First, The Great Resignation. Now, The Great Adaptation

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February 9, 2022

The Great Adaptation has begun. It is a direct result of The Great Resignation.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 68.9 million employees were separated from their jobs in 2021. Of those separations, 47.4 million, or 68.8%, were voluntary.

The graph below illustrates employee separations, by industry, since February 2020.

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You can read more about The Great Resignation here, as well as in many other blogs and news outlets. What you have not read about — until now! — is The Great Adaptation.

The unprecedented number of people leaving their jobs has led to an unprecedented war for talent. The Great Adaptation is how businesses are adapting to win the war for talent and secure the future, for themselves, for their employees, for their ecosystems.

The Fundamentals: Wages

More and more companies are offering higher wages or sign-on bonuses and even paying down student debt in an effort to recruit and retain talent.

The graph below illustrates how hires have begun to increase in all sectors, but hires and quits (also known as “turnover” or “churn”) remain higher in jobs with low wages.

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Companies that pay competitive wages are hiring more and experiencing less turnover or churn.

Beyond Wages: Culture

But it’s not only about wages. Wages are “table stakes” — the cost of being in the game of talent acquisition. The winning hand is the culture you create.

The pandemic has made many people more aware of the importance of things outside of wages — things like professional development.  

According to HR Dive, a news site covering human resources issues: 

  • U.S. workers rank professional development and training opportunities highly among their list of criteria for evaluating prospective employers, yet only 39% say their current employers were doing so.  
  • 80% of U.S. employees surveyed consider professional development and training offerings to be important when accepting a new job.
  • 91% of survey respondents wanted more training opportunities.
  • 75% of employees said their employers placed more focus on attracting new talent than investing in current talent.

In short, if you don’t provide professional development, your workers will find another employer who will.

The U.S. job market remains unable to fill 2.9 million jobs from where it was in February 2020.  The employee shortage is not over and will not end anytime soon.

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How Are You Adapting?

What is your organization doing to adapt to these current realities? Specifically:

  • What are you doing to attract talent from the national (or international) talent pool?
  • What are you doing to embrace a hybrid workforce?
  • What traditions and rituals in your culture have you maintained during this pandemic?
  • How will you teach your culture to hybrid and remote employees?
  • What type of professional development are you offering to you employees to ensure they have opportunities to grow their skillsets inside your organization?

If you can’t answer these questions now, I offer them so that you and your leadership team can work on the answers and begin the work of adapting to secure the future — for your organization, its employees and the ecosystem of which you are a part.

I’d love to hear your questions and comments. If you would like to discuss this topic further, just drop me a note

Until then, let’s keep cultivating our culture, together!

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