Employers Facing a New Kind of Pandemic


By Jennifer Jacobus, PHRca, SDEA Director of HR Services.

To add fuel to an already blazing fire, employers are facing a new “pandemic” that is being referred to as the Great Resignation.  A Microsoft survey of more than 30,000 global workers showed that 41% of workers were considering quitting or changing professions this year, and a study from HR software company Personio of workers in the UK and Ireland showed 38% of those surveyed planned to quit in the next six months to a year. In the US alone, April saw more than four million people quit their jobs, according to a summary from the Department of Labor – the biggest spike on record.

The reasons for this mass exodus are many and can indirectly be blamed on COVID.  Many employees lost their jobs or had their hours cut and therefore don’t feel loyalty to their former employers.  Employees who were furloughed or who were ordered to work from home have re-assessed their priorities.  Some workers decided to focus on their family by being a stay-at-home parent; others opted for early retirement and some simply decided not to return to their employers for the betterment of their health and mental well-being. Other workers have had time to reflect on the work situation and have decided that now is a good time to leave a job that they don’t really love and finally go for their dream job.  

There are reasons employees are leaving that are out of the employer’s control.  However, employers should be concerned by those workers who are leaving the company because of the way they feel they have been treated; whether how the employer handled business during the pandemic or maybe (reflecting back) the employee feels under-valued, mis-treated or even harassed or bullied.  Additionally, employees, in most cases, do not want to return to the office; employees had a taste of remote work which allowed them a more balanced lifestyle.  Those employers that are requiring  staff back to the office, when the employees know that work-from-home was successful, are losing these employees to companies that provide a remote work option.

Many of the situations described above can been managed.  Do you know how your employee’s feel?  Are you conducting Exit Interviews or even better, Stay Interviews?  Are you taking employee complaints seriously and conducting investigations when appropriate?  How about an Employee Satisfaction Survey?  SDEA can help.  SDEA offers Employee Satisfaction Surveys in a confidential manner for your employees, typically allowing greater and more honest feedback.  The survey can be broken down by department, location, length of service, supervisory and non-supervisory and employee status, i.e. full time or temporary.  This enables us to identify where the issues are specifically derived without losing the confidentiality of the participants.  Additionally, there are open-ended questions at the end of the survey that can be customized to meet the needs of your organization for gathering specific data.  The survey provides benchmarking against other San Diego employers so you can see where you stand.

There is another problem employers are facing.  With the shortage of available workers, employees are being lured away by your competitors for higher wages and better benefits.  While there may not be a lot of flexibility in your budget, this may be worth looking in to.  Are you paying market wages?  Are you in-line with what your competitors are paying?  Does it matter to you?  All questions to ask yourself.  SDEA partners with Salary.com who can provide you with information on competitive pay and benefit programs.  Your first three reports are free and there is an SDEA discount after that.

If you are looking for guidance on any of the issues discussed here, please give us a call; we are here to help!

Contact us: 858.505.0024