Is “The Great Resignation” now “The Great Regret”?

“The Great Resignation” has predominantly been heralded as a success for employees inspired to change their careers or enter new roles or industries for a better work-life balance. Tired of having their lives restricted during the pandemic, employees choose to take the opportunity to go where they felt they would be appreciated and have greater flexibility for their family and self-time.
In hindsight, not everyone is pleased with their decisions. Increasingly, some workers are finding the grass is, in fact, not greener on the other side. As such while the US economy has recovered the majority of the jobs it lost during the coronavirus pandemic, employed workers are now seemingly moving around trying to find their next ideal home – again.  
But how did we get to this new era of “The Great Regret” and what does it mean? And now what….? 
How did we get here?
Less than two years from the pandemic, many employees are considering whether they moved jobs too quickly. Many are challenging their original premise for their move and questioning whether they made an error. Reasons such as:  

  • Peer pressure in the job market – everyone is leaving so maybe I should to.
  • Fear of missing out – someone else took an opportunity and it is seemingly working for them, so surely it will work for me.
  • It was a great opportunity to get an “easy” pay-raise or promotion.
  • Taking the easier route of a new opportunity, rather than working through challenges where you were.
  • Impressions of important decision-making issues factors, such as company’s work culture or management styles, that failed to show during virtual interviews.

Speed of the recruiting process has also led to fast decisions without taking the necessary steps to fully analyze whether the new position / company was truly a good fit.
Regret is part of the process 
Regret is typically part of an employee’s career path, often involving reminiscing over responsibilities and coworkers left behind.
Remember the last time you painted a room or remodeled your kitchen or home office? After that first brush stroke or hammer blow, you probably doubted your decision. You may even have some nostalgia for that lost character you’re destroying. However, as you continue with the project and begin to see the finished product, you realize that it was in fact a great choice. 
This process is perfectly healthy, particularly when beginning a new stage in your career. It’s common to experience relief and excitement shortly after resigning, but it’s also normal to feel a tinge of regret afterwards too. The risk is that regret, however fleeting, can cloud an employee’s judgement. During a difficult transition process, you could be pushed to swiftly follow one resignation with another amid the current job market.
Now what?
With the competition for the best workers (or in some roles, any workers) companies have raised wages to try to entice new hires. This has created a wage disparity between workers who have stuck it out and all of the new hires. As such employers need to reflect, even for those just looking to maintain their team and not fall victim to this second wave of resignations.  First thing, unless you want to be hiring into more open positions, you need to reassess what your current employees are looking for over and above higher pay, more benefits, and remote flexibility.  What are they looking for now that the dust has settled?
For those still looking to hire, this “Great Regret” may offer a new window of opportunity. However, consider that employee expectations of potential employers have rarely been higher: candidates are requesting flexibility in their jobs, the highest possible salaries, and quick decisions from companies. To be sure, workers have long wanted all three things, but rarely have they expected all three or even asked for them during the recruiting process. 
But those perks still don’t necessarily mean they will value their new workplace, so here are 4 other proven suggestions to consider: 

  • Establish for each employee a renewed and revised sense of purpose in their role.
  • Provide an opportunity to feel a sense of shared identity.
  • Ensure they have social and interpersonal connections with their colleagues and managers.
  • Emphasize meaningful – though not necessarily in-person – interactions, not just transactions.

If you’re not sympathetic to these needs, either you won’t be able to hire true game changers, or your employees will leave.

The need to attract and retain talent remains the #1 issue on executives’ minds. In this war for talent, it’s time for a new plan of attack. Call The CFO Suite and benefit from our experience and expertise so you gain a competitive advantage in this war for talent.