Thanks to the pandemic, we have all accepted a lot of “short-term” changes. . .for more than 18 months. One of those major shifts in how we work, and where we work. This no-longer-short-term change looks like one we’re going to keep, including a major shift in the relationship between workers and employers. The Great Resignation is not completely connected to the pandemic — employees were becoming more selective about how and where they worked for several years before the spring of 2020. But, there is no doubt that the pandemic has accelerated and cemented the shift. Part of it is logistical – many who never would have had the opportunity to work from home before, now have…and they like it. Others who have high-risk household members are no longer able to work in in-person settings. And some simply have looked around at the new landscape and realised the opportunity to receive better wages, better benefits, or just a better boss. So how do you take advantage of this unique moment?
Here are three ways you can take advantage of The Great Resignation:
It’s about who you are, not where you are. Now more than ever, the ability to live where you want isn’t completely tied to the local job market, because employers are offering remote work options. If you want to move to a less expensive city, closer to family or somewhere warmer – it’s possible that you won’t have to sacrifice job opportunities to be in the location of your dreams.
You can re-invent or just re-enter. You can also take advantage of The Great Resignation if you’re coming back into the workforce after taking some time off. The demand for employees means more openness to training or retraining qualified candidates who need to brush up on their skills. While there’s historically some bias for those who have spent more than a year or two out of the market, employers are now more open-minded about the not-quite-recent experience. One tip – employee loyalty is increasingly difficult in today’s era. If you were at your last employer for five or more years (and willing to make a similar commitment again), be sure to emphasise that the investment in getting you back up to speed could be well worth the long-term value you are willing to bring.
Bespoke benefits. Employee benefits used to mean some combination of health insurance paid holiday and maybe retirement contributions. Now, employers have become far more creative and responsive to what non-compensation benefits employees really value. Whether it’s a subsidy for work from home setup, a corporate discount on home exercise equipment, or more flexible hours – now is the time to think of benefits as a conversation, not an unliteral decision. There’s no guarantee you’ll get everything on your wish list, but many organisations are far more open to meeting these kinds of requests if they are reasonable.
The Great Resignation could be pretty great if you act now and are savvy.
We’ve all had (a lot!) of time to rethink how we want to spend our days and years. No one can be sure how long this unusual moment of employee-driven shifts in the market will last. But if you take stock of what you need and what you can offer, you might be surprised to discover that The Great Resignation provides a unique chance to make changes in your career, and your life more broadly.
In terms of my background and expertise, I have spent my entire career working as a trusted advisor to senior leaders wanting to improve the effectiveness of themselves, their teams, and their companies. Prior to starting my own consulting firm, I led the global executive assessment and development team for Cisco. Earlier in my career, I held leadership roles with RHR International, PepsiCo, Ashridge Executive Education, Hult International Business School, and the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.