Diversity, Equity & InclusionCategory3 min read

Worried About the Great Resignation?

Betsy SutterSeptember 30, 2021
Be a people-centered company that prioritizes choice and flexibility.

With almost half of America’s working population actively job searching, the Great Resignation is top of mind for employers across the country. Is it time to panic? On the contrary: The Great Resignation is a moment of opportunity for employees and employers alike.

Headshot
Betsy Sutter, Executive Vice President
and Chief People Officer, VMware

It’s first important to recognize what’s driving this surge in talent mobility. And like so many things these days, COVID-19 has been a primary factor. For many people, the pandemic’s disruptions to their daily routines created an opportunity to reassess priorities and think deeply about what they want from their careers.

Some realized they need more flexibility from their jobs. Others crave purpose and are seeking organizations that are in sync with their values. Still others want the chance to develop new skills or contribute in different ways. Whatever they’re looking for, workers are emerging from the last 18 months with more direction—and a new willingness to follow it.

This is something we all should be celebrating. Everyone deserves the chance to go after a job that aligns with their skills, their interests and the rest of their lives. And employers should want this too. Highly engaged employees can transform a company for the better from the inside out, while a disengaged employee that is mismatched with an organization can drag on a team’s morale and productivity.

I call this “worker flow” and it may not be a passing trend. While the pandemic accelerated the adoption of this mindset, it coincides with a younger generation entering the job market with different expectations around how and where they want to work. This means that companies that want to position themselves for success now and in the future should be taking this time to look inward and figure out how they can show up for employees in new and better ways.

We’ve been taking this seriously at VMware since the beginning of the pandemic. As our employees left campus and pivoted to remote work, we quickly realized that business as usual wasn’t going to cut it. Our employees were dealing with so much—new work environments, increased family responsibilities, financial challenges and the pervasive stress of COVID-19. It was clear that we needed to step up our support efforts to meet their needs head-on.

The Beauty of Choice and Flexibility

Wellness is such a personal thing, and one size rarely fits all. So our approach is multi-faceted and prioritizes choice and flexibility. Our employees personalize their well-being through generous programs that include:

  • A well-being allowance for each employee ($1,000 in the U.S.) that can be put toward their physical, emotional, financial or community well-being.
  • A well-being site where employees share their stories and support colleagues on their #MyWellbeing journeys.
  • Coaching, therapy and work life services that can be used by employees and their families.
  • A companywide day off once per quarter and a week-long shut down at the end of the year to give employees time to relax and recharge.

As we work toward a post-pandemic future, we have no plans to put away these tools. In fact, we’re adding new ones. We’re letting our employees choose where and how they work, an initiative called Future of Work that empowers everyone to choose their own path forward—whether that’s full-time remote work, full-time in-office work or a hybrid experience. We’re also doubling down on our development initiatives so that our best employees don’t have to look outside the company to continue growing in their careers.

These initiatives come back to one key idea: The best way to retain the talent you have and attract the best talent available is to be a people-centered company. A company that cares, gives people choice and flexibility, prioritizes individual and collective well-being, and offers opportunities to grow and contribute. Every employer can show up for their people in this way—it just requires that you listen and act. Organizations that do this won’t have to worry about a Great Resignation—they’ll benefit from a happy, healthy and engaged workforce.