Change is Coming, Again: High Employee Turnover Predicted Post-COVID

By Kristen Harris

“The grass is greener where you water it.”

Although I don’t know the original author of this quote, it resonated with me when I heard it on a recent webinar, especially in these times of constant change.

Yes, change is coming. Again. 

Everything we’ve been going through for the past year-plus isn’t over. We are simply moving to the next phase and, thankfully, moving forward. I hate feeling like I’m stuck in the mud; I’d rather be moving somewhere, anywhere, than not moving at all. 

Speaking of moving…it seems that a lot of that will happen in 2021. According to Forbes, SHRM, and other predictors, 20-25% of people are expected to change jobs this year. And USA Today reports that nearly 30% of professionals will refuse to return to the office after working remotely.

Are these statistics accurate? Who knows! But the point is that there is change coming, both for employers and employees. 2020 will leave its mark in 2021.

So how can you respond to this next wave of change, whether you are an employer, manager, employee, or independent creative?

  1. Remember that there is no going back to “normal.” We’re not returning to old patterns and expectations; those are in the past. However, we can look forward to more “normalcy”; new patterns, structure, and expectations for the future.

  2. Consistency and predictability reduce anxiety. Everyone wants to know what the “new normal” is going to look like. Managers need to understand what is expected of them and communicate expectations to their team. Employees also need to know what is expected and communicate what they need to make that happen.

  3. Retain the lessons of humanity and empathy. Dealing with multiple crises in 2020, we learned a lot about the people we work with, getting to know more about their personal lives and challenges. We need to hold onto the lessons learned–communicate clearly and frequently, appreciate each other, show empathy and understanding for what people are going through, and assume positive intent. Seek ways to make the situation work and avoid putting unnecessary restrictions on people.

  4. Know why you are making a change. Especially applicable to people seeking to change jobs, this also can apply to hiring managers. Are you running from something? If so, can that issue be discussed and possibly resolved? Not everything can be changed to fit your needs, but it’s worth at least exploring the options before leaving a job you enjoy or letting go of someone on your team. Or are you running towards something? Perhaps a fantastic new opportunity has shown up, or an incredible candidate has landed in your lap. If that’s the case, be thoughtful and consider the options–this might be the right move at the right time!

All in all, we need to be good caretakers of what we’re responsible for. “The grass is greener where you water it” because you’re giving it care and attention. Do the same for your team and your career. Need to build your team, fill an open role, or find a new opportunity? We know change is coming and are here to help however we can.