The Great Reflection
You may have heard me say it before – the role of the CIO is one of the most challenging jobs in corporate America – 2021 has proven to be more difficult than ever. We all know a record number of Americans are quitting their jobs in droves across the world, a trend some have dubbed the “Great Resignation.” For many reasons, the popular term does not respect the impact of COVID-19 on employees’ well-being, leaving them to reflect on what is truly important in their lives. Thus I choose to call the situation “The Great Reflection.”
Shockingly, almost 3% of workers handed in their resignations in August, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of people quitting rose to 4.3 million, dwarfing the number of layoffs from employers, who cut 1.3 million jobs the same month. Between April and August, an estimated 239,000 Information Services workers left their job. More than half of US workers said they plan to look for new jobs in the coming year of those who remain. The impact on productivity and replacement cost is mindboggling.
The reasons given for the job change are many. While some people have left the workforce and fled the IT field altogether, many are looking for job security, better pay, flexible work hours, and remote work. Many are looking to leverage a better pay structure as demands outstrip supply. There is no denying many are suffering from COVID burnout and are seeking something they can feel they can control. Working mothers have faced an additional burden, juggling child care, virtual schooling, and their careers. I worry as much about the employee’s long term career impact as there are indications many are leaping without looking at what is beyond their paycheck.
For whatever reason employees seek a change, the burden of throttling the tide rests on the IT leader’s and HR’s shoulders. What can you do to slow the tide?
First, you will want to increase your employee engagement activities, especially if most of your team is still (or always will be) working remotely or in a hybrid model. Start with soliciting feedback from your employees, including open-ended questions that allow them to speak candidly and share their thoughts. Next, analyze results and communicate broadly and deeply the critical findings to employees. Finally: take action to close the loop. Let them know you are listening. Leaders must quickly turn insights into action and address employee concerns rapidly – or risk hearing about them again in exit interviews. Talk to them often, as valued people. They know when they are seen versus treated as a commodity.
You may be asking – what action can I take? A sound step is to engage with your direct reports and self-assess your own and their employee engagement tactics. You may find helpful an article published in May 2019 addressing employee engagement: Engaging Your Employees In Seven Simple Questions – ITeffectivity. Embedded in this article is a simple employee engagement assessment: Employee Engagement Self-Assessment. This simple-to-use self-assessment will provide you insights as well as start the engagement conversations.
While you are on ITeffectivity.com, I invite you to poke around the Articles and Resources pages. I predict you will find tips and tools of value. If additional help is needed or warranted, Let’s Talk! Schedule a Discovery Discussion Today. I am here for you.
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