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The Great Resignation is Revealing Four Core Truths that Won’t Go Away!

Holy moly. The amount of knowledge we are gaining from this mass movement of people dubbed the Great Resignation will be feeding case studies for years to come. Researchers are salivating at all the fun qualitative and quantitative data from individual studies of what drives us to make career shifts to a macro-level analysis of the job markets.

All of that is well and good, and really interesting, but what matters to most people right now is, “How does it affect me?”

Perhaps you are considering changing jobs/careers/industries? Maybe you are in charge of employing and developing others? Whatever your role, you need to get to the heart of what matters.

As a leader and team development professional, I want to know the answer to that question, too!

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Here are some of the resources we found that helped us glean the top four truths that will stay put:

  1. Even in a tight job market, recruiters say these 4 red flags will cost you the offer
  2. What Employers Can Learn From ‘The Great Resignation’
  3. Majority of workers who quit a job in 2021 cite low pay, no opportunities for advancement, feeling disrespected

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With this research, and the stories we hear from our clients and networks, here are the top four truths about employment.

EQ Matters

Even in a job seekers market, emotional intelligence matters. 

Start with the basics – when you are seeking a new job, there are vital skills you need to illustrate. Between your resume and your interview, you certainly need to show that you have the proper practical knowledge and experience for the job. But, it would be best if you also showed that you can work with others. 

“Bad-mouthing a former employer is poor form, says Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half.

Instead of going in on what you felt they did wrong, you could instead frame the experience as a lesson learned in what you do and don’t value in a workplace.

For example, if you didn’t like the competitive nature of a previous company, Minshew suggests saying something like: “I thrive best in a really collaborative environment, where I’m given a lot of information about the various areas of the company, colleagues want to help each other out and there’s a minimum of politics or gossip.””

Source: CNBC: Make it

In other words, just because it’s a job-seekers market doesn’t make it okay to forget your manners and tact. Think through your answers to questions and make sure you aren’t blaming or bad-mouthing others! 

Likewise, for employers – how you talk about your people illustrates how you treat them. For emotionally intelligent individuals, they can quickly discern how they will be regarded at your company. 

This is true for describing past situations and talking about your vision for an ideal job. Instead of focusing on what you don’t want, cast your vision in a way that illustrates your ability to lead positively!

Core Values Matter

As an employer and as an employee, you stand for something. Even if you can’t name those values – they exist. The problem is that if you aren’t naming the core values, they are evolving based on the set of circumstances you are facing at the time. It’s hard to control and create a sustainable culture when you allow this to happen. 

Your core values drive long-term culture and results. They tell potential employees and employers what you stand for. They give insight into how you will perform. They also give us a compass point by which to circle. 

Let’s look at two examples. Neither set of values is right or wrong, but you can see how they might attract different types of employees and employers.

 

Values set 1:

Work-Life Balance

Integrity

People-First

Creativity

 

Values set 2:

Innovation

Cooperation

Drive to Results

Competence

 

Your core values say something about you and the way you work. We all want to work with companies and people that at least partially align with our values. When we can see ourselves in our work, we are more likely to be committed long-term.

Relationships Matter

A whopping 57% of people who quit their jobs in 2021 cited being “disrespected at work” as a reason. That means that more than half of the US workforce doesn’t feel respected. 

Does it mean they aren’t respected? Or does it mean they don’t know that they are?

Since perception is often reality and the employee has the upper hand in this job-seekers market, I’m not sure it matters.

Let’s go back to the basics. Perhaps we’ve forgotten what respect looks and feels like. Consider these ways to show respect:

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Seeking to understand
  • Gratitude
  • Having hard conversations

Beyond just keeping good employees, showing respect builds trust. Building trust opens the door to all kinds of good results – higher-level performance, more enjoyment at work, longevity, etc. 

Opportunities for Growth Matter

A recent Pew Research Center report says that low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement, and feeling disrespected at work are the top reasons people quit their jobs. 

Frankly, employers have gotten away with these behaviors for far too long, and it’s about time the pendulum swings in favor of the employee. 

No doubt, it will swing the other way over time, and we’ll need to correct it again. 

Employers — consider how you can ramp up your efforts, not just to put a bandaid on a problem, but to create better work conditions for all.

Employees – ask questions about growth opportunities and pay increases when you are seeking a new role!

Ultimately, none of this is new or all that eye-opening. But, taking these things seriously is going to help you – because every step of your journey leads to your great new experience, new employee and the culture you are building!