What Job Security Means During the Great Resignation
The future of work is more uncertain than ever—for employers and employees alike. Old rules and practices that previously governed the workplace have rapidly changed or become irrelevant. This includes the notion of “job security.”
Traditionally, employees have sought job security through loyalty. Staying with an organization for years or even decades was the ticket to both security and professional growth. It was considered unwise to be a “job-hopper”—an employee who prioritized new opportunities over tenure. But years of economic uncertainty and a global pandemic have manifested in a new outlook for many employees. They now seek security by embracing change, diversifying their experience, and jumping at new opportunities.
How the Great Resignation Era is Redefining Job Security
Workers across nearly every industry have responded to the pandemic by reflecting on their values and what they look for in a job and a career. Resignations have spiked to unprecedented levels and many organizations are struggling to fill open positions. The uncertainty of the pandemic combined with rapidly evolving economies and industries has many workers questioning what job security really looks like. They now recognize the value of diversity in their networks, skills, and professional experiences to ensure job security in an uncertain and always-changing world.
Although the Great Resignation is accelerating this new take on job security, among younger generations, this approach was already considered the norm. This means the trend is not likely to fade in the post-pandemic years, as by 2025, Millennials and Gen Z workers will make up more than 75% of the workforce. Employers that are not beginning to adapt to the new definition of job security may see their ability to attract and retain a talented workforce begin to decline. To respond to this new outlook, organizations need a two-pronged approach. First is an organized re-recruiting strategy that offers the compensation, professional growth opportunities, and other benefits that are now essential to cultivate and retain top talent. Second is to embrace the shift towards what the former Chief HR Officer at LinkedIn calls a “paradigm of fluidity.” Some turnover is inevitable. Organizations that lean into change and invest in quality relationships with outgoing employees may be rewarded with new connections and partnerships in the future.
Invest in What Employees Want
Employers that are worried about their ability to retain talented workers in the wake of the Great Resignation can start employee retention planning by looking at what employees want in a world where job security has taken on a different meaning. This can include prioritizing professional development and educational opportunities. Many employees are looking for ways to broaden their experiences and skill set.
Organizations can do this by offering “horizontal growth:” opportunities that encourage workers to take on different projects and explore different roles. Doing so can result in more success keeping employees on board, especially those from younger generations. Seventy-five percent of Gen Z workers say they value gaining experience across multiple tracks as much or more than they value the more traditional “career ladder” that emphasizes vertical growth and increased specialization. Horizontal growth is often accomplished by changing jobs. However, companies that develop horizontal growth strategies can retain employees by offering the diversity of experiences that they may otherwise pursue externally.
Investing in employees—through regular pay raises, bonuses, and hybrid work opportunities—is also a critical part of any successful employee retention plan. Organizations can also look to differentiate themselves by offering something that their competitors don’t. Only 7% of companies in the United States provide any kind of childcare support for their employees, despite it being a top priority for many working parents. Offering a caregiving subsidy or developing an onsite childcare program could be the difference between parents staying in or leaving their jobs.
Embrace Fluidity and Build New Networks
Silicon Valley is the 21st century’s signature success story for innovation and economic power. This area also sees incredibly high rates of turnover: professionals move into new roles at new businesses rapidly. This is not coincidental. In fact, it is this phenomenon that is largely responsible for the incredible innovation and business success of the region. Rapid turnover facilitates new networks, new ideas, and new partnerships. Investing in employees only to see them quickly move to another opportunity can no doubt be difficult. But this also presents new opportunities employers can capitalize on with the right mindset.
Successfully embracing this fluidity still requires investing in what employees want. Organizations that offer valued perks, opportunities for meaningful work, and professional development are able to foster healthy relationships with employees that do move on. This network of healthy relationships can return future dividends through new connections and business partnerships. It also leaves the door open for departing staff to return one day, coming with experiences and expertise that they may never have gained by staying put. Leaning into workforce fluidity and prioritizing relationships will become even more important for talent procurement strategies to succeed in a competitive labor market.
Is your staffing agency looking to help your clients confidently prepare for the future challenges of employee retention and talent procurement? Contact People2.0 to learn how we can help you and your clients find success in an ever-changing work landscape.