Garima Pant
Guest Article

"Resignations are one symptom of the larger shift:" Garima Pant

The Great Resignation, also known as the Great Reshuffle, is an ongoing economic trend in which employees have voluntarily resigned from their jobs en masse which began in early 2021. The term was coined by Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, in May 2021.

In my view, it is the great realignment. It is a subtle and complex shift in how individuals see their jobs and themselves. Resignations are one symptom of the larger shift. There is a bigger change where the role and nature of organisations are shifting, akin to how they react in response to tech development. This one though considering human response in addition to technological changes is a bit more complex.

What triggered this?

The onset of the pandemic had millions of layoffs, and lots of individuals had to stay put in their jobs that they possibly were wanting to quit. Post the pandemic, such individuals started looking at options as the market realities change.

Also, there was a burnout with the new reality of work, managing home and the constant stress and fear of the unknown that the pandemic brought.

Another interesting trend that I see is that knowledge workers are also quitting due to FOMO. Their co-workers who have switched a job, share their views… talking about greater flexibility or just the sheer change of workplace. The larger point being missed here is whether the grass was greener on the other side?

Challenge for Organisations

The labour market is slogging in the direction of normalcy, but many jobs remain difficult or impossible to fill. The Ripple effect of the pandemic as it ends is that employees are re-evaluating their careers with a record number of open positions across industries.

The current war for talent is not just limited to one industry but has intensified across industries due to the receptivity of talent across the spectrum, which till sometimes was limited to some organisations only. Also, there are larger questions regarding the purpose and re-evaluating priorities.

Challenge in agencies

Most talent has moved multiple jobs in the last 2 years and earlier. There is a value that comes from being in one organisation, you learn more as you solve more problems, and understand people and systems beyond the surface. There is a challenge on quality as well as possible tenure of stay which is currently making it a never-ending cycle of filling in talent.

How can organisations mitigate this?

Fierce competition for workers means that employers will need to go beyond good pay and benefits to attract the best candidates.

Mental Health is real and a greater challenge now, more than ever. Supportive teams, trusted leadership, and a sense of pride in the job can help make the difference between a good employer vs. any employer.

Flexibility is a key employee demand; however, no one size fits all. It is a difficult transition to make and not an apt solution for all industries. For creative industries especially, serendipitous interactions often lead to the best solutions. With return to work, the value of face-to-face interactions, human relationships and social interactions has been brought back to life again.

Looking at the pool beyond the traditional one and building talent would be the key, rather than chasing the same talent.

Keeping your existing talent is imperative. The new world of work requires a different leadership style and more ownership from the workforce. Considering hybrid, individuals who are competent, willing, and motivated to take on responsibility will thrive and enable greater agility and results.

Organisations will need to identify top talent with this fresh perspective. We will need to allow and build forums for this talent to socialise, create and deliver in the right way

The post-pandemic workspace?

Move away from the one size fits all approach, we need to be flexible to an approach which allows for the asynchronous organisation of work and work settings

Office buildings to be the cultural touchstones

- Meeting grounds for our partners, candidates, and clients

- Holding boot camps for interpersonal exchange for team members

- Providing proximity to clients, customers, and amenities to team members

The Future of Organisations

The next phase of work would be even more disruptive. The newer generation would look at holding multiple gigs at the same time vs. the older model of longevity with one employer only. Decentralised autonomous organisations would be the next stage of organisations.

The author is Garima Pant, Group HR Director, Mullen Lowe Lintas Group.

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