John O’Connor

Thanks largely to a COVID-19 vaccine, more people are returning to their places of employment. But maybe not for long.

Turns out that many workers in the long-term care field didn’t just watch “The View” and “Judge Judy” during their recent hiatus. Quite a few also took stock of their day jobs. And let’s just say these performance reviews don’t seem to be going very well.

How else to explain that in the wake of a massive recession, worker shortages are the new normal? That, my friends, is hardly typical.

But it’s not just long-term care workers with second thoughts about the second shift. A record four million people left their jobs in April alone, according to the Labor Department. And it looks like there’s going to be a lot more of where that came from.

A Microsoft study found that more than 4 in 10 employees worldwide (41%) would consider leaving within the next year. A poll by Monster is even more ominous: 95% of workers are contemplating a job change. What we have here may be nothing short of an attitudinal sea change.

Economists have even coined a term for the large-scale defections now taking place: The Great Resignation.

It’s probably not too hard to figure out why so many staffers are opting to walk out the door. Thanks to the pandemic, many had months on end to consider what work means to them, whether and how they are valued — and how they should be spending their time, both on and off the clock.

If you are running a long-term care facility, none of what’s trending here qualifies as good news. The fact is, hiring and keeping able-bodied bodies was nightmarish even before the great reckoning began. Now employees are going to be even less inclined to show up?

The bottom line, if you’ll pardon the pun, is that your work is cut out for you.

For unless you are OK with running a chronically understaffed facility, you’re going to have to put more elbow grease into your recruitment and retention efforts.

And even that may not be enough to stem the rising tide of departures.

So now is probably a good time to contemplate what kind of new and improved perks your organization can offer. The new options here might run from the obvious (more pay and a clearly defined career path) to the sublime. As for the latter, I’ll leave that to your imagination. But clearly, the more relevant and itch-scratching, the better.

For in case you didn’t notice, you are now officially in a roaring, war-for-talent environment.

And by all indications, the fight is just getting started.

John O’Connor is Editorial Director for McKnight’s.