As the dust is settling on the 2020 global pandemic, many workers are finding themselves in a unique position. An abundance of job vacancies and low unemployment means people are quitting their jobs at an alarming rate.

This phenomenon has been coined “The Great Resignation” and it could affect the future of automation.

What is are the causes of The Great Resignation?

How can your business retain its talent?

Are robots part of the solution?

The Great Resignation is affecting various economies around the world. You need to prepare your business correctly to keep your best people, or you risk losing them.

Let’s look at the impact of this trend and what you can do about it…

What is The Great Resignation?

The Great Resignation is a term coined by Anthony Klotz, Professor of Business Administration at Texas A&M University. It describes the sudden surge in job resignations in multiple sectors during and after the global Covid-19 pandemic.

For many of the workers who are resigning, this happened because they deferred decisions to quit their jobs early in the pandemic. Because of economic uncertainty, they were unable or unwilling to look for new jobs at the time.

Since the pandemic has now passed (more or less), these people are quitting their jobs as this uncertainty has lifted. Many employees also grew increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs during the pandemic, further fueling this move.

How many people are leaving their jobs?

Between April 2021 and April 2022, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 71.6 million people left their jobs, with an average of 3.98 million people quitting each month.

Is this a lot? Some commentators have noted that resignations post-pandemic are only high compared to 2020, as resignations dropped during the pandemic. The Great Resignation didn’t start with the pandemic, it only exacerbated it.

But, one thing is for sure, voluntary job resignations continue to rise year by year. If you want to keep your best talent, you need to make a concerted effort to keep them.

Why is this happening? Aren’t people happy in their jobs?

Various factors have combined to create The Great Resignation.

The primary cause seems to be an intense competition for workers. This is reflected in the high number of job vacancies, coupled with a lower unemployment rate than usual. Job seekers today are presented with more employment options than they have had for a long time. This makes it less risky for people to leave their jobs because they know they can easily find another.

Another common reason that is often cited is an unsatisfactory working environment. A lack of satisfaction in their industry and poor work-life balance is also a reason people choose to leave.

Many people are also just looking for more rewarding challenges in their jobs. The Great Resignation is partly driven by people taking the opportunity to change. People want to improve their skills and continue their careers, and moving jobs is one way to do this.

The impact of The Great Resignation on your business

Depending on your specific industry, you will experience the impacts of The Great Resignation differently.

For example, within the manufacturing sector, the industries that have been most hit by resignations are non-durable goods, semiconductors, automotive, electronics, and aerospace. These industries are more likely to be affected by high job turnover rates than in some other industries.

Whatever your industry, you may feel the pinch caused by The Great Resignation in various ways…

You might find it harder to attract quality talent, being forced to raise wages to unsustainable levels to compete with larger companies in your industry. You may also face higher training costs due to having to replace senior team members with less experienced recruits.

Other potential impacts of the resignations include higher recruitment costs, increased workload for existing staff, and decreased customer satisfaction due to the lack of experienced employees.

5 potential solutions to combat The Great Resignation

How can you combat the potential negative impacts of The Great Resignation on your business?

There are several promising solutions, including:

  1. Review your hiring practices — Consider how you could improve your recruitment process to attract the best candidates. Giving more opportunities for career development — such as providing training in robotics — could make jobs more attractive.

  2. Improve employee engagement — Work to keep your team members engaged, challenged, and motivated. Involve people in projects to improve the company, such as adding robots, to make them feel an integral part of the business.

  3. Encourage young talent — The newer generations are a valuable part of the workforce. When you reward their higher digital skills with interesting projects, for example, you can reap the benefits of their skill sets.

  4. Invest in talent development — People leave jobs when they feel they are stagnating. Continuously invest in the education and development of your team members. Provide them opportunities to learn how to use new technologies.

  5. Create a positive working environment — Create a positive work environment that encourages employees to use their skills. This can include removing the dull and repetitive tasks from their workload.

By focusing on potential solutions like these, you can help to ensure that your business is well-positioned to face the challenges posed by The Great Resignation.

Operator operating a CNC machine beside a collaborative robot

How robotic automation can help you retain talent

Robotic automation can help enormously with several of the strategies listed above.

In particular, adding robots to your business can contribute to your ongoing skills and talent development. Giving workers’ dull tasks to a robot can also promote a more positive working environment, where employees feel they are using their skills and talents.

Adding a robot doesn’t need to be difficult. With robotic application kits, you can quickly add robotic automation to your business without requiring extensive robotics knowledge.

If you’re looking for ways to keep talent and attract the right candidates, consider adding robots!

How has The Great Resignation affected your business? Tell us in the comments below or join the discussion on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or the DoF professional robotics community.

Read more about this on: Workfloor: Robotics News for the Factory