Blog | HR |
10 Min Read
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July 7, 2023

The Great Resignation Is Over!

by Morris Isaacson

The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a phenomenon that sent the entire healthcare industry into a tailspin in 2020: the Great Resignation. As staff shortages and burnout caused qualified healthcare workers to quit their jobs and the industry as a whole in record numbers, many healthcare organizations found their capabilities stretched to the max and their revenue plummeting.

 

But all hope isn’t lost. The public health emergency declaration related to COVID-19 finally ended on March 11, 2023. And with it, the overwhelming wave of quits subsided as well. 

That’s right, the Great Resignation is finally over – and not a moment too soon. But what evidence is there to prove it, and how can you pivot as the labor market cools down? Read on to find the answers.

The Fall of Resignations in the Post-Pandemic Era

 

There’s no denying that workers quit in record numbers in 2021 and 2022. Resignations rose to peak heights in 2022, which was dubbed the ”real year” of the Great Resignation by CNBC.

Thankfully, the wave of employees quitting their jobs — which defined the pandemic-era labor market — seems to be subsiding. 

 

The April U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) revealed that the “quits rate” — the proportion of monthly voluntary resignations relative to total employment — fell back to its pre-pandemic average in April 2023.

 

According to the survey, this rate decreased from 2.5% in March to 2.4% in April, a notable contrast to the peak 3% rate from April 2022. The rate currently aligns closely with the monthly average seen before the pandemic, which hovered between 2.3% and 2.4% in 2019.

 

However, this doesn’t mean that all is well. Some employees have regretted their decisions to quit during the pandemic. One recent survey revealed that nearly 90% of young Generation Z workers regret quitting their job and are experiencing declining mental health as a result. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and many found themselves in less-than-ideal situations.

Changing Labor Conditions Stem the Wave of the Great Resignation

 

So what changed about the underlying labor conditions to stem the tide of resignations? The answer lies in the evolving dynamics of the job market.

 

Smaller Pay Increases for Job Hoppers

 

According to a May 2023 report from ADP Research Institute, pay gains for workers who jump jobs are now smaller than they were during the pandemic. Job hoppers gained only 12.1% in pay in May, which was 1% lower than in the previous month. 

 

When compared with the peak rate of 16.3% in 2022, the change is substantial. As job hoppers gain less money from leaving their jobs and companies stop using drastic strategies to attract new workers, workers’ incentive to quit becomes weaker.

 

A Rebalanced Labor Market

 

The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing Great Resignation created a red-hot labor market, in which the number of available positions was high while available skilled workers were hard to come by. However, the labor market is finally balancing out, with a more even distribution of demand and supply.

 

ADP Research Institute reported that job openings are down 20% compared to March 2022 — from a peak of 12 million postings to 9.6 million postings.

 

While this number is still large, the significant decrease signifies the gradual rebalancing of the labor market and the quelling of the Great Resignation.

Shifting Focus During Labor Market Rebalancing

 

During the height of the Great Resignation, many healthcare companies experimented with more robust benefits packages and significant pay increases in order to get talented workers in the door. However, as the labor market continues to regain its balance, forward-looking HR teams are pivoting their attention to craft more effective workforce retention strategies.   

With more employees choosing to stay at their jobs, the focus should now be on employee empowerment. This means creating an environment in which employees feel valued, heard, and motivated to perform their best. It’s about giving them the tools and opportunities they need to grow and succeed in their roles.

 

Fighting Employee Disengagement Through Empowerment

 

It’s important to note that many of the employees who are choosing to stay in their positions are disengaged. They may be staying out of necessity rather than choice, which can lead to decreased productivity and morale. 

 

A recent Gallup poll revealed that 59% of workers are “quiet quitting,” while 18% are “loud quitting” — remaining in their positions but quietly or actively remaining disengaged. 

This is where employee empowerment comes in to increase engagement. So how can you empower your employees?

 

Promote Open Communication

 

First, encourage your team to voice its ideas and concerns. Open dialogue fosters a sense of belonging and can lead to innovative solutions.

 

Invest in Professional Development

 

Show your employees that you’re invested in their growth. Offer training programs, workshops, or tuition reimbursement to help them expand their skills and knowledge. 

 

Recognize and Reward

 

Your employees like to be appreciated, which is an essential part of building a positive, collaborative work culture. Regularly recognize your employees’ efforts and achievements through a simple “thank you” or a more formal recognition program. 

 

Encourage a Work-Life Balance

 

Burnout is a real issue that affects a large majority of healthcare workers. You can combat burnout and the resulting loss of engagement and productivity by encouraging a healthy work-life balance. This could mean offering flexible work hours, promoting wellness programs, or simply respecting employees’ time off.

 

Employee empowerment isn’t a one-time initiative — it’s a culture that needs to be nurtured over time. But with these steps, you’ll be well on your way to building a more empowered and engaged workforce.

4 Ways Employee Empowerment Pays Off

 

Changing a company’s culture can be a time-consuming and cost-intensive endeavor, but it’s well worth the price. It brings about numerous benefits to your organization, setting it up for success now and in the future.

 

Enhanced Employee Satisfaction

 

One of the most immediate benefits of employee empowerment is a significant boost in employee satisfaction. When employees feel that they have a voice and that their contributions matter, they’re more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.

 

This satisfaction can lead to increased loyalty and lower turnover rates, saving you time and the costs associated with hiring and training new employees.

 

Increased Productivity and Quality of Care

 

Empowered employees are often more productive. They’re motivated, engaged, and willing to go the extra mile.

 

In the healthcare industry, this increased productivity directly translates to improved patient care. Empowered healthcare professionals are more likely to take the initiative, solve problems, and provide high-quality care to their patients.

 

Greater Innovation

 

When employees feel empowered, they’re more likely to think creatively and propose new ideas. This can lead to innovative solutions that improve patient care, streamline operations, and keep you at the forefront of the industry.

 

Improved Reputation

 

Finally, empowered employees are more likely to speak positively about you, attracting top talent to your organization. Additionally, the improved patient care resulting from employee empowerment can boost patient satisfaction, leading to positive reviews and a strong reputation in the community.

Get Better Staff Retention through Employee Empowerment 

 

The Great Resignation has indeed ended, but the lessons it has taught us remain. The healthcare industry has weathered the storm, and as we move forward, it’s clear that the focus needs to shift from merely attracting talent to retaining the talent we have. 

 

Employee empowerment is the key to addressing the challenge of staff retention, and the payoff is significant. It leads to enhanced employee satisfaction, increased productivity, higher-quality care, greater innovation, and a better reputation. In a post-Great Resignation world, these benefits aren’t just desirable — they’re essential.

 

As we look forward to the future, it’s clear that employee empowerment isn’t just a trend — it’s the best course of action. It’s the key to building resilient healthcare organizations that can weather any storm and provide quality care well into the future. So let’s embrace this opportunity to empower our employees and build a brighter future for healthcare.


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