The Great Reclamation
There’s no doubt that at this point you have heard people talking about, complaining about, and/or applauding what has been dubbed the “Great Resignation of 2021”. Turnover rates in businesses are at an all-time high, with as many as 40% of workers planning to leave their jobs by the end of the year. Many employers are struggling to find people to fill empty roles, and every day I hear leaders gripe about lazy, entitled millennials and Gen Z-ers who are “ruining” things and should just “pay their dues”.
I feel for hard-working business owners who are at risk of shutting down because they can’t attract workers. I also think that we are missing the mark and doing harm with the term “Great Resignation”.
Yes, workers are quitting their jobs at unprecedented rates. But here’s the thing; what we’re seeing right now isn’t a generation of workers who are resigned at all. People who are leaving their jobs aren’t passively surrendering or checking out. People are actively shifting the narrative about what is acceptable (and not acceptable) in jobs and workplaces. People are owning their power and helping to reframe mindsets about how work can and should look and feel.
What we’re seeing is more of a “Great Reclamation,” with human beings deliberately choosing themselves and working to reclaim their time, energy, identities, autonomy, and passions. We’re seeing people reimagine work-life integration and prioritize physical and mental health over money and “the grind.” We’re seeing workers who are feeling empowered to seek purpose, happiness, and flexibility in their roles. And we’re seeing a rejection of the status quo that could cripple employers, but absolutely doesn’t have to.
Businesses and leaders have an important place in the “Great Reclamation.” There is an incredible opportunity in this moment for listening and radical empathy, for conscientious shifts in policy and leadership to create workplaces that honor what humans AND businesses need to thrive. This is the time for the emergence of a new work ecosystem that is grounded in collective reconciliation and reclamation. It will take time, discomfort, and healing, but it is possible for employers and employees to work together to reclaim and redefine expectations around work.
What so much of today’s dialogue around resignations and labor shortages is missing, is that the conditions and factors that are causing suffering for people and for businesses are similar if not the same. Time. Space. Growth. Autonomy. Leadership. Wellness. Work-life integration. Money. Safety. Engagement. Equity. All of these things are essential to our mutual success. The problem is that employers and employees are not on the same page about what these things mean in policy or practice.
This is where the work needs to start, and this is the work of Reloveution. Let’s dive in together.