By Stacy Eads
November 2, 2021

How to handle the “Great Resignation”

How has your business handled the "Great Resignation?" Stacy Eads shares her hiring and business expertise.
Note with I Quit on it

The “Great Resignation” has hit America, and Edmond, Oklahoma is no exception. Long-time loyal employees are quitting their jobs in record numbers across the state; just look at your LinkedIn feed to see all the career changes happening around your circle of influence.

Management professor Anthony Klotz coined the term “Great Resignation” and believes the rise of hybrid and remote work helped cause the phenomenon. What is this huge, mass resignation exactly? Gallup research found 48% of the American workforce was actively looking to change jobs this year, literally almost half the U.S. workforce, which is nothing to sneeze at!

Personally, I believe there are many factors baked into this job market beyond hybrid work models. The bottom line? Your business needs to realize that COVID caused many to see life as precious, period.

  • Some teammates now desire to stay home, or work from home, to protect their health (or an immune-compromised loved one).
  • Several co-workers are retiring, rather than continuing to work past open retirement ages.
  • Company’s core values were also set on full display, showing how management treats people during an unprecedented pandemic. Did you rise to the occasion or falter with the starting gun?
  • Other people are itching to return to the office, but they need flexibility from managers who understand that several days a week the buses, daycare, and school schedules are not back to 100% like a well-oiled machine. Are you offering grace?
  • Did your work culture shift if you could work from home versus if you were an “essential employee?” It’s not always an all-or-nothing scenario. Some warehouse workers are resentful of engineers who are working from home, while they cannot—all under the same brand, same product, same company—but new standards created have’s and have not’s.
  • Several families might have seen the positive impact to their wallet while working from home, eating lunches with cheaper groceries from their own fridge instead of a drive-thru, and less gas money spent to/from the office.
  • Others saw the value of their time; fewer commutes meant no longer trading precious hours eating dinner with their children versus stuck in traffic on the highway.

These choices were not just seen but felt deep in the heart. Choices about work/life harmony, the balance of family time and a career, or the choice of how you live the precious life you have while on this Earth.

As you grapple with the ongoing pandemic effects, the Great Resignation, and a tight job market, how will you shift your company’s hiring techniques?

One important area to review is your interview process. As the market changes, your methodologies should adjust as well. For example, pre-pandemic and when I was the CEO of a technology firm, I was a big fan of initial group interviews for a few reasons:

  • Limiting the amount of time it takes an employer to interview 10 people, reducing it from 10 hours to only 2-3 hours. Huge time saver for the employer!
  • Ensuring an employer has enough prospects to truly find an A+ player. Interviewing 10 people is the standard before making a hiring decision. Anything less, and you’ve put on your rose-colored glasses, finding “the best” of the candidates you’ve seen rather than truly the best.
  • You can compare and contrast responses better when you remember everyone in one room versus 10 interviews over 14 calendar days where they can bleed together in your memory.
  • Employers can also see how the prospective employee works in a group. Is their body language shy or are they verbally outspoken? Do they come across competitive or courteous when others are speaking? Are they able to think on their feet, pivot, and adjust when someone before them answers the way they wanted to?
  • Everyone gets the benefit of hearing the same information all at once—your company history, core values, long-range goals, as well as details about the position itself. The candidate Q&A benefits all candidates equally to ensure they really understand the role they’d be accepting.

After the group session, of course, I’d narrow my choices and still have one-to-one interviews with the top selections after calling their references. It was a time saver and added value to the employer!

However, post-pandemic, the job market has 100% shifted to the power of the employee, rather than the employer. Just as the housing market lately has been a seller’s paradise where realtors are showing a home a dozen times within 24 hours and slapping a sold sign on the front lawn, the job market in 2021 has also created a rapid frenzied pace.

If you’re frustrated that when you call a candidate who has already taken another position, you’re acting too slow in today’s job market. As the employer, you need to shake things up!

  • Call candidates the same day they submit a resume. Wow them!
  • Don’t wait to group 5-10 prospects together in a group interview. You don’t have time to waste. Remember, they might have sent out 15 resumes that day and had two interviews the week prior.
  • Try to perform a quick virtual or phone interview ASAP within 24-48 hours of receipt of their resume to stand out, show interest, and make a strong impression.

Do you remember all those things you wanted prospective employees to do to stand out? You might want to make a list and start doing all those things for them now! Your company is competing against many other offers. How will you stand out as the best choice? Hint, hint, at least send thank you cards after the interview (Didn’t you always expect that of candidates when the tides were reversed?).

If you like a candidate during their initial interview, immediately schedule their next step while you’re still together. Have you asked what’s most important to them when making their next career move? Will they be meeting the CEO next? Do they need paperwork emailed? Get it done while together to show them you are serious about them as a candidate.

Think about your current hiring steps and decide how to expedite each phase. Is there a reason you need to wait until after the second interview to call their references? Many past employers’ HR departments are under a heavy load, and they can only reply to basic date of employment confirmations legally anyhow, so move faster and get that over with between interviews one and two. Don’t delay this back and forth phone tag process to the end, where you’re vulnerable and waiting on the past employers’ response time to make a job offer.

I know a few of these tips will be helpful to your current hiring situation. Please remember, there are only 60 days until the end of 2021. As your business creates your 2022 corporate budget, be sure to think about the extra expenses you may incur around hiring going forward.

You may need to deploy a larger marketing budget to pay for things like “Now Hiring” signs and banners, or job posting apps and software subscriptions to Indeed or Zip Recruiter.

You may find yourself hiring a national direct placement, local temp, or a recruiting firm to assist in finding qualified candidates faster.

It’s not business as usual for most industries, so your budget line items for 2022 forecasting will not be business as usual either. Consider your financial plan for current employee engagement, too, not just new recruitment. Ask your leadership team these important questions before year-end.

  • Is your present pay plan adequate or a little rusty?
  • Are you sure your benefit packages are competitive in today’s environment?
  • Do you need to budget toward opening a 401K with match to entice new A-players and retain the ones you’ve had the last decade?
  • How will you be increasing funds in 2022 to retain your staff, deploy long-awaited raises, or new commission plans?
  • Is your company ready to consider profit sharing?

Next month, I’ll expand on this HR business topic by sharing my “Top 20 Interview Questions to Uncover a Fit for Your Culture.” Be sure to subscribe to Edmond Business online magazine for emailed updates each time a new Scaling Up with Stacy column is released. You can find the subscribe box just below this article.

If your leadership team would like an experienced coach to facilitate your corporate retreat, please book a free consultation to discuss your 2022 strategic plan and budget forecasting. If I’m not a good fit, I know many local coaches who would be, and I’ll be happy to connect you.

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About Stacy Eads

Edmond native & UCO Alumna, Stacy Eads, is an award-winning “Most Admired CEO” who scaled her company as a Woman in Tech before becoming an International Scaling Up Business Coach. She now empowers other CEOs from $2M to $200M to embrace their leadership potential through quarterly strategic planning. Her talent is in high demand to CEO Coach, Train Teams, and Speak at Events in both the U.S.A. and Canada.

Stacy Eads’ career affiliations include 50 Women Making a Difference award, Circle of Excellence award, Torch Ethics award, Most Admired CEO award, Edmond Chamber & UCO Mentor, Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma Board of Directors, TEDx OKC Speaker Coach, and Ambassador Chairwoman for the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce.