Becoming a Strong Leader and Shifting Fast in a Chaotic Job Market

I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the Great Resignation and the truth is that I am a part of it! I left my corporate job in June 2021 because I realized how quickly life can change and how important it is for me to seize the day. Follow my passions and purpose and live the life I’ve always dreamt of. So let’s dive into it…

What is the Great Resignation?

Anthony Klotz, an organizational psychologist and professor at Texas A&M University, used the phrase during an interview with Bloomberg last May to describe all of the people quitting their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. With everyone working from home, people finally got the opportunity to really think about what they want out of their careers, from where they work to why they’re doing what they do.

What we didn’t realize was that the Great Resignation would continue to happen. In November 2021, a record 4.5 million workers left their jobs, according to the US Labor Department’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover report.

“It’s not just about getting another job, or leaving the workforce, it’s about taking control of your work and personal life, and making a big decision – resigning – to accomplish that…This is a moment of empowerment for workers, one that will continue well into the new year,” Klotz tells CNBC Make It.

Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn’s CEO, calls it the Great Reshuffle, and this is what he had to say:

“The world is entering into a talent migration that’s bigger than anything we’ve seen before. We call it the #GreatReshuffle, an unprecedented moment in the history of work where all of us are rethinking not just how we work, but why we work. To me, this is a great thing. More people will be doing work they love at companies they feel passionate about, leading to greater success for organizations who engage their employees with empathy and trust.”

Whether you call it the The Great Resignation, The Great Reimagination, The Great Reset, The Great Realization, or The Great Revaluation, we’re all taking a hard look at what work really means in our lives and how we want to spend our time ‘working’. 

How to seize the opportunity during The Great Resignation

Yes there are millions and millions of people resigning their jobs and either starting businesses or finding new positions that align with their passions and mission in life.

It’s not going to stop, and it’s reshaping the workplace every single day. But there’s another “Great” happening simultaneously that will also reshape not just the jobs that we do but the way that we do them and I’m dubbing it ‘The Great Redistribution’.

No longer will businesses and corporations be in a single centralized location. From now on, we’re going to have to become used to the new emerging hybrid workplace. And I’m thrilled with this. I pretty much lost a job because I was working remotely a few years ago, and it was very disappointing. For companies to turn away great talent just because they’re not in the same location seemed normal in 2017. And I’m thrilled in 2022 that isn’t the case anymore. It sucked to feel that a company couldn’t support me as I pursued a family life, and I think it’s critical that companies support what their talent desires so we create a win -win situation for all.

Employers and employees alike are going to have to adapt to this new environment and start to create the best practices to maintain production, maintain morale and keep moving forward. With everyone distributed all over the place, there is more opportunity and even more of a need for great leadership throughout this process.

So here are my top tips to help you, your company and your employees thrive in this new workplace paradigm.

1) Prioritize over communication

The one thing that’s crucial to keeping chaos from creeping in and keeping momentum is constant communication. And not just communication – over communication. Especially if you have a hybrid workplace with a corporate office and remote workers, there is incredible need from the leadership team to set a plan and guide the team through the changes. This means encouraging everyone to communicate openly and providing a forum for discussion, together and individually. There are amazing tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom and you get to set the tone for how everyone works together. For instance, a video on policy unless there is an interruption or valid reason to be off video. The more we can communicate as humanly as possible, the stronger the productivity will be.  

2) Encourage and motivate your teams

Sure that edible bouquet was awesome back in the day, but now you’ve got the chance to be creative and find ways to motivate and encourage your teams to keep up productivity and enjoy coming to work every day. If you have people in the office, find a way to make their time more flexible and give them some of the benefits of homework. Remote workers have different issues. Many find themselves spending all day in their pajamas or start feeling like hermits. Get creative and drop a spa day, or activity on them to keep them moving, it will go a long way!

When I was at Gartner, our leadership team nominated someone each month who was doing an awesome job and they got an awesome snack box sent to their home from Snack Magic. It was a great way for everyone to compliment each other and to get a small reward for our hard work. Little things go a long way.

3) Rework your processes and roles

Things have changed. Period. You can’t expect to stay ahead of the curve by applying the exact same processes and strategies that you had in place before the pandemic. This is your chance to dramatically change the dynamic in your company and for ALL of your employees to optimize their performance and ultimately increase your bottom line. For instance, many roles can be reclassified into employee segments by considering the value that remote working could deliver:

  • Fully remote
  • Hybrid remote
  • Hybrid remote by exception (can be done remote if needed)
  • On site (not eligible for remote work)

You also have to think about the digital tool available. Most likely teams are using a variety of products and this can be helpful and confusing. The more you can centralize your tooling and make it easy for people to communicate virtually, the better.

4) Focus on the people and skilling them  

Isn’t it better to get a great person for a role than to focus on a geographical location?! McKinsey talks about the 4 categories above and how you can provide up-skilling for fully remote and hybrid remote. That means providing virtual training opportunities, mentorship and a professional development budget for them to get skilled up in their function. With this model, talented people can live in the cities of their choice while they still work for leading organizations. You can think about monthly trip to headquarters or a meeting with colleagues at a shared destination so that you’re still building morale and providing professional development. This approach could be a winning proposition for both employers and employees.

5) Create your personal brand now!

We’re in the age of personal branding my friends. What does that mean? It means that people hire other people and buy from other people. The company brand is becoming less and less important unless you’re a house hold name like Nike or Amazon. And even at those huge companies, customers want to connect with a real human being and know they’re getting a personal touch. No matter where you sit in an organization, from the administrative assistant to engineer to CEO, your personal brand is what will stand the test of time. It’s your story. It’s your why. It’s all of your skills and experiences coming to life on your LinkedIn profile and on that Zoom meeting. So please start to think about it! Figure out what are your super powers and start building a presence on LinkedIn at the very least in case you decide to be a part of this Great Resignation. And reach out to me if you need some help 😉

Overall, The Great Redistribution is putting more power than ever before in the people. Now more your voice matters and it’s time for you to own it! Be open, be creative and find the solutions that work for YOU in your company and throughout your organization, now is the time to embrace change and flourish!

And don’t forget, we are fast approaching our brand-new Standout Authority Workshop next week February 10th that’s going to supercharge your personal brand. We’ll walk you through creating a rockstar LinkedIn profile so that you get noticed AND teach you our secret Engagement Engine.  Click here and get all the details, and I would love to see you there in person!