Navigating the Post-Pandemic Landscape of Work

Anurag Lal Anurag Lal, President and CEO of Infinite Convergence.

The pandemic spurred an unprecedented rate of job turnover, as millions of workers quit their jobs in search of higher salaries, healthier work cultures and better work-life balance. In 2021, more than 47 million people voluntarily left their jobs, creating a phenomenon dubbed the “Great Resignation.”

Today, the great resignation has spawned what is now called the “Great Regret.” The great regret is being experienced by employees who shifted too quicky to a new company and by employers, desperate for talent, who hired too fast.

As the impact of the great resignation and the great regret continues to reverberate, employees and employers will need to adapt their strategies and approach to successfully navigate the changing landscape of work.

Avoiding the Great Regret: Employees

A recent USA Today-Harris Poll revealed that many of the millions of Americans who quit their job during the great resignation regret the move. The survey found that approximately one in five who quit during the past two years regret it and a third of quitters are already searching to replace their new job with a newer job that offers “better working conditions, prestige or pay.”

What is fueling the great regret? A theory by career platform The Muse attributes the great regret to something called “Shift Shock” which according to Kathryn Minshew, The Muse’s cofounder and CEO is “that feeling when you start a new job and realize, with either surprise or regret, that the position or company is very different from what you were led to believe.”

Of the more than 2,500 members of The Muse audience surveyed in 2022, 72% reported that they’ve experienced Shift Shock. The survey also found that 29% said their Shift Shock encompassed the job and the company, 41% would give a new job two to six months if they felt Shift Shock as a new hire, 48% would try to get their old job back if they felt Shift Shock at a new company, and 80% said it’s acceptable to leave a new job before six months if it doesn’t live up to your expectations.

Many employees jumped to new jobs offering big salaries without weighing the pros and cons. Accepting a new job because of a belief that “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence” can set employees up to regret a career move. To avoid the great regret, employees should take the time to conduct due diligence to be as certain as possible that the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence.

This due diligence should include asking the right questions during the hiring process. To evaluate a company and job fit, it is important to get clarity on factors such as:

  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Performance measurement
  • Training and development programs
  • Availability of mental and physical health resources
  • Company culture
  • Flexible working policies and work-life balance

Most important for workers considering a job shift in today’s fast-moving recruiting and hiring environment, is to ensure that their expectations of the job match up with what the prospective employer expects. Job candidates should discuss their understanding of what their role and responsibilities will be and what their day-to-day will look like with the hiring manager or recruiter to confirm that this understanding aligns with the requirements of the job.

Succeeding in the Post-Pandemic Landscape of Work: Employers

The great regret is also impacting companies. Amid the great resignation and the resulting tightening of the labor market, some companies took shortcuts in the recruiting process to snap up talent before they were hired elsewhere. Nearly two in five businesses (39%) report hiring someone they otherwise would not have in order to fill an open position, according to a new survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

Hiring fast is not the answer. Enterprises must now not only focus on their business value proposition but on their employee value proposition. Companies that develop purpose-driven cultures that allow employees to find meaning in their work, provide greater flexibility and offer healthier work-life balance will be best positioned to attract and retain top talent.

To improve talent and business outcomes and succeed in the post-pandemic landscape of work, companies will need to embrace what research firm Gartner calls a human centric work model.

A more human-centric work model is in part, one that is adapted to meet employee demands for flexibility. Remote work provides the flexibility that attracts talent and reduces turnover. A survey by CareerBuilder found that 77% of job seekers evaluating job opportunities place at least some importance on the option for remote work with 21% saying it's absolutely essential when determining if a role is right for them.

To successfully support remote work, companies will need to invest in collaboration tools designed to keep employees engaged and productive. Communication and collaboration solutions that help connect, align, update, and inform employees are critical to fostering employee engagement and essential to seamless workflows that maximize productivity. The right tools can help deliver the agile, flexible business communication at scale needed to provide the best employee experience.

Today, successfully navigating the post-pandemic landscape of work will require employees and employers to adapt. To find the right job fit and avoid regret, employees will need to vet job opportunities to ensure these opportunities align with their priorities and needs. For employers, attracting and retaining talent now centers on creating a work environment that supports employee well-being and providing tools designed to increase work flexibility, maximize productivity and improve employee satisfaction and engagement.

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