That millennials “don’t want to work” has become a cliché in the HR world, and—like all clichés—it’s tired and inaccurate. It’s not that those born between 1980 and 1995 don’t want jobs, it’s that they don’t want jobs that rob them of living. This key distinction is what is driving “The Great Resignation,” so dominant in today’s news cycle. It’s also what’s driving up the anxiety of traditional employers. If you’re a law firm worried about employee retention, you’re not alone…and yet you also might be missing the point. A volatile job market is only a problem for those unwilling (or unaware) of how to react. Those taking proactive measures, on the other hand, are set to profit and—if their strategy is on point—set to profit big.
What’s Driving “The Great Resignation”
Workers are quitting in droves. Between April and May of 2020, 4.3 million people handed in their resignations. During this same period in 2021, this number spiked to 7.5 million. Experts predict that this is only the beginning, and the reason has everything to do with the pandemic. A deadly illness paired with 18 months of working from home has led folks to realize that life is short and the office isn’t a great place to spend it. Employers that don’t want to fall victim to this trend need to acknowledge this concern and respond accordingly.
Employee Retention is All About Communication
Every individual poised to join “The Great Resignation” will have unique reasons for doubting their job, but well-being will be a common thread. If you can get to the bottom of what your employees want out of their position, you can also likely get them to stay. This means asking your team a few key questions:
- What does being recognized and appreciated mean to you?
- What skills are you proud of and how can our office help you cultivate them in the interest of your professional growth?
- How can our team meet your need for authentic relationships and interpersonal fulfillment?
- Given the chance, how would you re-design your job in the interest of finding real meaning in your work?
You won’t be able to meet all of the needs identified in responses to these questions but the mere act of asking will go far in tending to team morale. What’s more, you are likely to discover that more often than not you can provide solutions, and doing so via collaborative communication will go far in stemming employee turnover.
Retaining Employees is Not the Only Goal
While starting a conversation that identifies your team’s evolving needs and dissuades them from jumping ship is a huge win, the benefits of doing so go further. Those millions that are quitting their jobs still need to pay their bills, and while some are moving into vans and touring the country on a shoestring budget, many more are simply looking for a better place to live out their working lives. By renovating your firm’s culture and instituting new policies that respond to worker needs, you create a golden opportunity for the heaps of talent that are hitting the hiring pool.
Employee turnover may be at an all-time high, but this doesn’t mean all employers are set to suffer. Those that respond to the present zeitgeist not only gain ease in retaining employees, but also stand to profit from meeting workers where they wish to be met.
To learn more about employee retention in these tricky times, do not hesitate to schedule a call with me to discuss your fears, your goals, and how our variety of nationally-recognized programs for law firm leadership development, employee training and development, and law firm staffing can help you get there.