“When you identify a statistical trend large enough to garner its own label like the ‘Great Resignation,’ it is likely that there is more than one contributing factor,” says Eric M. Bailey, president of Phoenix-based business consulting firm Bailey Strategic Innovation Group, pointing out that we are approximately two years into a global health crisis that has caused tremendous uncertainty, stress and anxiety — and disruption at all levels. “Over the last couple of years, we have produced some of the highest unemployment numbers in history while at the same unseating John D. Rockefeller as the richest American in history. This vastly different experience between front line essential workers and six, seven, eight, or even nine-figure executives has moved from the unspoken shadows to the forefront of conversations.”
Another factor is the seemingly arbitrary nature of working culture. Bailey shares the hardly unique experience of an IT professional who told Bailey he’d recently left that job to work with his wife in their small and growing business. “He said to me, ‘If I was getting more of my work done while working at home for the past year, why do I need to go back into the office? They were asking me to spend an extra three hours per day — getting ready, sitting in traffic both directions — only to go into the office to have more interruptions and get less work done.’ More people are questioning the premise of ubiquitous and ambiguous workplace norms, and when they do not get adequate answers, they’re reevaluating their working situations.”
Arran Stewart, co-founder and CVO of blockchain-powered recruitment platform Job.com, suggests that being forced into remote working has contributed to employee burnout. “With that sudden change, these workers have lacked the structure of an office, which resulted in them overworking from home. Arguably this is the main contributor, however, it may not be the only factor. Another issue could be workers returning to their former jobs in industries that were the hardest hit by the pandemic; these workers may now be resigning from a temporary role and going back to their core job role and skill set as these industries start to recover and grow.”
And there are numerous surveys we have reported in In Business Magazine and “In Business Dailies” that have found many workers would rather return to the office than work from home.
However, given the infinite variety of people, experience and motivations, it should be no surprise that other legitimate surveys conclude the opposite, supporting Raj Subrameyer’s perspective that people have come to realize they can work from any remote location and still be productive in the comfort of their home or even vacation spot, since people have started to travel. “Remote working is the new flexible lifestyle, and employees want to work for a company that embraces this thinking,” says Raj Subrameyer, tech career strategist and author of Skyrocket Your Career. “It is not a perk anymore but a requirement for employees.”
He believes one of the most significant things an employer can do to both attract and retain employees to introduce programs that support them where they are. “Do not force employees to come to work. Instead, give them options of what they would like to do.” He advises hearing out each team member, making note of their preferences and how they can reasonably be accommodated.
In either case, there is more fueling the “Great Resignation” than work-from-home issues. Subrameyer notes that, irrespective of the regional differences and the type of customers companies serve, every industry has been affected by the “Great Resignation.” He sees multiple reasons for this, and cites three: “The government is helping them by giving them incentives during COVID times so that they do not need to think about getting a job during these trying times and, in some cases, these incentives pay higher than the current job. Employees realized this is the perfect time to get jobs that are more relevant to their areas of interest. And some people felt now is the right time to leave toxic work environments and join another company with a better culture and higher pay.”
Bailey moves the discussion up the food chain. “One final factor that I’d like to address is one that we’ve known about since before I joined the field of Organizational Development: bad managers.” Continuing this discussion, he first points out that not every organization is seeing an overwhelming boom in resignations and that, in fact, there are many organizations that are adding thousands of employees while retaining the ones they have. “I know for many HR people reading this, that sounds like a fantasy world filled with unicorns and calorie-free cupcakes, but it’s true. Imagine if you didn’t have to spend all of your time recruiting and onboarding for uncountable vacant positions, and could get back to running your business. When employees have a great manager, they enjoy the work even when it’s challenging. As we’re all ‘doing more with less,’ the employees who are inspired and motivated by great managers will rally around their team and get through it together. Everyone else will find a different job with higher pay until they find yet another different job with even higher pay.”
Connections and Life Choices
“There is a confluence of interesting circumstances that all contribute in a major way to people jumping from job to job right now,” says Zanzibar Vermiglio, Phoenix-based executive business coach and managing partner at Zanzibar Enterprises. “First, we need to understand that collective consciousness moves slower and responds slower than direct and immediate cause and effect. As COVID protocols began to drastically change the workforce — such as work-from-home, people being laid off, people leaving to be paid to stay home, et cetera — the initial overriding impetus was to ‘rise to the occasion.’ In this way, employees were trying to bend over backwards to make the circumstances work because that’s what is a dutiful, good and responsible reaction to an emergency. Most of the workforce was asked to take on more or do more.
“However,” he adds, “we then couple this with the fact that people are no longer in the office. One of the things that suffered greatly in the ensuing months was managers being connected to employees in a meaningful way. This seemed like a decent idea at first. Employees were going the extra mile to make things work. However, the lack of meaningful attention from management made people feel unappreciated and even isolated. After a while, that initial sentiment to “Rise to the occasion” turned into a feeling of being taken advantage of. Couple this with the growing realization that so many people are sitting at home and choosing not to work and the hard-working employee starts to realize their value and importance. The job market being starved for people, created a golden opportunity for people who were getting the job done to write their own ticket at another company. It’s easy to leave if one doesn’t feel appreciated where they are at and the opportunity for work is through the roof.”
Wayne Goshkarian, director of communications for Scottsdale-based Association for Entrepreneurship USA, has observed that, since the Coronavirus shook up the world, people are reevaluating at how they are earning a living and what their future looks like. “Keep in mind,” he says, “that back in March of 2020, all of us were sitting at home thinking, ‘Where is this going? How are we going to make a living? Is my employer going to call me back?’ Therefore, it’s really changed the attitudes of Americans and encouraged them to be more forward thinking.
