How can managers and HR teams adapt to the changes of the post-pandemic, pro-remote workforce while still encouraging fun vibes at work? Slack’s senior recruiter walked us through the key insights and tips that light the way for many of us still navigating through the emoji-dominated workplace evolution.

The effects of the Great Resignation

Slide on the impact of the Great Resignation on organizations, from ShockwaveTalks: The New Post-pandemic Workforce with Sasha Townsend, Slack's Senior Recruiter

With the Great Resignation still posing challenges to organizations and HR teams, it’s helpful to pinpoint the impact this has on businesses. The shorter tenure directly impacts leadership and especially culture, which takes time to instil in the workforce. Apart from the pressure to improve retention, HR and leaders are also confronted with the challenge of building a strong culture in spite of the steady flow of new recruits. And when the new recruit happens to be a new, fresh leader, work culture and processes are shaken up even more.

“Working smarter, not harder now that everything is virtual will be really, really crucial.”

Not to mention, the added complication of the shift to a virtual work environment. What if random chats over the free coffee and cookies contributed to the warmth of the workplace? What if Brian’s lunch break shenanigans were the source of laughter that broke the ice? These organic interactions need to be reimagined for the new remote workforce. Sasha mentions an interactive game played by the new recruits at Slack to help form that bond.

Sasha believes this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are both pros and cons to these changes: Companies may venture out of their comfort zones, which can push some to become more innovative, while negatively affecting employees who thrive in those comfort zones.

Don’t gloss over the economic impact

Sasha was firm in noting that one impact of the Great Resignation that is often overlooked is its effect on the economy. Sasha quoted research from the Chicago Federal Bank that estimates the mass resignations may have influenced a 1.1% increase in inflation. As turnover affects the bottom line for businesses and the economy, we can expect a bigger spend to attract and retain talent in a competitive labor market.

Listen to Sasha's take on the effects of the Great Resignation here!

How the Great Resignation affects different generations

Generations and their risk of voluntary turnover in 2022, sourced from a study by the Boston Consulting Group

But the Great Resignation is affecting each generation differently. Sasha cites the Boston Consulting Group’s study that breaks down who is at risk of resigning from companies and zooms into Gen Z with the highest rate of 48%. The reason? Sasha says they have many opportunities available open to them as they’re just kick starting their career. Internships now also get better pay options.

Who is more likely to resign? Listen to Sasha's insights for each generation here.

It may be interesting to note that there was a special shout out made to Sales teams suffering from high turnover, especially those with longer sales cycles. As the job entails getting to know the product and its benefits well on one end, and building relationships on the other, both of which take time, turnover may have a bigger impact on productivity and revenue generation.

It’s clear that voluntary turnover needs to be nipped in the bud. To do that, we need to understand the reasons why and address the issues.

“You really got to feel that human connection. If it’s all business all the time, no one will have any fun!"

So why is everyone resigning?

Leading causes for the Great Resignation, according to the Boston Consulting Group

Going over the data from a research conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, our captivating speaker highlighted the lack of career advancement (40%) as the most common reason for voluntary turnover during the Great Resignation. In her opinion, the monotony of working from home, without a change of scenery between work and home life can take a toll on an individual and lead to a reevaluation of one’s career.

Other significant reasons are compensation (30%), flexibility (28%), work-life balance (22%) and lack of enjoyment (15%). Let’s hear Sasha’s insights on the reasons why employees are leaving.

Why are people quitting? Go through each of the top causes with Slack's Senior Recruiter, plus tips on how to address them.

What’s next? How can HR and leadership adapt to the new workforce?

How should organizations adapt to the era of the Great Resignation and beyond? Slack's Senior Recruiter gives her take.

Slack’s bright and bubbly senior recruiter sums it up in 6 points.

  1. Be innovative with Tech: “When the pandemic hit, we forgot how to communicate. My inbox was insane,” recalls Sasha With the shift to remote work, the way we communicate and build organizational culture has drastically changed. Technology is the most effective resource for companies to adapt to the new ways of communicating and promoting culture among employees.
  1. Be inclusive and champion diversity: Sasha calls on the civil rights movement as inspiration for this new focus for organizations to give equal opportunities. “What I think has been phenomenal is competence-based hiring. We’re looking for people who can do the job, not just people that have done this job before,” she explains, “Everybody is different and needs to be celebrated.”
  1. No more 9-5: “I’m big on this. I like to blend my day with work and life,” says Sasha who recounts going to work then to a yoga class and back to the virtual office, possibly working more than 8 hours a day but feeling thankful for the flexibility. She advises managers to clarify expectations with their team but encourage them not to sit at their desk all day because that isn’t healthy or productive. Organisations should be flexible in finding a harmonious balance between work and life.
  1. Workplace flexibility. Sasha recounts a day at work in the summer, sitting by a pool then back indoors for some meetings, and then working at a coffee shop to round out the day. The focus here is both mental health and productivity. Letting your employees work from wherever they feel most productive and happy helps achieve a healthyl life balance.
  1. Listen to your teams. “People will tell you what they want, and they aren’t unreasonable,” Sasha puts emphasis on the need to listen to the sentiments of employees and finding a way to better support them. Mentioning the top reason for quits: lack of career advancement, how can HR help provide more development so employees feel valued and rewarded? Is it adding a new role?
  1. Have some fun! Here Sasha cites creative examples from Slack, like a virtual event where a medium predicts the future and guesses what’s on your mind, giving colleagues shared experiences even while working online. They’re also prompted to send GIFs to describe the weekend they had.

“Working smarter, not harder now that everything is virtual will be really, really crucial,” Sasha advises. At the end of the day, we all have to roll with the punches and forge a new path to a healthy–and fun!--workplace in the new, post-pandemic environment.

The biggest evolution? We must learn how to communicate better and more efficiently.  She says, “One of the reasons I joined slack was because there was that aspect lacking of ‘how do I streamline this so I don’t feel like I’m purely responding to emails?’”

Sasha mentions the benefit of little nuances like sending emojis instead of having to write an entire response. She tells the story of using the eye emoji to a followup message to let them know she’s working on, then adding a check emoji once it’s done. She also mentions sending video or audio messages, maybe even getting on a huddle on the Slack platform as new, quicker and more efficient ways to communicate.

She says, “I’m already talking to a hundred people a day. I don’t have to have a conversation about this, but I want you to know I’m on it.”

What shouldn’t we forget from Sasha’s talk? Even in the virtual world, we need to find that human connection in our teams and we find that when we have fun and laugh together.

As Sasha says, “You really got to feel that human connection. If it’s all business all the time, no one will have any fun!”

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