05 Apr

The Happiness Gap and the Great Resignation

By now you’ve heard the buzzword of the Great Resignation and seen the ever-present “Help-Wanted” signs in your community. One of my transit clients listed their current criteria for hiring drivers: a pulse and a CDL. I’m half qualified. The hiring crisis now more than a simple lack of qualified candidates with the crisis exacerbated by a lack of interested candidates. Whoa.

So where are all these people who were formerly interested in employment and now aren’t? It’s complicated of course. Some moved on to gig work, some retired and some left to stay at home when schools went virtual.

So with fewer candidates and workplaces hiring “interested” employees have choices and they’re moving on. But why? According the recent Pew Research Center research people moved on for better pay most frequently, which is typical. But after compensation people look for more from their workplace environment including opportunities to advance, flexibility and balance.

The Pew data presents several opportunities for workplace shifts that cost little-to-no money.

Advancement – People surveyed want to grow and advance and this is no surprise. A good dose of what I call challenge stress combats apathy and creates investment by employees.

Flexible – Offering job crafting and discretion get your staff empowered and give them a sense of control. Humans love control and as a bonus outcome – control builds trust. Trust is core to deepening relationships and strong workplace relationships are great for retention.

Disrespect – So much of disrespect is about misunderstanding and assumptions.  In my workshops, we show teams their leadership diversity and how to lean into what makes each of us great and to find comfort tapping into different leadership styles.

If you make your employees happy – which is combination of satisfaction with compensation, engagement, fulfilment, challenge, and connection – they will give more than you ask of them and more importantly they will want to stay. So, while I can’t help you address pay scale or benefits, I can certainly support you in making your culture one your employees don’t want to leave for a negligible raise.

How do you determine where your culture crushing it and where is it failing? Try this free survey.

Anthony Poponi is an energetic presenter, a jokester from birth, and self-admitted lover of downtowns as much as wild spaces. He specializes in putting joy in our workplaces and in our communities through workshops and keynotes that leave his audiences buzzing. Being a hard act to follow on stage is always his goal.

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