making Changes

Overwhelmingly, workers agree that empathetic leadership inspires them to stay at their companies and do their best work. Managers can make positive changes by maintaining open communication with their employees, emphasizing a fair working environment, following through on promises made and promoting a climate that values diverse perspectives. As hybrid work becomes the norm and employees demand more flexibility, empathy and experience will continue to drive growth and innovation, giving companies more opportunities to cultivate quality talent and build strong, capable and future-focused teams.

 

 



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