The “Great Resignation” is a term used to describe the wave of millennials and Gen Z workers who are quitting their jobs in search of higher pay and better working conditions. This trend is being driven by a number of factors, including the rising cost of living, the increasing burden of student debt, and the desire for more flexible and fulfilling work.
In a recent article from msn.com, it was reported that “nearly 45% of Gen Z and millennials said they feel burnt out in their current work environment.” This is a startling statistic that should make all employers sit up and take notice. If we want to retain and attract top talent, we need to pay attention to our employee’s needs. That means investing in technology and business practices that address their concerns and make working more enjoyable and efficient for employees.
In order to understand what your company can do to attract top talent, you need to understand the major causes of this shift in the workforce.
The Rising Cost of Living
The rising cost of living is making it difficult for millennials and Gen Z workers to make ends meet. The cost of housing, healthcare, and education are all increasing, while wages remain stagnant. According to a Pew Research analysis of OECD data, the inflation rate in the United States is about 8% and growing.
That means that each year, your employees’ inflation-adjusted salary is dropping fast.
Increased Burden of Student Debt
The increasing burden of student debt is another major factor driving the “Great Resignation”. Student loan debt has reached record levels in the United States, and Millennials and Gen Z workers are shouldering a large portion of this burden. According to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve, the median graduate has about $25,000 dollars of student loans, but 25% have over $50,000. This is especially true if you have a college-educated workforce. For many young people, the burden of debt is making it difficult to save for the future.
The desire for a More Flexible and Fulfilling Work
The desire for more flexible and fulfilling work is also a key factor in the “Great Resignation”. Millennials and Gen Z workers are more interested in work that is meaningful and has a positive impact on the world. They are also more likely to value work-life balance and flexible working arrangements.
Why More Employees Are Repelled From Traditional Business Models
Despite the clear message from employees, many companies are still pursuing business models that are hurting their competitiveness and attractiveness to employees. The culprits, more often than not, come down to two challenges- outdated technology and inflexible work environments.
Outdated technology is one of the main reasons why employees are repelled by traditional business models. Technology should be seen as an investment, not a cost. According to an article from HR Drive, technology makes a difference. While a whopping 45% of employees at “technology lagging” companies feel frustrated, only 6% of employees at “technology leading” organizations feel frustrated with their jobs.
When employees are forced to work with outdated technology, it not only makes their job more difficult but also makes them feel undervalued. Instead of feeling fulfilled in their jobs, they become dissatisfied and frustrated, often leading to increased attrition rates.
Inflexible Work Environments
Another reason why employees are leaving traditional business models is because of inflexible work environments. In today’s world, employees value flexibility and work-life balance. They don’t want to be tied to a desk from 9-5. They want the ability to work from home, or at least have the option to do so.
Working from home is not just a quality of life benefit- but a huge financial benefit as well. Employees who work from home either part of the time or all of the time are able to cut down on commuting costs (a major factor today with gas prices). Perhaps most crucially, workers can relocate to lower-cost areas and neighborhoods and allow them to save money on their rent or mortgage.
When employers don’t offer these types of policies, whether they mean to or not, it can send the message that they don’t care about their employees’ wellbeing.
How to Attract and Retain Top Talent
So what can employers do to retain and attract top talent?
First, they need to invest in technology that makes working more enjoyable and efficient for employees. So what kind of technology do these workers want? Well, they’re looking for tools that will make their jobs more enjoyable and efficient. This includes things like social media, collaboration tools, and cloud-based applications.
Second, they need to create a high-tech and collaborative space to promote engagement and creativity. And finally, they need to implement more flexible work hours and work from home policies- which also has the benefit to your company of being able to reduce overhead and expensive office space. By doing these things, employers will send the message that they are invested in their employees and are committed to creating a positive work environment.
While the “Great Resignation” may cause some short-term disruptions in the workforce, it is ultimately an opportunity. If you make these simple adjustments, you can reap major benefits in terms of improved efficiency, retention, and employee satisfaction. This will give you the stability you need in your workforce and with it, an edge over the competition.
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