The Great Resignation
Prior to the pandemic, it was easy to find excuses not to do things; it wasn’t the right time, it was risky, it was too big a step....
The pandemic challenged the very fabric of our comfort zones and therefore the validity of those excuses.
If it hadn’t been for the pandemic, I wouldn’t now be living in France. It was the catalyst that made us stop and reflect on where we were, where we really wanted to be and the dreams and ambitions we’d been putting off.
And it seems we’re not alone in that. Millions across the world have chosen to make changes in 2021 and live according to different priorities. And for many, those changes start with the way we work. Job vacancies are at extraordinarily high levels and a Microsoft study recently found that 41% of the global workforce is considering leaving their current employer this year!
News that the world is experiencing the biggest mass resignation in history, dubbed The Great Resignation, has reignited the arguments about whether organisations can just treat the last 18 months as a blip and return to the employment norms of 2019.
A few weeks ago, before the data came out, I was engaged in an online debate about the merits of ordering people back to the office. Whilst some felt that a return to the office is necessary (and there have been some high-profile supporters of this view like Tim Cook (Apple) and James Dyson), my view has been that the pandemic will lead to a fundamental shift in the way we work, with remote and hybrid working becoming the new norm for many.
There will always be some jobs that need people to be at a particular location, and there will always be those who want to be in an office, but what the pandemic has highlighted is that in many roles, we don’t need to be in an office, or we don’t need to be in the office all of the time.
Now, what appears to be happening is that the opportunity for flexible/hybrid work is becoming an important part of the recruitment package employers can offer. Employers who could, but choose not to compete, are likely therefore to find their recruitment market reduced in the face of competition from organisations with a more flexible approach, both near and far.
Of course, if these changes become embedded as new norms, and remote/hybrid working really is the future, that has massive implications for the way some teams are managed too.
Above all else, managers will need to develop and practice trust. Trust means letting go of limiting beliefs such as ‘you need to monitor how long people take for coffee’ or ‘you only know people are working if you can see them at their desk’.
And it also means letting go of assumptions about remote working, like ‘those interested in a work/life balance aren’t interested in career progression’ (thank you Vicky Hart for highlighting this one) or ‘those working from home aren’t as committed as those in the office’. (I’ve been working remotely from home for approaching 14 years, and I don’t think anyone has ever questioned my commitment).
Within the Learning and Development industry, there’s a lot we can do to help support leaders adapt to the changes going on around them and develop the skills to manage both remote and hybrid teams. You’ll find a range of modules in Trainers’ Library that can help, including
• Home Working – The Business Case for Major Change.
• Remote Rules – Managing or Working in Remote Teams.
• Remote Team Management – Attitude and Approach.
• Remote Team Management – Limiting Beliefs.
• Remote Team Management – Self Management.
• Remote Teams – Bridging the Gap Between Us.
• Remote Teams – Engaging with Technology.
If you’d like to know more, get in touch. I’d also love to hear your stories about the changes you’ve made this year, or changes you’ve witnessed in your organisations.
Until next time…
Co-founder and Commercial Director at Glasstap® (www.glasstap.com), the company behind Trainers' Library® (www.trainerslibrary.com) a service relied on by trainers in more than 40 countries, I retain overall responsiblity for the...