The article was originally posted on Forbes Coaches Council.
Over four million resignations. That’s the statistic of talented employees handing in their exit notices, making a change for seemingly greener pastures.
What’s causing this Great Resignation? How do professional service firms respond as top talent looks for a new home? How can you make this a windfall of talent and a growth opportunity?
What Do We Know About The Great Resignation?
Global job-finder Monster reports that over 95% of employees are considering a job change. The most visible effect of this is what is now called the Great Resignation, a wave of employees leaving their jobs.
As many as one in four U.S.-based employees is preparing to quit their jobs in fall 2021. That could translate to over 15 million U.S. professionals making a job change over the next six months.
Professional service firms need to prepare for the craziest game of musical chairs.
What Leaders Are Saying About The Great Resignation
I’ve talked with firms all over North America about what this disruption of talent means for their business, and the responses are mixed, at best. Some firms, more than I expected, are calling this Great Resignation a destabilizer to their workforce.
I’m hearing senior leaders mourn the talent they’ll “inevitably” lose.
That mindset is trapped in scarcity and can lead to more negative thinking. If a talented rising leader doesn’t see a future at your firm, they’re going to leave you.
It’s crucial to switch from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset.
The good news is many firms are seeing this as a golden moment, up-leveling their talent pool.
How Can Firms Take Advantage Of The Great Resignation?
The reality is there are people currently at your firm who are not the right fit for your future. Whether it’s character flaws, underperformance or simply a lack of initiative or drive, they’re not long for your firm. This is your chance to help show them the future in a tactful, truthful way and support their efforts in finding a better fit down the road.
This also creates a conversation starter for you to connect with your team members. Do they like working for your firm? What brought them to work with you? What compels them to stay? What ideas and recommendations do they have to make the firm an even better place to work? This gives you the inside track to know what talented contributors may see in your firm’s future.
With the right preparation and plan of action, your firm could be an irresistible landing place for the most qualified group of candidates.
How To Prepare To Be The Most Attractive Firm For New Talent
If you want to be the most attractive, you need to know your best qualities. That’s true in dating — and it’s equally true for recruiting. Not all firms are created equal. What makes your firm uniquely attractive?
There are several factors worth revisiting and potentially changing to up-level your firm’s appeal to candidates.
1. Your Work-From-Home/Hybrid Workplace Arrangement
Rising young talent saw a new opportunity when lockdowns forced them to work from home. Now, any firm that expects its employees to be back to pre-Covid-19 office hours five days a week is on track for a massive talent exodus. Going back to pre-Covid-19 office hours is a terrible idea, as I’ve written about before. Your firm needs to have an excellent back-to-the-office workplace plan that factors in a truly hybrid workforce.
Working from home for the past year and a half has opened a door that many firms simply cannot afford to close again — not without serious pushback. What if instead of trying to go back to pre-Covid-19 workplace expectations, you leaned into this opportunity as a competitive advantage for your firm? You can create a new model.
This is far more than employees working from home. It’s how your entire firm’s culture is set up to welcome work-from-home team members. How flexible are the hours? How integrated are work-from-home team members with in-person team members and their leaders? How closely do you communicate what work arrangements are possible for current and prospective employees?
2. Your Professional Development And Mentoring Programs
Rising talent is hungry for growth. Do you have robust professional development and mentoring programs in place? The more intentional and consistent your professional development and mentoring is, the more attractive your firm will be for candidates ready to take their impact to the next level.
3. Your Culture Of Collaboration
Does your firm have a culture where new ideas are encouraged and rewarded? Do employees feel safe to contribute new ideas and perspectives? Great employees crave collaboration for success. They need the opportunity to collaborate now to be great leaders in the future.
What’s Your Back-To-The-Office Plan?
The Great Resignation overlays arguably the most unpredictable time for firms looking to bring employees back to the office. What’s your back-to-the-office plan? It can’t be only about what days and times you expect employees to be on-site with you. It must include leadership development, mentoring, navigating change, integrating your remote and in-person employees as cohesive hybrid teams and the firm’s future vision.
Part of positioning your firm to be the most attractive to top talent during the Great Resignation is knowing you have a solid back-to-the-office plan.
With the right plan, this window of opportunity may become your single greatest competitive advantage for 2021 and beyond.