It’s an understatement to say that the pandemic changed the corporate world. However, one of its biggest effects has been on the way employees are moving out of jobs much faster than their employers can keep up with. This issue, dubbed as ‘The Great Resignation’, has had companies struggling to fill positions, maintain operations with their existing employees, and strategize for the long-term effects of this crisis.
As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), almost 3% of American workers quit their jobs in September this year. This phenomenon is also being seen in other developed economies of Europe like Germany & the UK. India too is facing a major upheaval with employee attrition numbers for some industries like technology industry hitting a record high.
The pandemic undoubtedly has been the trigger with Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2021 Report pointing out that 57% of workers experienced daily stress and the global rate of workplace engagement was just 20%. However, the build up towards The Great Resignation has been happening since decades.
Let’s deep dive into the topic a little more and explore its various facets.
Widening Skills Gaps: The Prime Issue
In the last 10-15 years, the skills gap has widened at a more rapid pace than ever due to myriad reasons -- advancing technology and automation being the top one among them. The World Economic Forum’s latest Future of Jobs Report has said that half of all employees around the world will need reskilling by 2025.
The pandemic worsened this whole situation creating an even bigger need for developing and building new skills and capabilities. As everything went digital and virtual, it revealed a wide canvas of skills that people needed to learn. As a result, the biggest challenge that organizations are facing today is how to plug this widening skills gap?
How Companies Can Zero in on Must-Have Skills
While it’s important to determine how to fill the skills gap, it’s also necessary to figure what kind of skills organizations need to impart to their workforce. The increased focus on digital has necessitated that regardless of the size of business, every company has to make its employees digitally strong.
Along with digital and tech skills, some soft skills too are highly in demand. Communication and Collaboration are two very important soft skills. Communicating and collaborating well in a remote/hybrid work setting are imperative not just to offer the right customer experience but also for great employee engagement and experience.
Future-Proofing Workforce against Skills Gaps
While the Great Resignation is a major challenge that most companies are finding hard to control, there are definitely a few steps that can be taken to slow down the mass exodus. One step is to build a strong communication channel across the organization.
The next is to understand the skilling needs of each employee based on their job roles and aspirations. Third is to focus on future-proofing to create a stronger workforce with better skills to collaborate and compete.
Role of L&D in Helping Cope with Current Challenges
Today's employees have very specific needs considering they are always multi-tasking and are short on time. In this situation, L&D is one of the most equipped teams that can step in and hand-hold organizations during this period of transition.
It’s upto L&D teams to offer employees the tools and technologies that provide them access to the right information, learning, content and even people who they can connect with to make the whole learning process easy for them. They also need to be given the choice of how and where they want to learn and on what device and in what format they want to learn. Every learner has a different way of learning and L&D needs to offer the right technology that directs the learning experience to accelerate the impact of the skilling initiatives.
I had a very insightful discussion with PeopleMatters on the topic ‘Closing the skills gap amidst the Great Resignation’. I have tried to put across some important points on how we can fix the Great Resignation through skilling. At a time when there’s an unprecedented number of people quitting their jobs and not enough candidates to fill the open positions, such discussions can help.
You can read the interview here.