The Great Resignation of 2021.  It is a depressing term to describe the number of people predicted to quit their jobs this year.  Why is this happening?  How can you prevent it?  Listen to Bob and Jan discuss these issues on today’s podcast.

I had heard of this but not labeled this way before.  Never let a trend, or an expected one, go by without a good name.  It’s been happening forever, right?  – Baby Boomers, Millennials, Gen X, The Great Depression, The Great Recession.  It even happens in real estate – Silicon Valley, Silicon Hills (Austin), Telecom Corridor (Richardson), the Platinum Corridor (Tollway).  The list goes on forever so this was inevitable.

I recently read an article in the online magazine D CRE and it was commenting on the supposition that 30% of workers will quit their current job and either go elsewhere or leave their industries all together.  I’ve actually heard the number as much higher.  Not to get into a battle of the online articles, but had a story titled “What’s Really Behind the Great Resignation?  A Crisis of Purpose”.  They quoted a survey from Microsoft saying that 41% of the GLOBAL workforce was contemplating a resignation.  In April according to this same article, 4 million US workers quit their jobs.

The question is why?

There is a quote in the article from Dov Seidman where he states, “When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops.  But when you press the pause button on human beings, they start – start to reflect, rethink assumptions, and reimagine a better path”.  Wow, I loved this and thought it was extremely powerful.

Many people feel that the government helped to start this trend by their subsidies which allowed people to delay going back to work.  But it seems that it may be more of an issue of purpose as the quote just given  implies and the title of the mentions.  Once people had the chance to stop and reflect, did they want to go back to their old jobs.  Is that the future they see for themselves?

It’s kind of like what happened to me.  I was in the CRE business for 20 years always working for landlords.  I was lulled into a comfortable routine by a salary, bonus, benefits and a consistent place to go everyday.  Then I got laid off.  Suddenly, the one client I had no longer needed my services.  If it hadn’t been for that, I would have never made the leap to start my own business in a commission-only industry.

Let’s go back to the issue of purpose.  Work gives people purpose.  Millennials have been accused of wanting to work for a company with a greater purpose than just making money.  Is that what’s happening?  The article said that 70% of people say their work defines their purpose.  People who say that, are more productive.  So that influences loyalty and engagement.  But when that relationship was broken, or interrupted by WFH, employees had the opportunity to reconsider their purpose…and that of the company they were associated with.  The article says that leaders need to focus on employee experience, heightened communication, and relationship leadership where bonds are created beyond just the work being done and the employee’s place in the hierarchy.

The D CRE article offered the following suggestions:

  1. Stay in your geographic market (this helps to build your brand and relationships)
  2. Stay in your chosen career field (maximize your expertise to give back to peers, share knowledge)
  3. Stay with your current employer (ask how you can help to rebuild)
  4. Stay in your profession by studying it even further
  5. Stay calm and focused on the 3 F’s – faith, family and friends

I like the idea of staying.  Stay in the same city to maintain relationship and avoid having to start from scratch in building a life.  Stay in the same company where others have left and maybe there’s a new opportunity for advancement or to move to a different division.  If not that, stay in the same industry where your knowledge can be leveraged into a new opportunity – maybe starting your own thing like I did.  But always stay connected to faith, family and friends.  That should be the greatest purpose before work.

Think that sums it up but one caveat – if you are looking to hire, this time could be a bonanza.

Bob Gibbons is a Real Estate Advisor & Tenant Advocate (also known as a tenant rep) with REATA Commercial Realty, Inc. which is a tenant advisory firm based in Plano, Texas. Bob serves companies in Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Allen, Richardson, Addison, Dallas and the surrounding areas and specializes in companies which lease or buy office and warehouse properties.