Nothing like a pandemic to make people realize they have different wants and need very few things.
Last year when no one knew how long lockdowns would remain in force and employees worked from home, WatchMojo “encouraged” employees to start taking their vacation days even if just to chillax at home, partly to avoid burning out. It was normal for employees to want to hoard their days off until year’s end, but any student of history knew that a pandemic wouldn’t last months, but years. Indeed, as we are in year two of Covid-19, reality is international travel is a write-off for 2021, as well, with most experts suggesting 2023 before we have a return to the old travel levels of 2019 (and that’s for leisure, business travel may not reach pre-Covid levels for years). By being realistic, we were able to reduce the effects of burnout even though on the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, many people (within and outside of WatchMojo) felt the effects of burning out. I personally had stretched myself too thin, and starting in the spring, began to change my work habits to feel less worn out.
With vaccinations on the rise and some parts of the world seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I agree that you may now see a wave of resignations from those who were either planning on quitting regardless when the pandemic hit (but then stayed put fearing uncertain times) or whom now realize their life priorities have changed. Let’s face it: human beings have very few needs but unlimited wants. Western society, of note, has encouraged a conspicuous consumption and keeping-up-with-the-Joneses which isn’t healthy, or sustainable. Yes, some are itching to hop back on flights, shop ’til they drop and so on, but an equally large portion of society may realize that the so-called rat race isn’t for them.
Indeed, according to Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University who’s studied the exits of hundreds of workers:
"The great resignation is coming. When there’s uncertainty, people tend to stay put, so there are pent-up resignations that didn’t happen over the past year.” The numbers are multiplied, he says, by the many pandemic-related epiphanies—about family time, remote work, commuting, passion projects, life and death, and what it all means—that can make people turn their back on the 9-to-5 office grind. We asked Klotz what to expect as the great resignation picks up speed."
Turnover is a normal and healthy part of an organization’s evolution. I personally never had the stomach to let people go, but that is more a reflection of my Nature and Nurture. Nonetheless, despite our overall stellar retention record (same 5 founders still around 15 years later, 20%+ of staff have remained for 10+ years), after a period of massive expansion and hiring, we would see above average turnover (though many of those would have probably not survived in a more cut-throat environment, but that’s a separate topic of conversation). I don’t know if given Montreal’s already laid back environment this will affect WatchMojo, but if you operate a business in a fast-paced city and industry, I would surely start planning contingency plans for replacing personnel as no matter what you do, the universe is a brave new world post-Covid and nothing you will say or do will resonate with some people who just want to walk to the beat of their own drum… which is a healthy sign of the cycle of life – and industry, companies, and people!
We spend more time with colleagues than family; Covid upended that a bit by working from home.
Some will want to return to a more balanced breakdown between colleagues/family, others may want to keep this new home-centric equation. Ultimately, as a leader/manager/coach, if you want to attract good people and retain the best, leadership will boil down to respect, appreciation, empathy and compassion, while management will succeed if you can provide a path to development, fulfilment, and purpose.