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Great Resignation or Great Reimagination: A talent map for 2022

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Recession, Resignation and Reflection,

What place the three R’s differently today?

"I just quit my job/ I'm gonna find new drive/ Damn they work me so damn hard/ Work by nine/ Then off past five/ And they work my nerves/ That's why I cannot sleep at night,".

Beyonce’s latest single “Break My Soul” brings to focus the prevailing burnout culture and has been labelled online as “An Ode to the Great Resignation”.

Aren’t we all already humming to its lyrics?
But wait, we have been on this road before.

It’s late 2007, you switched on your T.V., and landed in the middle of a report showing that millions of people around the globe have lost their jobs. It’s the GREAT RECESSION.

So what’s different this time in THE GREAT RESIGNATION wave that 2021 was supposed to have ushered in? And what can people and organisations plan for?

What actually triggered this sudden wave of worldwide resignations?
In 2021, a massive number of individuals willingly quit their jobs. What’s even more startling is that a significant percentage of those people immediately started looking for new roles and new fields altogether. Doesn’t that sound ironic? Especially after the disastrous pandemic outbreak and its manifold after effects. So, what exactly changed in a span of one year?

Gartner, a renowned research firm, released a report stating that the attrition rate jumped from 10% in 2020 to 20% in 2021. And the gravity of the situation is only expected to intensify in the coming years.

The global surveys suggest lack of flexibility, low pay, and burnout as the major causes behind elevated attrition rates. Covid made the employees think whether their job roles and the companies were the right fit. If not, then how can they turn their resignation into an opportunity to sign up for a more goal or purpose-driven career.

While battling pandemic-induced adversities, millennials gained a fresh look at their career and educational goals. A lot of young workers used the work-from-home setup to break the monotony and smoothly modified it into a work-from-anywhere lifestyle, without hampering their productivity levels. Some resigned from their jobs to grab the roles/companies that could offer them this sense of ease and contentment.

On the other hand, the workers in their 20s and 30s also took a break from work to upskill themselves and develop their creative potential before relaunching themselves into the market. They made sure to focus on digital trends, soft skills, and transferable skills to make themselves job-ready for a market that had been completely reshaped by the power of automation.

So, which age group quit the most?
It may sound surprising, but the reports indicate that the mid-career professionals, aged between 30 to 45, turned out to be the group with maximum job departures during 2020-2021. The logical explanation behind this is that covid forced the companies to reduce the hiring of young workers. As for them, working remotely without in-person guidance would have only risked their business’ growth.

This in turn particularly increased the demand for mid-career professionals, and also offered them the leverage to secure higher-paying positions. Meanwhile, the combination of financial instability and lack of demand in the market forced entry-level workers to hold on to their current jobs.

Insights on Hiring trends of 2021 by Naukri JobSpeak
JobSpeak is a monthly index that calculates hiring activity based on the job listings on the Naukri.com website. The Naukri JobSpeak Report for November’21 provides crucial insights into hiring activities across experience levels, industries, and cities.

As per this report, “The onset of the festive season marked the comeback of the retail sector - showing a 47% Y-o-Y growth in Nov '21. Another sector that traditionally benefited in the festive season was Hospitality/Travel (+58%). The Telecom sector continued its upward trajectory, growing by 91% annually.

Hiring activity in metros exceeded in tier 2 cities once again, growing by 39% annually in Nov’21 whereas non-metros grew at a slower pace of 16%. IT hubs Bengaluru (+49%), Hyderabad (+47%), and Pune (+47%) recorded the highest growth in Nov’21.

Annually, the demand for senior professionals with 8-12 years of experience saw a maximum increase of 37% in Nov’21.”

Road Map to Great Reimagination 2022
The Great Resignation clearly indicates that the employees are no longer satisfied and are striving for a change in the company culture and policies. Hence, to be able to enter into the phase of the Great Reimagination, it is necessary to rethink and reset the entire workspace and its workings. Employees require a consistent acknowledgement for their achievements, healthy associations with their leaders, and most importantly, continuous engagement.

Here are some steps the HR department of every organisation can take to bolster employee retention.

  • Discover the power of a stay interview– Everyone is quite familiar with the ritual of conducting an exit interview before an employee finally steps out of an organisation. This is done to find out what prompted an employee to leave the organisation where they worked for years. However, why wait for them to depart and not conduct a stay interview to determine what is working for a team member and what isn’t? A stay interview not only gives an employer the needed time to amend a situation before they lose a hardworking employee but it also reassures employees that their views, ideas, and contributions matter. To hold a transparent and meaningful conversation during this interview, every employer must provide a safe and comfortable environment.
  • Encourage the idea of co-creation– To turn the whole movement of resignation in your favour, employees must be made to feel empowered. Simple tasks like suggesting new strategies, naming products, or developing ideas for marketing campaigns could be given in the form of team-based activities to encourage participation and boost their confidence and more importantly, for a sense of engagement.
  • Invest in a well-customised training program– Irrespective of the job role or position, all the employees want to widen their spectrum of knowledge and skills. A well-planned training program can close the skill gap, upskill the employees who wish to advance their skills, and reskill those who might want to take up a different job role at the same organisation. Additionally, it has been witnessed that the cost of replacing an existing employee is 50% of their annual salary. So, why not eliminate this cost and broaden that training budget?
The pandemic has truly acted as a catalyst for elevating personal worth and growth. It has made people think about whether or not their presence makes a difference at work. Employees no longer want to maintain a façade; they want to bring their authentic selves to work. This is why they now seek those job roles or companies that can align with their goals, passions, ambitions, and lifestyle. The period of Great Resignation, or as we must call it ‘Great Reflection’ has shown that for every organisation to run successfully, employee satisfaction needs to be the utmost priority.

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