Author: Sara Bennett

Here’s What’s Great About the Great Resignation…for Small to Medium Sized Employers!

by Sara Bennett | June 6, 2022

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Whatever you call it - the “Great Resignation”, the “Big Quit”, the “Job Reset” - it’s not going away.

The April 2022 data is out, and employees are still leaving their  jobs at record setting levels.  This leaves us a million jobs down from where we were pre pandemic with over 11.5 million jobs going unfilled. Make no mistake - this is a serious issue for all employers, particularly in the Northwest where the candidate marketplace is always dicey, now even more so.  With so many of our Northwest “bigs” not only hiring for anticipated growth, they are also busy replacing quitting employees. Talk about the "race for talent" - not sure any of us can run face enough to escape the pressures we all feel when its time to hire. In this blog we’ll share what we think has led to the Great Resignation PLUS offer up some ideas for small to medium sized companies who we think can use the Great Resignation as an opportunity, not an obstacle!

If you're dealing with a recent turnover, you already know all about the downsides of losing a valued employee.

  • First there’s the fear of what will happen with the loss of critical expertise – expertise that you know can’t be replaced quickly.
  • And then there’s the risk of hiring - knowing that your new hire may not work out and turnover will start to be your norm.  (Yes, its still true that approximately 50% of hiring decisions turn out to be hiring mistakes.)
  • And if you’ve been dealing with turnover for a while now, you’re likely worried about how turnover is going to impact revenues and costs. Make no mistake, turnover is costly!
As you think about turnover, keep in mind that for some hiring managers turnover has been a serious issue for some time. As early as 2017 the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) projected one in five employees would leave their jobs in the coming year – a prediction that got everyone’s attention at the time but has come true, plus some. We think that rather than think about the Great Resignation as a new phenom, we have some things to learn from hiring managers who have a longer history than we do dealing with the downsides of turnover.  They know things we don’t.

But first, let’s look at what some of the WHYS behind the turnover WHATs….

The first on our list is the obvious.  At the end of the day, with all the data sliced and diced, in all "candidate driven” environments,  employees tend to quit because they can!   If something goes wrong on Friday, your newly disgruntled employee can post their resume on Saturday, and have a new job within the week.  It may not be the “right job” but in a robust job market the perception is that employment gaps can quickly be filled.  The definitely aren’t as scary as they once were. And speaking of gaps, we’re just now starting to see employees coming back into the market who “took a break from  employment” during the pandemic.    Our business gives us a bird’s eye view into what goes on in the employment market and we know that after every major job disruptor, many employees react by taking on various versions of self-employment.   The journey is often short lived…but when job security isn't possible, the “gig thing" always looks like a more rational alternative. It generally takes a while for these types of “leavers” to rejoin the workforce.  We're seeing a more delay post covid, partly because people are fearful of returning to the office, partly because they've learned that working less and enjoying life more can work.  A short candidate supply is an historical trend in the first stages of rebuild – what is happening now. It’s been true for some time that deliberate, career enhancing “job hopping” is no longer frowned upon.   In fact, the advice to change jobs to earn more pay, secure a better job title, find a new challenge, is commonplace.  Today’s employees, particularly those not yet in what they consider their “forever jobs” are not afraid to tackle the unknown – particularly if the unknown is packaged up to look better than what is. An important factor that we think is directly related to the turnover we’re experiencing now is the impact of digitally based hiring processes on employee job satisfaction.   Recruiters working for large employers with high volume hiring quotas have historically been so focused on finding candidates with the right key words on their resumes, the importance of "fit" to job satisfaction and employee retention has slipped thru the cracks.   The formula for turnover is clear....
  • Jobs are not accurately profiled creating mismatches between what employees want to achieve thru their work and what a specific job or employer has to offer.
  • Employees are not thoroughly vetted to make sure that all the critical dimensions of "fit" are part of the hiring decision.
  • Once reality sets in and there are  more choices, the decision to "quit" has lots of support.
In today’s market, employees are choosing to abandon jobs (even if they pay well) if they don’t sync up with “who they are”, “what the like to do” and “what’s important” to them about their work.
  • My supervisor’s management style didn’t work for me.
  • The company’s culture is too cliquish. I felt left out.
  • I thought this job would give me a challenge, but I just didn’t enjoy the work.
  • The company is demanding more from me than I want to give. I am not willing to sacrifice my personal life just to get ahead.
  • I can’t see how my work is making a difference.
  • I just don’t see the opportunity to “grow” that I am looking for.
This issue with job/employee mismatches has become is a serious issue for employers whose growth initiatives resulted in a frenzied hiring process just to get positions filled.  It also highlights how small to medium sized companies can take advantage of the Great Recession to do things their larger competitors can’t (or won’t)!

