Millions of people have quit their jobs within the past year, and we've probably spent millions of words talking about who is quitting and how many have quit and when they've quit--and most importantly, why they've quit. But I think the why is very simple.
People are leaving their jobs in the hopes of finding something better.
What is this "better"?
Why are so many talented, skilled, experienced, and above all employable people choosing the insecurity of unemployment over playing it safe? It boils down to culture.
People want to work somewhere that sees them as people, openly acknowledges that career must coexist with the demands of life, respects employees' time, and clearly trusts and empowers employees to get the job done whether at home or in the office (or both).
The energy of the Great Resignation is not backward focused and draining but forward looking and hopeful. There is immense potential in all the kineticism of this movement. People are not resigning because they don't want to work but because they believe that there's something better out there for them.
Becoming the something better
It's no secret that my companies and I have completely embraced the work-from-home model. In fact, for well over a decade, Elite has not just survived but thrived with a wholly remote workforce. That success obviously colors what I am about to suggest, but for good reason.
Every company should design and support a hybrid (or even fully remote) workplace.
Though a strong company culture is a crucial part of creating a happy (and therefore productive) workforce, these pandemic months have illustrated that the workplace itself is surprisingly unnecessary.
What we all aim to do--whether in person or remotely--is the same. We all want our teams to know:
• they can easily communicate with each other and leadership,
• they're empowered to share the messiness (or beauty) of their nonwork lives,
• they're trusted to do their jobs in whatever way works best for them, and
• they are seen and valued.
This is the kind of culture that attracts and retains talent, and right now, there is an enormous pool of motivated, qualified people who are eager to share their energy and skills.
What's more, remote work affords greater opportunities for stay-at-home parents, caretakers, people who struggle with chronic illness, and other deeply talented people whose circumstances make conventional employment difficult or even impossible. Offering the flexibility and trust that allows people to show up on their own terms fosters a level of buy-in from staff that is invaluable.
A better bottom line
Remote work saves money--for employees and employers alike. Employees save on commuting costs, meals out, and childcare. Employers save on office space, utilities, parking, and office supplies. Even allowing hybrid options (or a mixed in-office and remote staff) can cut down on all these expenses. The bottom line is that more money saved means more capital available for growing and investing.
A culture of yes
Perhaps the most crucial advantage to embracing the remote work model is cultural: When you offer people trust and flexibility, they return that trust with loyalty and commitment to your company. Ultimately, that leads to less turnover, less new-hire training, and stronger teams with long-term working relationships.
The Great Resignation offers corporate America an almost unprecedented opportunity to create the work patterns and cultures of the future. Offering your best means you get to attract and keep the best. And that's pretty great, no?