People are quitting their jobs at an unprecedented rate. Resignations between April and August were up 60% from a year ago and 12% from mid-2019, according to federal data cited last week in a Wall Street Journal report.
The main reason is still unknown, but experts say there are many signs of burnout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has been stressful for all of us both personally and professionally, and there are reports of widespread burnout, which is a key predictor of turnover,” Anthony Klotz, professor of business administration and associate professor of management at the Mays Business School of Texas A&M, told KCBS Radio in an interview Tuesday morning.
“And sometimes the only cure for burnout is to take a break from what is burning you,” he added.
Klotz said some organizations are taking this seriously, offering employers a break while shutting down operations for a week. Others shut down mail servers in the evenings or on weekends.
“While not all organizations are responding, a number of them are taking reactive action to try to help employees recover,” he said.
Klotz explained that the leadership of many organizations is focused on exiting the company from the pandemic and selling the actual product, rather than focusing on employee morale.
Now that deaths and infections have slowed in the United States, he hopes organizations can change and refocus on workers. Klotz said organizations should use the pandemic as an opportunity to “rethink and reinvent the way workers work” and what that looks like in terms of “how we plan work” as well as “the tasks we give them” .
Workers of all ages are quitting their jobs, according to Klotz. There has been a surge in early retirement, and these people have decided to change jobs and do something else or take care of themselves as a result of their own wake-up calls.
If someone isn’t happy with their job or is considering quitting, Klotz suggested a “job creation conversation” with a boss. Discuss aspects of the job that you don’t like and work with your boss to turn the job from “a job I have to a job I want”.