The Great Opportunity

By now you’ve heard the term “The Great Resignation” and likely have felt its affects. But, as catchy and popular as this phrase may be, it is also misleading. First coined by Anthony Klotz in Bloomberg during May of 2021, “The Great Resignation” actually only names part of the story.

In our last newsletter, we learned that some have argued that we’re in a “Great Reflection or “Great Awakening” instead of The Great Resignation, meaning talent are focusing on aligning their work lives with their personal values. But even this name doesn’t quite capture the entire situation.

Whenever someone leaves a position, that vacancy becomes an opportunity. An opportunity for both the business —in that they can top-grade their team — and for the leaving talent in that they can find a position elsewhere that better suits their needs. According to CNBC, there were 11.3 million job openings in February of this year. That’s an incredible amount of opportunity, or dare we say it, a Great Opportunity.

So, whether you want to call this time the “Great Resignation,” the “Great Reflection," or the “Great Opportunity,” the writing is on the wall. Our national relationship to work is changing. Workers are ready for better and willing to walk if they don’t get it.

I know because I was one of the workers who walked.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T Find Out What It Means To Employees

Health challenges have a way of putting things in perspective. When we are brought face-to-face with the prospect of our time on earth being cut short, we have to take a hard look at our priorities. We have to get realistic about our lives.

In April 2021, I was unexpectedly hospitalized for three weeks. Then, I suffered complications which put me back in the hospital. After more than six weeks of medical leave, I returned to my job. About a week after I was back, I was asked to spend a weekend cleaning up a mess that had been made while I was out. The project was on a strict deadline, and we were out of time, but “no one can handle this project the way you can,” I was told. I caught myself working an extra twenty hours that week when I had strict instructions from my doctor to ease myself back into normal life. But taking it easy was not acceptable at my job. It was clear that my health was not a priority for my employer and that they didn’t respect my new limitations.

To be honest, I was unhappy in my job before I got sick, but the experience made me take a larger, even more honest look at my life. In the beginning, I thought that the position was a dream job. The reality was that the volume of work was always too much to fit into the allotted hours. It was common for less-senior employees to work an extra ten to twenty hours a week, and nearly everyone adhered to the unwritten rule that asking for overtime pay was unacceptable. The environment had always been toxic. I finally accepted the truth that my job was hazardous to my mental and emotional health for nearly five years while I’d been there, and it was certainly not going to help my recovery now. I was burned out. I was one of the millions of Americans who’d had it with the disrespect and dissatisfaction they’d experienced at work. It took two life-threatening illnesses for me to realize that life was far too short to stay in a job that made me unhappy.

So, I quit.

I wasn’t the only one. When Klotz termed The Great Resignation, 4 million workers had quit their jobs in April 2021, a record at the time. And, it hasn’t slowed down since. Almost 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in February 2022, according to the US Department of Labor. This is about 100,000 more people than quit in January, and just shy of the 4.5 million record set in November 2021.

The pandemic has been a worldwide health crisis; it’s not surprising that people are looking at their lives and their jobs with a more realistic perspective. They want less to work for a business than to partner with that organization. For that win-win scenario, potential employees want to know that they’ll be empowered, fairly compensated, and treated with respect.

Empower Talent

People want to feel respected in their workplace and empowered by what they do. Empowering talent can take many forms, but The Millionaire Real Estate Agen tells us there are ten principles that will give you the best chance of keeping your talent as long as possible.

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent — page 166
The Millionaire Real Estate Agent — page 166

You’ll notice that most of these empowering principles deal with communication and setting expectations. They cover providing your hires with the training that will help them perform and the accountability to keep them on course to succeed.

But, most importantly, notice that the principles turn into trust and permission. As your employee becomes a true part of your team, you’ll empower them to make choices and take responsibility. It’s only when this empowerment takes place that you can achieve true leverage. By taking this journey together and treating your hire with respect and dignity, you’ll create a strong culture, too.

Use Compensation As A Competitive Weapon

How often have you heard someone ask, “How little can I pay this person?” instead of “How much can I afford to pay them?” It makes you wonder, “How do you expect to hire anyone of value?” Compensation can and should become a competitive weapon for your business. Accept that hiring talent means paying for talent.

If you’re looking to take advantage of the Great Opportunity, you’ll need to be thinking of the long-term retention advantages that competitive compensation can get you. Hiring is, after all, an investment in your business’s future success. When you are hiring, ask yourself, “How much can I afford to pay this person so I can keep them as long as possible?” Not offering competitive pay and benefits will only cost you in the long run and slow down the hiring process. When you hire talent, they should pay for themselves. You should reward your staff members based on how you expect them to perform and then hold them accountable to perform at that level. This communication and clarity will be empowering to them and make sure your investment in them is secure.

In the end, I spent two months unemployed. It was the first time I’d really taken a breath and figured out what I wanted and needed from my work, it was my Great Reflection. I was intentional while searching for a new job, looking for people whose values I shared, who also seemed purposeful in their hiring process, and whose compensation was competitive. I ended up finding a Great Opportunity with the writing and research team at KellerINK. Through our careful hiring process, my new teammates knew what I valued, how I could contribute, and most importantly, that I wanted to learn and grow with them. And, through the writing we do, I hope that you get to grow and learn, too.

How do you empower talent? Do you have a cautionary tale or a victory about compensation to share? Let us know on our KellerINK Facebook page! And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more of our research and latest stories.

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