Here’s EIGHT ways small to medium sized Northwest companies can turn the Great Recession into a competitive advantage….

#1 Use the Great Resignation as an opportunity to add new talent to your teams.    Yes, it may take a while, but don’t be afraid to troll the current candidate marketplace just in case there is someone who left their job with a fortune 500 company to look for the kind of “make a difference” opportunity your small to medium sized company has to offer! Don’t have time to troll?  Ask us to do it for you – searching the marketplace for great talent is what we do daily!       #2.  And when you’re hiring focus on retention, not just here and now performance.  Two things that come to mind.  1) Make sure you start every recruiting process with a clear view of what the job entails – its core tasks, demands, opportunities plus its everyday work environment; 2) carefully screen candidates for their long term “fit” with what you have uncovered the job has to offer. One of the core services we offer in our placement processes is full-service profiling – both jobs and candidates.  We help you do that well. We also recommend a couple of vetting tactics that we know enhances retention….
  • Job auditions, where a candidate gets a chance to try out a job and the work environment for 1-2 months before making the final commitment.
  • Working interviews, where a candidate (typically a finalist) finalist is invited in to sit with the team for 2-4 hours before a job offer is made.
Managers dealing with high turnover jobs have used these hiring tactics for decades.  We can use these techniques during the Great Resignation.   #3 Take a realistic look at your pay and benefit plans.  – It goes without saying, that we’re seeing rates of pay increasing.  We tell our clients that their pay plan doesn’t need to be top of the market, but it has to be at least comparable to competitive offers.  Increasing the upper end of your pay range and communicating that range in your job postings is likely to give you access to a broader range of candidates.  This doesn’t mean your offer has to reflect the top of your pay range, but as a smaller employer it is important to avoid the rigid pay structures that larger employers are often stuck with. And if your benefit offerings aren’t quite up to par with your larger employers you might want to consider increasing your pay rates to accommodate that short coming.   #4.  Make sure you are constantly communicating the links between your current employee’s good work and their contribution to the team.   One of the things we know tends to retain employees is their belief that what they do matters…. that they make a difference.   As a leader, finding that link between what employees do on a daily basis or as the result of extra effort is a big deal with most employees – keeping them busy contributing to their current team, rather than looking around for a new team where they believe they will be more appreciated or valued.   #5 Take advantage of your small company FLEXIBILITY wherever and however you can.  Pay scales, job content, job titles, work from home privileges, even the flexible ways you can configure staff - are all ways you can demonstrate your willingness to change what is and use that willingness to compete against your “less flexible” counterparts.   #6 Make sure you stay connected with each and every employee on your team…. both professionally and personally.   Employers have long relied on exit interviews to tell them what they needed to know about the reasons behind turnover.  We believe it’s much easier (and smarter) to have ongoing conversations with current employees designed to stay current re: how they’re feeling about their role, the team and your company - keeping you prepared for what lies ahead.  “Stay interviews”, the term used in larger organizations to describe how this is done on a formal process, can be done more frequently and in less formal ways in smaller companies.   #7 When turnover strikes, find ways to create new opportunities for others on the team – new reasons for them to stay.   Your larger competitors are not as able as you are to move quickly to reconfigure work.  Take advantage of that opportunity to give your remaining team members new life, new challenges!   #8 Use the challenges of a “team member leaving” to introduce a new and more invigorating vision for your team.  We know your first step is to come up with your plan to replace a leaving team member, but it can also be a time for you to share your vison of how the team will be “even better” once the transition is completed.  Yes, you need to stay tactical for the moment – reassigning work quickly and clearly – but also take this time to re invigorate your team around its vision for the future.   Have you been impacted by higher-than-normal rates of turnover?  We’d love to help. If you are an employer who wants to make sure that your “next hire” is the right solution to fix a turnover issue, give our Partner Services team a call at 425-637-3312.  While getting notice from one of your most valued employees is likely not your favorite moment, with a shift in attitude and the use of a few tactical ideas, even an unwanted turnover can be turned into something positive for you and your team. Re-group.  Reignite.  Move on to your newest version of “better”.  
PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 40 years. A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction. PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire professional recruiting services, Employer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte. To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees,  contact our Partner Services and Solutions team at 425-637-3312, email us or visit our website.

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0 Author-Sara, Blog, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR JOB SEEKERS, Uncategorized

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0 Hot Recruits NOW!

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0 ABOUT PACE!, About Staffing Agencies, Author-Jeanne, Blog, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS, STAFFING AGENCIES - HOW TO SELECT AND MANAGE, What Makes PACE Different get connected

Just like personal relationships, business relationships, including relationships with staffing providers, come in all different sizes, shapes, and packaging.  … Read More »