The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way businesses are operating, and sometimes for the better. Despite unemployment reaching record-level lows, the nation is still struggling with recruiting and retaining new employees in order to address the ongoing labor shortage. The Great Resignation is not because people simply do not want to work anymore. It is because what is required from employers has drastically changed.
While some states imposed stay-at-home orders, essential workers such as facilities managers did not have the luxury of being able to work from home. While putting their own safety at risk, managers had to work through limited staffing, budget cuts and shifting protocols while having to produce the same or improved outcomes. More workers are experiencing burn-out at higher rates, sometimes leaving them with no other option but to quit.
“Even pre-COVID, many healthcare facilities managers wore so many hats that they were unable to do justice to the role, got burned out and left the industry,” says Shay Rankhorn, senior director of facilities management, Quorum Health and president of American Society for Healthcare Engineering. “That is increasing with the additional burden of COVID-related issues, and many are asked to take on even more responsibility without both commensurate salary and staffing to support the increase to bandwidth.”
A report from Gartner found that 20 percent more of people (37.4 million) will quit their jobs this year compared to pre-pandemic average of 31.9 million people. Employees are looking for more flexibility when it comes to their schedule. Whether it is the location, working hours or days worked, employees are looking for jobs that better accommodate their personal needs. In the survey, 16 percent of employees said that they were willing to quit their current jobs if required to work fully on site and 8 percent even said that they would quit if they were required to work partially on-site.
“Work life balance has always been a core pillar for millennials, and even Generation X is beginning to realize the benefit,” Rankhorn says. “The next generation wants even more flexibility and the freedom to solve problems and approach work in a different way. This means healthcare facilities need to abandon traditional mindsets and allow innovation from those generations that result in high productivity without creating burnout.
In order to better recruit and retain new talent, managers must be willing to put employees’ well-being at the forefront. Allowing for new policies that prevent burnout while enabling employees to flourish in their careers will create a workplace environment where people want to stay.
“Look at the employee with all aspects of their life in mind,” Rankhorn says. “Look at them as a person who performs at a much higher level and more consistently when they have work/life balance, when they have help dealing with the stress of the job without shaming or limiting their career growth potential.”