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The Great Resignation: Turning Exodus into Opportunity

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In the last two years, workers across the country have walked away from their jobs at an alarming rate. A record-setting 4 million people in the US quit their jobs in April 2021 as vaccination rates increased and employers called workers back into the office, according to a recent Forbes article. By November 2021, that number had risen to 4.5 million for the month.

The reasons include a shift in priorities, lack of childcare for parents returning to work, even how employees feel they were treated by employers during the pandemic. Yet one of the biggest reasons is the realization that much of today’s workforce can operate remotely. That has many employees rethinking how – and where – they want to spend their workday.

A May 2021 Morning Consult poll revealed that 39% of US adults surveyed said they would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. Millennials and Gen Z workers polled higher: 49% would head for the exits if remote work flexibility wasn’t offered.

The good news: For companies willing to embrace the changing work dynamic, now is an ideal time to attract and keep talented workers. If you’re willing to accommodate remote work, you have a massive pool of qualified candidates at your disposal. That’s because remote work opens your search to candidates that don’t live within commuting distance.

Fortunately, it takes little effort to attract remote talent right now. With millennials and Gen Z workers looking for more work-life balance and Boomers stepping down into retirement or easing back into the workforce, remote work is a natural attraction.

In a tight labor market, simply offering remote work positions your organization well with job seekers. Yet are you prepared to manage a remote team?

Fortunately, it takes just a little extra attention to detail to attract and retain great talent. These few steps can help you effectively manage your work-from-home team.

Amp up communication. As so many organizations found out at the height of pandemic lockdown, communicating remotely is not difficult. What is difficult is maintaining communication, which is often not something managers focus on in office-based work environments.

Build a plan that details how your team will communicate, how often you will check in with each employee, and how you will measure performance and resolve any productivity issues. Touching base daily with teams and employees keeps everyone feeling engaged.

Arm them with great tools. Providing a consistent technology experience for all employees makes it so much easier for them to collaborate and perform at their best levels. From chat and video conferencing to project management and team collaboration, technology ties together your workforce, making for a cohesive, inclusive work culture.

Improve the work culture. That work culture is the lifeblood of employee retention, and nearly every organization can improve upon the status quo. An intentional approach to the culture should include sensible rules of conduct, transparency from the top down, organized meetings and agenda, and much more flexibility when it comes to working across time zones and individual worker needs. For instance, your worker may be caring for an ailing spouse – her best work hours may not fall within the normal 9-to-5. Shifting your focus from hours worked to a productivity measure takes the pressure off your employees when life gets in the way.

As more workers redefine what they want out of their employment experience, savvy companies will embrace the shifting work culture and offer the flexibility and a work culture that embraces employee needs. Preparing for the remote workforce is not hard, and maintaining a healthy remote culture takes effort, but consistent attention to communication, proper tools, and smart use of time can make your organization an attractive option.

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