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News Article

Human-Centered Labor Markets May Prevent Massive Job-Quitting

By Anamary Olivas | Fri, 06/10/2022 - 09:48

The pandemic came with a lot of changes to every aspect of life, including labor markets, which were deeply altered. The Great Resignation, a term coined by Anthony Klotz, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, UCL School of Management, refers to a massive number of people voluntarily leaving their jobs in the US. This has made the attraction and retaining of talent a challenge for employers, and it has shed light on the main worries of employees when they first start a new position, as well as when they decide their next step in their career. However, the Great Resignation appears to not have been as much of an issue in Mexico.

“The changes at work due to the pandemic gave us more flexibility and control over our lives, as well as more autonomy and freedom to decide how to structure it. I do not think people are willing to go back to the traditional work environment,” said Klotz.

With this point, Klotz makes the argument that traditional work environments have not met the needs of employees. Wages are not enough in most industries, barring executive positions. Flexible hours are also desirable to ensure that workers are healthy and, therefore, productive. The pandemic demonstrated the urge to rethink human resources (HR) management. By doing so, companies that listen to their workforce may benefit greatly from it. 

According to Harvard Business Review, the Great Resignation was not caused by the pandemic. Instead, it suggests that COVID-19 was a nudge to a latent phenomenon that has been gestating since a decade ago. They consider that the Great Resignation can be understood with five main factors: retirement, relocation, reconsideration, reshuffling and reluctance. None of these were created during the pandemic, but they can be addressed under the lens of this circumstance to better understand the motives of all these employees leaving their jobs during the same year.

Retirement is no surprise for senior employees that are far more vulnerable to health risks and threats exacerbated during the pandemic. Relocation was made easier by the remote working, causing a lot of people to move to jobs that allow them to become digital nomads. Reconsideration was caused by the perspective given by the death risk of the virus, forcing people to practice introspection and reconsider the role of their work in their wellness, which led many to quit jobs that were unfulfilling. Reshuffling refers to the possibility of finding an industry that may be more attractive to employees, resulting in an interdisciplinary approach of work teams. Finally, reluctance was present when companies wanted to return to the office. People were not willing to go back to a possible health hazard, causing them to quit.

Understanding these factors may improve HR departments across the globe to better fulfill employees’ needs. Having a human-centered approach may be the solution for companies to realign their practices to the current demands of talented people. This will guarantee that employees are giving their all to the meet company goals and prevent their departure.

In Mexico, the Great Resignation was observed in a much moderate way compared to the massive numbers in the US, which were seen as a form of protest. By contrast, there is no guarantee that companies will provide Mexican employees with better opportunities and flexibility in the Mexican labor market, at least in the short term. According to the Encuesta Nacional de Ocupacion y Empleo (ENOE), of the almost 2 million unemployed Mexicans, only 27 percent had left their jobs voluntarily in 2021, not unlike the years before the pandemic.

However, understanding the motives and consequences of the Great Resignation of its northern neighbor may give Mexican labor markets a step ahead in the acquisition and retention of highly skilled people that could contribute greatly to the development of companies. Stability is key to allow industries perform, argue HR experts.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Harvard Business Review
Photo by:   Ronald Carreño , Pixabay
Anamary Olivas Anamary Olivas Journalist & Industry Analyst