It’s “The Great Reckoning”. Not a Reshuffle or Resignation. A Reckoning.
The pandemic thrust organizations toward transforming work in a way that elevates our people. Let’s name the truths that really got us here, so we don’t waste the opportunity that follows
Reshuffle – reorganize or change the positions of
Resign – voluntarily leave a job or position
Reckon – to avenge or punish for past mistakes and misdeeds
If you looked at nothing more than VC updates, ecommerce figures, and subscription services, well, you’d think we were living at one of the most extraordinary times for businesses in our nation’s history.
You’d also be wrong.
That’s the thing. What you believe to be true always starts with where you choose to look, and more powerfully, what you choose as your frame of reference.
For example …
According to the Pew Research Center, on average, Americans have less wealth today than they did in 1998. If you hear this, you think Americans have stagnated.
On average, the wealthiest third of Americans have seen their incomes increase from $344,100 to $848,400 while the middle third have seen their incomes rise from $102,000 to a more modest $115,200. If you hear this, you think Americans are seeing varying levels of growth.
On average, the poorest third of Americans have seen their incomes decline from $12,300 in 1983 to $11,300 in 2016. If you hear this, you realize that the richest are getting richer faster at the expense of the poorest among us.
What you believe to be true always starts with where you choose to look, and more powerfully, what you choose as your frame of reference.
If you want to believe we’re in the midst of “The Great Reshuffle” or “The Great Resignation”, that’s what you’ll believe.
Again, you’ll also be dead wrong.
The Hard Truth About the Great Resignation …
It’s Not One
The headlines today are pushing the concept of a massive resignation, a massive reshuffling of the workforce. Both of those statements and categorizations are massive understatements.
If you focus on current actions without context, it’s easy to paint a picture of something modest or even iterative — slap “Great” in front of it and it seems more forceful.
Most companies, most economies, likely want us to see what’s happening as an eye opening experience and a shift in priorities as a result of the pandemic because they don’t have to change how they work. Instead of hard truths, they look for excuses and reasons not to change, which leads us to narratives like:
“People valued their work-life balance more.”
“People had more time with their families and realized the value of quality time.”
“People understood the fragility of life and elevated the pursuit of happiness.”
Sure. All of the above are true. But the pandemic didn’t enlighten people as much as it became the final straw.
The pandemic didn’t open people’s eyes. It broke their backs.
What we’re seeing today is not an understated reshuffling, a modest resignation.
It’s a mother f*cking reckoning.
And it’s about time.
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The past few years have seen record numbers of employees leaving jobs, sometimes without locking in something new. Additionally, companies are having to completely transform both how they operate and how they compensate their people to stem the tide.
A simple look at Gallup Employee Engagement data over the past 20 years coupled with emerging trends around employee dissatisfaction with their work because people are (a) doing work that can and should be automated and (b) doing work that doesn’t reflect their best abilities to contribute tells us that this reckoning was way overdue.
The Case Study
When the pandemic hit globally in March 2020, Boldr was a small BPO and PEO with one office in Manila, Philippines. We decided to prioritize (1a) team member health and safety and (1b) client health and success, even as 35% of our revenue disappeared almost overnight.
Operating with integrity and focusing on making our employees successful, helped transform our operating environment and our position in the eyes of the market. Which is why today, two years later, Boldr has 5x’d in team size, revenue, and geographic footprint, while also 8x’ing enterprise value. Today Boldr has become the largest B-Corp certified BPO and PEO in the world.
The two major commercial trends of the past 20 years have been (1) digital influence on marketing and advertising and (2) the rise of customer experience as the primary way to differentiate and win in the market. Both started out as innovations, often fighting an uphill battle against historical ways of doing business.
Companies that adopted both early and succeeded at both sustainably, thrived. Ultimately, both ended up breeding copycats and as a result, both shifted from ways to differentiate to requirements, setting a new baseline of competencies and expectations upon which businesses would have to build further. Employee Success is the next trend and frontier.
There’s an increasing volume of data highlighting the power of employees feeling more supported, more equipped, and more valued. On the upside, it’s undeniable that feeling valued leads to massive increases in productivity.
Separately and inversely, feeling undervalued leaves us at the doorstep of The Great Reckoning. The pandemic has taken what makes people feel valued to entirely new heights, however, as the backdrop and context for personal happiness has risen in prominence. It’s why Employee Success needs our greatest time and attention.
The Moment of Truth
The benefit to being on the early side of Employee Success as a business imperative is the ability to write the playbook. The best playbooks always start with a commitment to hearing, understanding and paying attention to the challenge and the opportunities it presents.
Next, the way forward is by exploring other disciplines that addressed similar types of concerns with other constituents (clients are obvious, but also, exploring how companies engaged with community members, suppliers, partners and investors can surface incredible ideas and opportunities)