Just like many other roles and job titles, IT and tech have not been immune to the phenomenon known as the Great Resignation. While losing employees En-masse is a concern for any business, IT teams are more critical to business success and sustainability than they have ever been before.
As such, hiring and retaining tech talent has become a top priority for businesses, even those that don’t have a core IT hierarchy. However, the sharp rise in resignations is an extremely disruptive trend, threatening to offset prior successes.
Read on to learn more about how all businesses can do more to mitigate the impact of this disruption.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most disruptive events in modern history. In spite of the ongoing rebound, this global health crisis has resulted in momentous professional and ideological shifts, as employers and workers work to adapt and survive. The Great Resignation became a critical trend in 2021.
At that time, economic experts were fairly confident that business and commerce would start recovering from the confusion and turmoil of the pandemic, as the global population had gained a better understanding of COVID-19 and how it had spread. Moreover, a large portion of the American workforce had been inoculated by this time.
That said, the Great Resignation statistics seem to indicate the opposite – instead of a much-touted “return to normal,” workers all over the world began resigning or shifting roles in higher numbers than had been seen in decades.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US alone has seen 6.3 million resignations; by far the highest in the country’s history. Among the hardest-hit industries, the healthcare and tech sectors experienced particularly heavy losses of key personnel.
How the Trend Continues to Impact Businesses in 2022
With 2022 now well underway, the situation is still in flux. For nearly two years, IT and tech teams have been handling large workloads and ad-hoc or emergency tasks. Now, with their ranks dwindling, they have even more intensive responsibilities.
Moreover, businesses are frantically trying to ensure that the vacancies produced by outgoing tech workers won’t trigger data security breaches; those measures include aggressively and competitively onboarding new workers.
To further complicate matters, remote workers, especially non-technical ones, depend more heavily on IT support representatives to streamline their work platforms and queues. With both of those parallels in play, the impact of the Great Resignation in 2022 is no less severe than in 2021. In fact, it may have become more acute.
How Should Businesses Mitigate the Impact on Tech and IT Workforces?
Unsustainability is not an option, and combating the Great Resignation is the only obvious way forward. Of course, given how unprecedented the ongoing phenomenon is, this is easier said than done. the first step involves understanding that rising inflation rates and disproportionate increases in compensation and work benefits are key drivers of resignations.
There is also no escaping the fact that workforce behavior, particularly among IT talent, has undergone fundamental changes; however, it may be possible for employers to find a firmer footing in terms of tech and IT workforce hiring and retention with these tips:
Increase the Use of Workplace Automation
Automation in the workplace is not exactly a groundbreaking idea. However, the need for automation has never been higher. One of the biggest contributors to high worker attrition rates is the larger work volume and responsibilities that professionals within all disciplines have to deliver.
This is particularly true among IT and tech talent. Amid the rising numbers of resignations, this results in an even greater burden on IT and tech teams. Ultimately, the added stress and insufficient increases in pay rates are a seminal reason why the great resignation is happening.
Workplace automation, particularly for IT roles, can help relieve some of this pressure. Repetitive manual tasks are not usually very difficult, but they consume time and effort, both of which could be put to better use in more meaningful directions. Automated systems can and do handle many such repetitive tasks, leaving human workers with more time and energy. These workers can then devote this to tasks that automated systems simply cannot handle.
Focus on New Business Needs by Removing Backlogs
Backlogs on business needs, particularly in terms of business platforms that assist the overall workforce, can hamper productivity. One key way businesses can tackle this is to divert more resources to clear these backlogs. The reapportioning of resources (including IT teams) only needs to be temporary.
Once deployed, these resources can work towards reconfiguring and/or streamlining key business systems like collaboration platforms, databases, asset management, and cloud migrations. This may halt work on new projects and needs, but only for a short period of time. Once this process is completed and backlogs removed, businesses should be able to make up for the delays with enhanced collaboration and productivity.
Involve More Tech in Onboarding Processes
A more specific solution to meet IT and tech talent gaps is to involve more tech platforms in HR. This is particularly true of the onboarding process. With automated systems handling applicant management, screening, and communication, recruiters can focus on what they do best: evaluating the best fit for business needs.
These systems can help automate and streamline key aspects of the onboarding process. The use of automation may even help to identify bottlenecks; this, in turn, allows businesses to slash processing times and enhance onboarding success rates. Ultimately, organizations are able to facilitate a more efficient and streamlined onboarding process.
Focus on Attracting and Retaining New Workers
As businesses continue to adapt and evolve, their dependence on IT and tech talent will grow proportionally. Therefore, it may not be enough to simply strategically automate and/or streamline various processes. The need to hire new IT talent is inevitable. Businesses must increase their focus on attracting and retaining new IT workers alike. The approach to hiring and retention needs to be more strategic and competitive than ever before.
Employers would be wise to educate themselves on the changes in employee expectations and behavior. This may also involve gaining a deeper understanding of the various motivators among IT and tech workforces. These include changing perceptions when it comes to compensation, benefits, workplace culture, and work-life balance.
Businesses may see greater success in attracting new tech workers through specialized IT and tech recruiters, instead of general in-house hiring functions. In turn, they can dedicate more time, energy, and resources towards retaining the valuable talent they onboard. Otherwise, further attrition will only add to the Great Resignation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Great Resignation?
A workforce trend that is the result of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation involves record-high resignation rates among workers from all sectors of industry.
Why is the Great Resignation happening?
As the pandemic drove inflation levels higher, workers reassessed their priorities and decided that their compensation was not keeping pace with rising costs and the increased focus on an equitable work-life balance.
Is the Great Resignation real?
Yes, it is a very real and unprecedented phenomenon. The Bureau of Labors Statistics has never seen such high volumes of mass resignations.
When did the Great Resignation start?
The trend first began in 2021 and peaked in November of the same year. However, its effects are still apparent in 2022.
How long will the Great Resignation last?
The phenomenon has slowed since 2021, however, there is no real way to determine when it ends, unless governments and businesses rethink employment and compensation models.
How to deal with the Great Resignation?
The only real and sustainable way to deal with this situation is for employers to redouble their efforts to retain employees.
How to retain employees during the Great Resignation?
Employers must reassess compensation rates, offer more meaningful benefits, and develop a greater understanding of how employee needs (and goals) have fundamentally changed.
Is the Great Resignation global?
Yes, while the impact has been most apparent in the US, the spike in resignations has been felt across the globe.