Here on the “Balancing Act, we recently explored the issue of the so-called “Big Quit.”
We told you how, according to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index 2021 report, more than 40% of workers polled are considering quitting their jobs because they feel overworked and exhausted.
So, what can you do to avoid becoming a casualty of the “Great Resignation?”
We asked veteran HR exec, Lisa Bomrad, who recently joined the Homethrive team as our VP of Human Resources.
HT: What do you feel is driving the “Big Quit?”
LB: “The pandemic I think really reset priorities for a lot of people and gave them pause to say, ‘is whatever I was doing, either, the function, the hours, the commute, the travel, whatever it might be, is that really what I want? I have a better quality of life, I'm not spending 10 hours a week commuting, or whatever it might be.’ I think also sometimes people said: ‘I want to be part of something that actually has more meaning. It's not just about the money.’”
HT: What do HR professionals and executives need to pay attention to avoid employee mass exodus?
LB: “While HR certainly can help facilitate and drive some of the some of the outcomes that that need to happen, at the end of the day, we can't do it on our own, and we need the business to be involved. We need leaders to be involved in that. I think first and foremost is to always listen. You can't assume that you know where employees are. Whether that's through surveys, or focus groups, or equipping our managers and our leaders to ask the right kinds of questions, and to have those kinds of conversations that they're not used to having.”
HT: How has COVID-19 affected the way human resources is engaging with employees?
LB: “During COVID, the organizations really leaned on HR to help figure out: How do we keep our employees safe? There was a tremendous amount of pressure being put on HR teams. And don't get me wrong, HR is used to taking care of others. The problem that I think we're starting to see now, to use the old saying, we never got a chance to put our ‘own oxygen mask on first.’ There’s burnout.”
HT: We recently conducted a survey of employees that found a large number spend several hours a week distracted by outside caregiving duties. Does that surprise you?
LB: “It didn't surprise me. It is (caregiving) always in the back of your mind. It's that pressure and a distraction. It's always on your mind, and it just weighs.”
HT: Is it surprising that most of the respondents said their employers don’t offer some kind of caregiving benefit?
LB: “Sadly, no, it really was not surprising to me. I've worked in a number of organizations and none of them have ever provided any of those kinds of benefits. The closest we ever came was an employee assistance program (EAP), which is not nearly as robust. Honestly, because there's always been such a stigma about mental health and EAP is tied to mental health, many employees just weren't leveraging the employee assistance program.”
HT: What advice do you have for companies on the fence about offering a caregiving benefit, such as Homethrive.
LB: “If you doubt the information, then do your own survey of employees. It’s one of those things that people just don't want to talk about. People don’t always like to talk about their kids, their families, or to talk about caring for an elder or someone who's ill. HR may not even be aware someone’s shouldering these burdens. But what I've always said, is for the people who need it and use it, it can be a life-changer for them. Even if utilization ends up being 10% of the people, for those 10% it was a lifesaver. And guess what? Chances are pretty good that it might be 10% this year, but it might be a different 10% next year, and so it's just a no-brainer. It's not an expensive benefit. It's not like a medical plan, which is going to cost ridiculous sums of money. It's well worth it.”