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Employers struggle to retain workers amidst the 'great resignation'

A career expert says employees want a job that's sustainable, maintainable, and meaningful.

NORFOLK, Va. — It has been a strange year for American workers. Seems like this time last year, folks wanted work as places shut down. Now, experts say we are experiencing "the great resignation".

"A year ago, everyone was struggling... now employers are struggling," said Francina Harrison, "The Career Engineer". "So what will happen next year? What will happen is change."

Big changes quickly came to the office including COVID protocol with desk partitions, hand sanitizing stations, and mandatory masking. Harrison said many people are still working from home and would like to continue to because flexibility is a major issue these days.

"Everyone can't work from home, we understand that... but there's still some flexibility in terms of shift work. 'Does it have to be every Friday, Saturday and Sunday I have to work?'" Harrison explained.

She said this area is full of remote or hybrid work opportunities.

"Hampton Roads was listed in a LinkedIn report as a remote work haven that you can live here and work anywhere." 

Harrison also said employers who have a culture of caring have a better chance of keeping workers and recruiting new ones.

"Sometimes it's a letter of appreciation, or guess what? Two magic words: 'please' and 'thank you.' They are so valuable in the workplace today so find ways to celebrate your team."

She added, "Sustainable, maintainable, and meaningful. If someone has that, that's a positive work experience"

If you are one of those workers who are ready to quit, Harrison said to be careful how you walk away and make sure you have a plan.

"Burning bridges is bad. Just because someone else is doing the great resignation doesn't mean you have to," Harrison said.

Harrison said the job-seeking preparation process has not changed during the pandemic. She suggests people continue to learn and keep their technology skills up to date. 

"Yep, that resume matters. How you interview matters. Your networking needs to be on point and LinkedIn does matter," said Harrison.

She suggests seeking help from a career agency, or to look for free or inexpensive training options at your local library, school, or online.

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