The great reshuffle is a far more accurate description of what’s happening than the great resignation (sadly, I didn’t coin that!). And for those of you running companies, once you get over the initial pain, you should welcome it.
It is genuinely amazing for humanity that so many are stepping back and intentionally deciding on what their life priorities are, and what is the best way to serve those priorities.
When I took on a team that was haemorrhaging staff, one of the first conversation I had with almost each team member one on one was about whether this was a fit for them, and acknowledging that they were likely looking elsewhere. And for sure, many went on to leave. But others joined who believed in where we were headed, and the team dynamic got us from a place where we were churning at double the industry average to a one where our churn rate was about a third of the average.
And from my own perspective, each time I stepped back to reevaluate my work and how it fitted into my life and values, it got me to a better place – including staying put. The fact that this is happening to so many is a great thing.
Provided of course that it is intentional. Meaning that they realise that the grass is greener where you water it, which may not always be on the other side. And they decide to start watering whichever side they commit to.
So much for the employee’s perspective. But if you’re the MD or CEO, then your perspective is probably different.
If the mass resignation hits the company you founded or run, it can quickly feel like a bad thing. And in the short term, it is. In at least two ways.
First, it’s only the great reshuffle if you get new people joining you. If you don’t, then the great resignation is definitely more your thing, and you’ve got bigger problems that you need to solve.
Second, even if you do get people joining you, there will be a cost in hiring and, if you’re a knowledge-based company, in loss of continuous intellectual capital which needs to be rebuilt.
But in the mid to long term, most of those joining you will be doing so with the same intentionality as those who’ve left you. Meaning they’re going to a place that’s more aligned, and a better fit for their aspirations.
And that should be really welcome news.
Because, to stretch the metaphor to more convoluted places, if you can show them that watering the grass where you are is going to create lush meadows, you’ll have the most willing gardeners.
And you just need to make sure that you can deliver on that trajectory!
Caveat. I realise I’m writing (and you’re probably reading) from a place of privilege. The vast majority of the world is in far more precarious work, where the great reshuffle isn’t an option, and where countless have lost their jobs as demand collapsed. The luxury of stepping back to re-evaluate is much less important than just feeding yourself and your family.
How's 2022 going? Have you been able to step back and focus on strategy, on purpose, on scale? We're looking for an intimate beta group of CEOs (10 to 40 employees) to join us on this workshop to talk through our Build on Purpose framework for making strategy, purpose and values happen. If that's you, join us.