Arti Agarwal, Head, Human Resources, Tata Asset Management
The current resignation behaviour is here to stay and is likely to stay elevated for some time to come. However, for employers, this seems to be the best time to deep dive into the impact of this phenomenon in the coming year and understand what organisations should do to adapt to this seismic shift.
The last several months have seen a tidal wave of resignations across the globe counting on 39 million instances only this year. The recent Microsoft Survey conducted across 31 countries shows a staggering trend of 41 percent of employees looking to quit their job this year, which is abnormally high with a shocking 62 percent for our country.
While we understand and accept the fact that the “Great Resignation” (as coined by Anthony Klotz, a professor of management in Texas) is here to stay and is certainly unavoidable for the industry, it seems to be the best time to deep dive into the impact of this phenomenon in the coming year and what organisations should do to adapt to this seismic shift.
Retrospecting this mass exodus and analysing its impact starts with understanding the drivers of it and what effect it brings to the two biggest stakeholders of this global wave, the ‘employer’ and the ‘employee’.
A closer look from the employers’ standpoint indicates some of the points we are discussing hereunder.
- Readiness check for the next role: While it is a great thing to elevate a high performer to the next role and enable him/her to take up greater responsibilities, if not actioned in a timely manner, it would leave the best manager losing his/her high performer to competition today. Employers need to invest in evaluating the capability of the internal talent with assessment centers which at least gives confidence on the readiness check of employees in a structured manner and club it with focused development plans for the high potential employees.
- The binding ‘connect’ to purpose: There is a cataclysmic change in the workspace, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Industrial Revolution. People want to become part of something bigger than themselves. With a strong sense of purpose—an overarching “why”—they are more likely to be aligned with the mission and values of the organisation. Purpose makes all the difference. It is the brainstorming meetings, the casual conversations, the happenstance connections, the accidental meetings which tie that bind together and not necessarily the organisational charts, the products, and the processes that employers traditionally believe in.
“It is the brainstorming meetings, the casual conversations, the happenstance connections, the accidental meetings which tie that bind together and not necessarily the organisational charts, the products, and the processes that employers traditionally believe in.”
- Managing virtual teams: As we go through this period of transformative change, we’re still in a space where a lot of employees are trying to get comfortable with what type of work environment they want to work in. Managers of today need to plan ‘the right task for the right environment’, establish work expectations clearly about in-office days, meetings, and activities. To state the obvious, effective time management is key as your work priorities could be almost anything, including having face-to-face conversations with colleagues, plowing through as many individual assignments as possible, and finishing all essential phone calls before playtime with your kids/spending time with family happens before the day ends.
- Process optimisation: In this era of digitisation, process optimisation has become the need of the hour. Employers need to identify internally redundant processes and systems and shelf them for agile workarounds which cuts across unnecessary controls to ‘key significant processes’ which becomes the new backbone of the operating layer of the company.
- Approach to the ‘employee’: If you’re feeling the pressure to be ‘always on’, you’re not alone. When employees thrive, organisations outperform. However, getting work done amid a global pandemic has sapped energy reserves for many people, making employee wellbeing a focal point for business leaders and companies.
Having discussed the key areas of reflection for the employers, let’s have a closer look at employees’ expectations now.
- Visibility of effort: With attrition hitting high in the mid-senior management, it has opened doors of opportunity for high potential cadres to step up the visibility of their efforts and contributions. Maintaining a positive outlook or tapping into your passions is also a great source to bring out your inner talent to climb up the corporate ladder.
- Access to leadership: With the advent of a flat organisation structure and a dissolving hierarchical culture map, this perhaps is the best time for the employees to get aligned with the leadership vision of the company. Leveraging employee connect platforms (e.g. town-hall, chat-up sessions, etc.) can be an effective tool in this process but at the same time requires a receptive mindset to explore such opportunities.
- Effective feedback mechanisms: Self-awareness allows employees to sustain their efforts over time despite setbacks or extreme circumstances like a pandemic. To develop it, employees need to build in time to coach themselves daily and business leaders need to anchor this journey jointly with them.“With the advent of flat organisation structure and dissolving hierarchical culture map, this perhaps is the best time for the employees to get aligned with the leadership vision of the company.” Click To Tweet
- Personal well-being: It’s hard to leave work at work in the digital age, especially when ‘at work’ is at home. But those who can detach during off-hours report higher levels of life satisfaction, better sleep, less emotional exhaustion, and better overall health. As responsible employers, ensuring the personal well-being of the employee allows companies to build trust, support, resolve conflicts, and inspire better collaboration which is fundamental to the operating productivity of any organisation.
- Emotional quotient: For many people, the connective fabric is fading. Some lack the relationships they yearn for, others long for a listening ear. It’s what we all need to have—and whom we strive to be for each other. This digital world needs more human leaders and emotional intelligence is what makes the leader more human. And that’s our saving grace. It really does come down to gratitude for the people in our lives.
In a nutshell, “Try and leave this world a little better than you found it’’ goes the famous quote by Robert Baden Powell.