As the Chaos of the Great Resignation Continues, How Can Employers Find Clarity — and a Path Forward?

New study finds nearly half of workers unfulfilled; expect competitive pay and meaningful connection with organizational values

MINNEAPOLIS–The world is nearly two years into the COVID pandemic, amid continuing emotional chaos in the face of new variants, delayed back to office plans, and a sharp increase in resignations. A new study released today by RADICL and QuestionPro reveals how these seismic changes have impacted employee perceptions of jobs and lives across the U.S., and why it is critical employers take these realities seriously.

RADICL, an authority in people science and employee experience design, partnered with QuestionPro, a global leader in online survey and research services, to take the pulse of the workforce. They surveyed 1,200 full-time U.S. employees in organizations across various industries in early November, asking about their work but also about their whole self-experience; RADICL and QuestionPro believe there has been a significant blend between the two. The results reveal a restlessness among workers, with a lack of personal fulfillment and a willingness to make changes in their lives.

“There is still such uncertainty, but what we do know is that people’s desire to have a positive impact in the workplace has grown exponentially,” says RADICL co-founder Dan Riley. “We conducted this study to provide a fresh, human perspective on how together we can shape the future of work, and what individuals and organizations can do to help us effectively move forward.”

“First and foremost, organizations have to get pay right, full stop. But that’s not enough. You must also build a culture that fulfills individual purpose. If you only pay to retain someone, you might extend their time, but not capture their full commitment. You can buy people’s time, but not their passion,” adds Dan Riley. “For the strongest impact, we must simultaneously pay fairly and embrace employee values. We believe this will be one of the top issues companies must focus on immediately.”

Key insights of the survey include:

  • Glass half empty or full?: Only 47 percent of workers say they feel fulfilled with the life they’re living right now. There is also a big gender difference, with 61 percent of men saying they are fulfilled and only 40 percent of women saying the same.
  • The price of organizational and personal values misalignment: Salary was ranked as the top factor for 50 percent of workers when choosing a work opportunity, and 71 percent ranked it as one of the top two. A third of workers (33 percent) said the company would have to pay up to, or more than 20 percent more compared to the offer where their values are truly aligned, and 16 percent said that there is no price, they would need to be fully aligned with a company’s values before they accepted a job offer.
  • A brave path ahead: Seventy-three percent of workers said the pandemic has given them more courage to take actions on the changes they wanted to make in their lives. Eighty-nine percent said they have already taken at least some action, and many are not done yet; 58 percent said they are absolutely ready to make further changes.

“Employers have experienced tremendous uncertainty over the last two years, and the Great Resignation leaves many questioning what they could face next,” says Sanja Licina, PhD, president, QuestionPro Workforce. “It is encouraging that 90 percent of full-time employees said they want a meaningful career. This means when they find an organization that is a good fit for them, they are likely to give their all to make an impact. Eighty-nine percent of workers told us they have already taken at least some action, and many are not done yet; 58 percent said they are absolutely ready to make further changes.”

“Employers concerned about turnover might consider creating opportunities for change for their employees, including finding different roles inside your organization, rather than losing great workers to an outside move. Creating effective connections with employees, including new work opportunities and a great culture, offers an incredible opportunity to make a positive impact on the world of work,” adds Licina.

Patrick Riley, RADICL co-founder, agreed the results offer key insights for employers. “There is a great opportunity for employers to better understand not only how people want to work as we emerge from the pandemic, but also why they specifically choose to stay, or why they’re attracted to specific new opportunities. Organizations should seek to promote a culture not only best suited for what their employees are looking for today, but also for what they need to successfully grow and develop in their careers down the road.”

For a full report of results and insights, find the full white paper here.

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