To kick off National Career Development Month, I’d like to raise a toast to all of the workers who have left jobs to better fulfill their needs, whether that’s finding more remote flexibility, better pay, or new career prospects. We wish them success in their new endeavors!
If it seems like that speech has been given a lot the last few months, it’s because it has. Many workers have already left their jobs during the “Great Resignation,” and 83 percent of the global workforce still want to make a career change over the next year, according to our fourth annual Oracle AI@Work study.
Over the course of 2021, we’ve seen businesses struggle with decisions about how or whether to bring people back to offices in light of changing factors including the availability of the vaccine and the prevalence of the Delta variant. The uncertainty at work has also crept into many workers’ personal lives as they scrambled to adjust to new work policies in real time. All of the changes over the past 18+ months have been taxing on workers, with more than half of them saying they struggled more with mental health in 2021 than in 2020.
As a result, many workers are viewing employers through a new lens. Our study shows that 93 percent of people used the past year to reflect on their personal and professional lives, and, with that reflection, 88 percent of people said the meaning of “success” has changed for them since the pandemic.
While everyone will have a different reason for why their perspective has changed and what that means for their career, I think many people realized that they are tired of employers that don’t value them.
In fact, we found that 87 percent of people believe their company should be doing more to listen to the needs of their workforce. That is no surprise when you look at what we’ve all been through.
When the pandemic began, many companies made workers pivot on a dime, asking them to figure out how to work from home, turn kitchen tables into home offices, and balance family life with work life all within the same four walls. The result was an unprecedented level of flexibility over where, when, and how people worked. But even with that flexibility, people still want more for their professional lives: 73 percent said they are motivated to advance their career over the next year, but they need more support from their employers to make it happen. People want employers to provide things like more learning and skills development opportunities (34 percent) and opportunities to take on new roles within the company (30 percent).
Now, businesses are looking at ways to “return to normal”—in other words, requiring workers to return to the office, sacrifice their newfound freedoms, and continue doing their jobs without clear opportunities for advancement.
Workers are seeing these requests and asking, “I turned my life upside down to accommodate your needs. Why won’t you do that for me?” When they don’t get a good answer, workers have no reason to stay.
If organizations want to keep their best employees, they need to master the “give” part of “give and take.” That means investing in their employees by providing a better employee experience and giving them opportunities to grow in their careers. To do that effectively, employers need to listen to what their employees want, and—just as importantly—use that feedback to take action.
The good news is that technology makes that easier than ever before. For example, Oracle Journeys can help organizations support employees by making existing processes less tedious or introducing new processes—such as managing new remote work and employee vaccination policies—to make employees’ lives better. Additionally, Oracle Dynamic Skills can help employees find ways to develop new skills or explore alternate career paths within the company.
The last year has been a time of immense change for both organizations and workers, and it’s no wonder many people are using this as a chance to turn over a new leaf. Organizations need to step up and offer them new ways to do so.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yvette Cameron is SVP, Cloud HCM Product Strategy at Oracle.