The ‘great resignation’ was a phrase none of us had heard of until the ripple effects of the pandemic started to sweep through our organisations and the companies we work for. Now if you put it into Google you can trawl through 4,110,000,000 results to understand what it is and the impact it has had on the world of work
Time moves quickly and we now find ourselves moving from the great resignation to the great re-evaluation, employees aren’t just quitting, they are consciously re-evaluating their careers, what they want to do, when they want to do it and what they really want from their work lives.
Whilst the great resignation was defined by employees exiting organisations after feeling burnout from the long hours and workload over the last two years, what now defines the great re-evaluation and what do employers need to be thinking about as they
Finding purpose in your career
How to find purpose in your career? This is a big question and it’s safe to say that it’s not a one size fits all answer when it comes to careers.
Decisions about career change are personal and what works for one person, will be completely different for the other.
However, there is a commonality in what is driving these decisions for people.
Part of the examination that has been happening for employees is asking themselves how all the parts of their life fit together. How do my work goals support my personal goals? And vice versa. Are they aligned or do they feel mismatched? What does that tell me about the alignment I have in my life and how do I want it to be different?
People are questioning what is important and in doing so taking a much broader perspective in answering that, the paycheck and security are still important but it’s not everything. People are in search of a feeling of balance and synergy between the different parts of their lives, in essence, they want to bring their whole selves and lives to work.
To re-evaluate something means to evaluate something or someone again, especially with regard to changes or new information.
Given the level of change and disruption people have experienced employees are evaluating what the purpose of their career is in relation to their world now. Having a purpose in our careers is what makes us happy and it’s bigger than just us. Finding meaning in your career is about how what you do impacts those around you, your team, your family, and your clients.
Career fulfilment can often feel like the elusive holy grail and something that is an added bonus if discovered.
For many, it has become the starting point rather than the endpoint when choosing which path to take in their careers. The focus is on finding a career that aligns with your personal values. Often the disconnect that is experienced when someone is feeling unfulfilled in their career can be put down to a “values miss-alignment”, essentially it just doesn’t feel right.
What does the great re-evaluation mean for employers?
So, if we are in a time of high velocity and uncertainty what does that mean for organisations who are not only focused on retaining their employees but who are also focused on recovery and growth?
Engaging with employees in open and honest conversation is essential in understanding engagement. Leaders who can listen and lead with empathy will not only be able to understand the current landscape better but will strengthen the connection and relationship they have with their employees.
And if there is one thing we have all been deprived of living through the pandemic that is connection.
It’s not only employees that are re-evaluating their purpose, organisations are too.
What is it that you set out to achieve and why should your employees get behind your endeavours. What’s it all for and why does it matter now? Getting clarity in this, involving your employees, listening to what they have to say, adapting, responding and building together, what it is that you are there to do, will enable employees to connect to your vision.
No one size fits all
Careers are not linear, the traditional 9-5, career ladder has gone. Employees' drivers for their careers are shifting and changing. There is an opportunity for employers to embrace this shift, to be open-minded and embrace diversity because by doing so they will access a wider range of experience and skills from those career-changers who are looking for something else, something different, something more.
When everything feels uncertain what do we know.
We know that what our careers mean to us has changed. The horse has well and truly bolted.
We know that the great re-evaluation is not just about the long hours and the burnout, it’s bigger than that, it's a process of discovery and search to find what brings happiness and meaning to our lives.
Finally, we know that there is an opportunity for employers to re-evaluate their approach, to really listen, to seek to understand and embrace the differences, the career breaks, the pivots, the switches and the gaps, and in doing so be better and greater for it.
Anna Hewitt, Founder of Steps into Strides, works with ambitious professionals who want to achieve the next step in their career with confidence and clarity. Anna works with individuals on a 1:1 basis and offers team and group coaching for organisations looking to support, nurture and grow their staff.