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The Great Resignation: Walking Away to Do Better Elsewhere

January 11, 2022

The U.S. is in the midst of a fundamental shift in the workforce brought about by the coronavirus crisis and its aftermath. What is now being called The Great Resignation has already led to millions of people either not returning to their jobs post-pandemic or simply quitting in hopes of finding greener pastures elsewhere.

The Great Resignation is likely to have a profound impact on hiring for years to come. What can you do, as a broker, to help your clients retain their employees? You can start by understanding what is motivating so many people to walk away.

A No Longer Acceptable Model

The Harvard Gazette interviewed well-known labor economist Lawrence Katz back in October 2021 to get his thoughts on The Great Resignation. In summary, Katz is convinced that the old employer-employee model is no longer acceptable to the modern workforce. Employees are tired of being controlled by their employers, work schedules, and salaries. They are demanding something new.

Katz made it clear that the post-pandemic workforce is better off financially than the workforce that emerged from the Great Recession some 10 years ago. As a result, more are able to quit their jobs and go look for better opportunities with new employers. They are bolstered by more generous unemployment compensation that makes walking away less intimidating.

Improving Standard Benefits

The place to start, as a broker, is to research ways to improve standard benefits like medical and retirement options. No matter how good an employer's plan is, there is almost always room for improvement. One possible example is transitioning from a marginally valued health insurance plan to a high deductible plan coupled with a health savings account (HSA).

Offering Ancillary Products

Though standard benefits can be improved in most cases, improvements are limited. You can only do so much with the best plans on the market. However, you can offer to enhance those plans with ancillary benefits, including:

Bear in mind that all these benefits can be offered as voluntary or employer-contributed benefits. The latter may be a better option in that it shows employees that their employers are willing to put their money where their proverbial mouths are.

Flexible Work Arrangements

As a broker, you can research flexible work arrangements and then present that information to your clients. What we are talking about here is offering employees more opportunities to work from different locations rather than always coming to the office. Likewise, allowing employees to flex their schedules can be attractive. Data shows that employees want more options for both. Many are willing to walk otherwise.

Employee Appreciation Policies

You can also encourage your clients to develop employee appreciation policies designed to make it clear how much they value the workforce. It has long been known that employees who do not feel valued are less loyal to their employers. Likewise, the simple act of showing employees how much their hard work is appreciated goes a long way toward building loyalty.

The Great Resignation is no myth. More than ever before, employees are showing discontent for their work situations by walking away. They are telling their employers that the old model is no longer doable. Employers unwilling to embrace this new great awakening among the workforce tend to risk losing the most. Do not let those employers be your clients. Start working with them now on finding ways to retain their employees for the long term.