A prediction by Anthony Klotz is now a reality for many work environments. In 2019, Klotz, a Mays Business School/Texas A&M professor, predicted the ‘Great Resignation”. To validate his prediction, in August 2021, the U.S. Labor Department produced findings that showed more than 4.3 million Americans just quit their jobs. Some reasons for this attrition could be “… there are thousands of individuals who are simply fed up. They are overworked, they feel underappreciated, because many workers are in high-wage industries and are working incredibly long hours, there is a significant number of people who are just quitting.” (Jay Zagorsky).
The above statement by Zagorsky is on point. Many workers today have begun to understand that ‘livelihood’ should be something different from what some milieus in the workforce have become. However, the boldness of those who seek out another way to be alive in spirit while remaining responsible financially is, yes, surprising. Yet, many still sit behind their cubicles, wondering what it would be like to seek out other avenues of employment.
In this era of fury quitting, some organizations at the brunt of this exodus continue to vent about the people who left them high and dry. Yet, these same organizations are unwilling to reevaluate what needs to change to retain staff members in the future. Today’s way we do work must be created and maintained differently. Some staff members remain grossly unsatisfied, and therefore, just walk away.
If employees desire to grow, develop effective mentorships and programs to assist in these processes. If staff members are concerned with work environments and culture, take the time to understand why and commit to making positive changes. Be humble! For office workers who must stay home to care for children or become the primary caregiver for a family member, propose flextime for these individuals. Some people work better at night, while others are more productive during the day. Take the time to record what works best for everyone faced with specific challenges—some simple suggestions to enhance the challenge of how to keep employees happy.
In these times, leaders must become more trusting, compassionate, and empathetic to the daily conditions of their teams. Studies show that these characteristics can only exist with less advice and more specific questions. Because it is essential to understand what drives staff members and what destroys motivation.
Stanier (2016) suggested that staff members be consistently coached as a development process. His consistent coaching method is to ask seven specific questions. These essential questions are:
- What’s on your mind?
- And, what else?
- What’s the real challenge here for you?
- What do YOU want?
- How can I help?
- If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?
- What was most useful to you?
Here we see the most critical context in these questions is the need of the staff member, not the need or desire of the leader. The leader is open as she/he listens to responses and builds from the responses, while continuing to hold the employee’s answers in the utmost care.
Today more than ever, how employment is identified and produced is genuinely changing. Of course, daily lived experiences show this is true in every aspect of life. Therefore, to enhance how we work, leaders must be willing to scale up the experience of work itself. Not only could this be satisfying for employees, but this one step has proven to make life so much more pleasant for the employer.
The word livelihood derives from the Middle English -livelod, and the Old English word of līflād, meaning conduct of life. Lively + hood, our spirited cover (or hood, a place of dwelling in Ebonics) should be the end goal. It appears that in some work experiences, the modern incidents of work are far from livelihood’s original meaning. However, with commitment, strategic planning, and implementation, leaders willing to make a difference can return to this word’s authentic understanding. Industrial-Organizational (I-O) psychologists offer well-practiced and effective services to help you do work better. Learn how here.
Do Work well!
Dr. M. Charlotte Oliver
Stanier, M. B. (2016). The coaching habit. Say less, ask more & change the way we lead forever. Box of Crayons Press
Stark, A. (2021). Anthony Klotz on the Great Resignation. Retrieved from https://www.siop.org/Research-Publications/Items-of-Interest/ArtMID/19366/ArticleID/5519/Anthony-Klotz-on-the-Great-Resignation
Zagorsky, J (2021). comments can be found in this article https://boston.cbslocal.com/2021/11/17/great-resignation-workers-quitting/