How Employers Can Draw Workers Back To Their Jobs

By Kristi Eckert | 7 months ago


So many Americans have reached their wits end in terms of how they feel about their careers. Not only are strikes occurring nationwide as workers vocalize their grievances, but August saw over 4 million people outright quit their jobs in what is now being called The Great Resignation. The mass exodus sparked widespread labor shortages in an economy that is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. The prevailing shortages have put more power back into the hands of workers and since then companies have been clamoring to attract more people back in order to fill the wide labor gaps. Despite their best efforts, the number of people applying for work is still remarkably low. NPR explained just why that is and offered strategies that could help draw more workers back in. 

There is a long list of reasons why so many people have chosen to leave their jobs, seemingly simultaneously. And many of those reasons are unique to those individuals. However, some overarching themes can be extracted in order to help understand the why behind the monumental workforce departures. 

First and foremost, the pandemic allowed people to acquire renewed perspectives from various angles. For instance, many front-line personnel working in essential positions during the pandemic were fed the mantra that they were “heroes” all while being forced to work long hours at the same time they were risking both their and their families lives. Many of these people saw so much death every single day. Living with or even hearing about that level of risk every day has a way of highlighting what in life is truly important, and for many, the reward did not even come close to outweighing the risk. 

Additionally, long hours inevitably lead to burnout, according to Professor Anthony Klotz of Texas A&M University, “Burnout is a predictor of turnover because one of the only cures for it is getting away from that.” Klotz noted that while pandemic-related burnout has been seen across industries, it is by far the most prevalent in health care. Former physician assistant Tamara Mahmood quit her job for that very reason. In addition to the pandemic highlighting the risk she was putting her family in it also served to speed up her decision to quit because of how burned out she was.

Mahmood also pointed out that because there was so much risk involved in being a worker in her industry during the pandemic that it really pushed her to further analyze her position which in turn highlighted the hypocrisy of it all. “Do I want to continue to work? For less pay, less recognition, less opportunities for advancement, versus the well-being and safety of my family. Because as a mother, that was definitely something that was in the back of my mind,” said Mahmood. 

With so many workers sharing the same feelings as Mahmood and arriving at the very same decision, for good reasons, to leave their places of employment begs the questions of what needs to be done in order for people not to feel like that? What should companies consider when trying to draw back employees? 

The answer is seemingly simple enough. According to Lazlo Bock, a former human resource executive for Google who now runs his own HR consulting firm, it’s to “Make humans actually feel like human beings.” For companies though, that could be easier said than done. However, Bock highlighted four important pillars for employers and companies to consider. The first is to actually give their workers a wage that they could live off as well as good benefits. Companies like Costco, Amazon, and Target have seemed to already pick up on that and are now offering more competitive starting wages. In fact, Costco has already risen its wages twice this year. 

Bock also emphasized that companies focus on things like refraining from scheduling workers to have back to back opening and closing shifts, promoting a better work-life balance at the office by encouraging workers to work from home at least 3 days a week, and perhaps most importantly to offer emotional support by encouraging and facilitating communication between all levels of staff.