Why Are People Switching Jobs During Uncertain Times?
For many of us, slipping pennies into a piggy bank was our introduction to investments as kids. We were taught how investing money gave us good returns over time. As we grew older, we learnt how to invest our time and effort in things that make us happy — be it jobs or relationships. And since the pandemic began, people have started taking stock of these investments.
“Am I happy in this relationship?”
“Is my work valued in this company?”
Across industries, 2021 was a lot about ‘The Great Resignation’ with companies realizing that if they don’t invest in their people, deeply and authentically, they will lose them. According to the Microsoft Work Trend Index, 52% of employees are considering leaving their current employers. This begs the question: What makes people switch/leave jobs during uncertain times?
Recently, we conducted a poll asking exactly this, and most people said they would switch their current job for one that offers a better salary and supports work-life balance. However, in the comments section, they said a supportive manager is the most important deciding factor as they are instrumental in helping motivate employees and maintaining a healthy work-life balance and focus on wellbeing; a good manager is also fair and ensures that their team members get the pay hikes they deserve.
We probed further into the reasons why your employees might be looking for a job switch. Here are the top three:
People no longer care for fancy job titles and designations — they’re looking for genuine and continuous growth opportunities and wellbeing-integrated roles. Shiraj Chakraborty, People and Culture Leader at Roundglass, believes that all conversations around professional or career growth must be focused on strengths, not weaknesses, as gap-based conversations impact employee wellbeing negatively. Such conversations need to go through three stages: awareness, appreciation, and assimilation. He suggests a simple exercise for leaders, “Ask yourself: Do you have enough awareness of employee wellbeing needs? Do you appreciate these needs by having the right conversations? And are you assimilating your learnings by putting in place the right systems and processes to make these conversations integral to employee wellbeing and engagement?”
The last two years have brought our physical, mental, and financial wellbeing sharply into focus. With the global economy being constantly volatile, many people lost their jobs and those without any financial planning and savings were impacted severely. With new variants emerging and a back and forth between WFH and return to office (RTO), the workforce continues to be anxious about its physical and mental wellbeing. Many studies have suggested that employees are likely to leave their current jobs for those that offer more benefits like health insurance, wellbeing programs, retirement plans, etc. The Roundglass Wellbeing at Work 2020-2021 Survey Report revealed that only 57% of surveyed organizations offer education and awareness of financial benefits provided by the company — a clear indicator that leaders need to focus on financial wellbeing of employees.
After two years of WFH, flexibility has become a non-negotiable factor for most employees to stay in a job. This is reflected in the fact that most companies plan to implement a hybrid working model whenever they’re ready to RTO. Besides, the pandemic spurred a change in priorities for many people — some wanted to spend more time with their families while others turned their passions or hobbies into side hustles. Flexibility is something people are not willing to give up even when it’s time to RTO. The more a company supports its employees, the more they will be persuaded to stay. This means giving your employees the freedom to choose how, when, and where they wish to work from, as long as business priorities are met.
Previously, employees would stay at companies for job security and to avoid moving out of their comfort zone. However, the pandemic jolted everyone out of their cocoons and emboldened people to take charge of their happiness and wellbeing. About time companies start looking at employees as “whole beings” instead of mere productive resources if they want to retain their best talent.