The Great Resignation is a term that has been created to describe the significant increase in the number of people leaving their jobs in recent months. As workers notice people leaving jobs that don’t meet their needs and a hiring ecosystem currently favoring job seekers, they may consider doing the same.
Undoubtedly, if you choose to leave your job today, you might enjoy your pick of job opportunities. This shift could also be your opportunity to explore freelancing or work as an independent contractor.
However, this could also be the perfect time to stay right where you are. Workers who choose to remain on the job may be able to use the impacts of the great resignation to their advantage.
Employers are more Motivated to Engage Workers than Ever
While some organizations have had a disappointing response to the great resignation, many others have responded with efforts to improve company culture and do a better job of engaging employees. These efforts include:
- Reviewing and enhancing salary and benefits
- Offering flexible work schedules
- Implementing safety and health protocols that protect employees
- Adding new perks such as paid family leave
- Improving diversity equity and inclusion efforts
Most importantly, employers are receptive to input from workers and willing to make concessions to people who are willing to stay.
Talk About Salary and Benefits — Tactfully
Now is a great time for workers to talk to their employers about salary and benefits. However, it’s never a great time to use threatening to quit as leverage. That’s a bad idea and generally leads to the company taking steps to appease the worker while they actively search for their replacement.
How do you have this conversation? Start by doing your research. Learn what the market salary is for your position in your industry and your geographical area.
Is your company actively recruiting employees? What are they offering new hires? Point out where salary compression may have created an unfair gap between your pay and others.
Before you have this conversation, be prepared to show your value. Find ways to quantify your accomplishments (e.g., customer satisfaction rates) and present ways in which you’ve gone beyond your scope of duties to help the organization.
Pursue Better Work Conditions
Your employer may also be willing to reward your loyalty by making changes to improve your work conditions. Now is a great time to negotiate:
- A remote or hybrid schedule that gives you autonomy and flexibility
- Company funded upgrades to your devices and home internet to allow you to increase productivity
- Permission to delegate or permanently remove certain duties from your job description
- Assistance with tuition or other educational pursuits
- An office set up that is more comfortable and leads to better productivity
Again, even in the current climate, you’re going to want to provide suitable justification for these requests. Frame things in a way that keeps the focus on the benefit to the organization.
Stretch Your Skill Set
Your employer’s staffing needs could mean major opportunities for you. Their need for people to get things done could dovetail nicely with your goals for improving your skill set.
Ask your supervisor about considering you for cross-training, sending you to classes or seminars that could benefit both of you, or even keeping you in mind for available promotions.
They may find that they get a better return on their investment by providing you with the training you need to take on more responsibilities versus hiring and onboarding new employees. Keep in mind that these skills also benefit you if you ever do leave the organization.
Create a Professional Development Plan
Before you approach your employer with any requests or demands, make sure you know what you want. Take time to assess where you are right now as a professional, the skills you have, and how you want to develop your career going forward.
Yes, you have quite a bit of power right now, but that power isn’t unconditional. Unless you can clearly communicate what you want and what you want to see changed, your employer is likely to take you up on any threat to leave.
Also, remember that this conversation doesn’t need to be negative or confrontational. In fact, you will probably get better results if you see your employer as a potential ally in this.
Let them know what you like about your current position and what you don’t. Ask them to work with you to create a professional development plan that allows you to stay with the organization with the opportunity to transition into work that is more satisfying to you.
If you choose to stay with your employer during the great resignation, you may be able to negotiate many things in your favor. Your choice could lead to higher pay, greater learning opportunities, and more attractive benefits. It could even put you on the fast track to real career growth.
However, by making this choice, you may also be taking on quite a bit. If your employer is struggling to maintain adequate staffing, you may find yourself under increased stress as one of the employees who stayed on.
Further, you may feel pressure to exceed expectations, especially if you’ve leveraged the great resignation into a promotion or other opportunities.
Now is a great time to work hard and aggressively pursue your goals. Just make sure to balance this by making your well-being a priority. Take care of yourself. Use your vacation time and paid time off as needed. You won’t be valuable to your employer or achieve your professional goals if you’re burned out.