People have quit their jobs en masse since the start of the pandemic in what has been dubbed the “great quit”.
This global phenomenon is most common in the retail and hospitality industries, as employees demand better wages and working conditions from their employers.
In the United States, for example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that more than four million Americans quit their jobs in July last year.
“At the start of the pandemic, several employees were forced to work from home, and they realized that they preferred this arrangement. With the availability of vaccines, however, employers are now asking employees to return to the office,” said human resources consultant Dr Malaika Edwards. Loop News in describing the causes of this trend.
“In some cases, employees have indicated that they want to continue working remotely, and so these employees have chosen to resign from jobs that require them to be physically present in the office.”
Human Resources Consultant Dr Malaika Edwards
Edwards pointed out that another factor behind the big resignation is that some employees are struggling to work from home, while caring for children who are at home due to the pandemic.
“These employees have made the decision to quit their jobs and focus on full-time childcare,” she noted.
However, while Jamaican businesses have been alerted to the impact of this trend, businesses that have spoken with Loop News says they were spared.
GraceKennedy CEO Don Wehby said the company’s US operations were unaffected by the “big resignation”.
Locally, he said GraceKennedy had adjusted its remote work policy since the start of the pandemic to maintain staff satisfaction.
Don Wehby, CEO of Grace Kennedy
“Our Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA) policy was revised and re-launched early last year. The FWA policy extends beyond our current COVID-19 work-from-home protocol and provides our team with several options for flexible work arrangements,” he said. Adding that around 60% of its staff are now working from home.
Meanwhile, Sagicor Group Senior Vice President for Group Human Resources and Corporate Services, Karl Williams, said the company had noticed no change in the number of employees leaving the company. since the pandemic. He attributes this to Sagicor’s work-from-home policy.
Karl Williams, Sagicor Group Senior Vice President for Human Resources and Group Corporate Services.
“Sagicor’s Work From Home (WFH) program was implemented in August 2019 (before the COVID-19 pandemic) and the number of team members participating in the program has increased since the pandemic, to approximately 35% of team members currently working from home. The WFH program is an important part of the Group’s COVID-19 management plan to mitigate the spread of the virus in addition to other specific strategies in place to manage the retention of team members during this time.” -he declares.
But Edwards, while agreeing that flexible work-from-home policies are an important step in reducing the impact of “the great resignation”, also insists that fair compensation packages are just as important.
“Employers may also need to consider revising policies related to things like compensation and benefits, as poor wages also contributed to the big quit,” she said.