“With baby boomers leaving the workforce, it is driving them to the gig economy — providing that their job can easily be transitioned into self-employment. For example, we are seeing an increase in people working from home in the technology and graphic design fields. They can get contract or freelance work due to the flexibility of their profession. And this applies to a ton of other jobs! Since many worked from home over the last year and a half, they have been given time to think about transiting to self-employment.”
Even if not lured by self-employment, Subrameyer believes COVID forced people to retrospect their personal lives and careers. “It made them realize that they either need to retool their skillsets to stay relevant in the industry or change their jobs to focus on their true passion. When people started doing this they realized that they have become more marketable and thus the great exodus.”
Travis Laird, regional director for global talent solutions firm Robert Half, notes that the number of U.S. workers quitting their jobs in September was the highest on record. More than 4.4 million workers quit their jobs and there were 10.4 million job openings in the country. That’s roughly 75 unemployed workers for every 100 job openings. In Arizona, the quits rate increased to 3.4% for the month of September, up from 2.9% in August.
According to Robert Half’s recent Job Optimism survey, one of the top reasons workers are looking for a new job is to have greater opportunities for career advancement. “Workers want to ensure employers are supporting their professional growth especially knowing they have options with job openings at record highs.” Greater alignment with company values is also top of mind for today’s workers. “Our survey showed that 71% of professionals said they would leave a company whose values don’t align with their own. The corporate programs most important to them are employee well-being and diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Another reality of the “Great Resignation” is the concept of the boomerang employee, returning to a job after leaving it, which raises the question, “Can you really ever go home again?”
Laird says Robert Half research shows most managers are willing to rehire former employees, which suggests that in a post-pandemic work era, they will be even more open to bringing former employees back on board — especially those who left on good terms. “Returning employees can be a good option to quickly address business needs,” he says, pointing out, “They have a shorter learning curve since they are already familiar with the company, and practices.”
Stewart puts it a little stronger. “Companies should embrace boomerang employees,” he says, and explains, “We are living in unusual times and again, with the shortage of labor currently in the market, arguably there is nothing more empowering to a company than showing the labor pool that a previous employee left, only to return. It demonstrates that there must be something better about the company than what is out in the market.”
Subrameyer points to another positive aspect of rehiring a former employee: “Embrace boomerang employees as they eventually contribute to the growth of the company in many different ways. For one, they learn new skills outside the company and bring them back to your company and, most of all, they have shown their passion to work for a company they love and that is why they came back in the first place.”
From the employee’s standpoint, of course there’s no guarantee the old job will be available. And Vermiglio offers, “I’m not saying an employer should fire the new person who took their place; clearly not. However, if you have an opening that fits with someone you know works, do not make the mistake of getting too emotional over them leaving. You have a quality employee asking to work for you – take it. The answer here is, ‘It depends greatly on the employee and the circumstances that led to their initial exit.’ You would not want to bring back an employee who left when they were on a disciplinary action for performance.”
Laird always advises employers to do their due diligence — contact former employees’ most recent employer to find out why the relationship ended, just as they would do with any other candidate. “Treat a boomerang employee like you would treat a new employee: Put them through new employee orientation, establish rapport and give them time to get up to speed.”
Needs & Skill Sets
“Employers are looking for a flexible workforce now,” says Stewart, observing that employees are conscious that technology is rapidly evolving the macroeconomic market and that, in order for their talent to stay relevant, they need to be as dynamic and flexible as the market is.
Says Bailey, “Every employer is different, but it is important to understand that, as the future marches onward, every employer is trying to improve their product or service and make their operation more efficient and effective. Oftentimes, this leads to a drive toward automation and multifunctional employees. So, instead of employers focusing more on degrees and educational attainment, they’re more focused on skills and previous experience.” He uses as example the role of dental hygienist, pointing out that over the last several years this has encompassed a new set of skills called the “expanded function dental assistant.” “This new role can do more functions that a dentist would have to do but — without dental school — these new ‘expanded function dental hygienists’ can do a lot more and are therefore more desirable for dental offices. It’s not so much that we need people to go get more schooling, but rather we’re looking for people who can provide additional skills.”
And Vermiglio addresses the management level, observing, “The skill that has never been more sorely needed or more obvious in its lacking is management — actually managing people well. From working with over a thousand people in management roles, whether only a team of three to five or a division of 1,000, almost nobody is good at managing people, which is to say almost nobody is good at governing or garnering performance from a group of human resources.”
In his assessment, most employees in corporate America produce only two to two and a half hours of actual work on a daily basis, with the number a bit higher in smaller businesses and varying from industry to industry and company to company. “The point of having a manager is to garner an ever-increasing quality and quantity of work out of a group of human resources,” he says. “The current prevailing strategy is, ‘Delegate, and then hope.’ Managers delegate the responsibilities that need to be held and sometimes they delegate the work to be done, but many managers don’t even break that down; and then they hope it goes well or expect that it goes well. When it doesn’t, they lean on their own personality to intervene: They get angry, befriend, remind, help, philosophically discuss, belittle, etc. This tried and failed tactic for managing people continues to be the order of the day.” In an office environment, Vermiglio says this failed method at least “gets by” according to what he sees as the low standard of productivity in corporate America, but in the distributed workforce, it doesn’t even “get by” well enough for the low standard. “Never before has it been this gapingly obvious that we need managers to be trained how to manage people properly and garner an ever-increasing quality and quantity of performance in a group of people.”
Demographics – Employee Profile
“All the regular factors, such as people retiring, contribute to the ‘Great Resignation,’” says Stewart, but adds, “There’s a theory that more people near retirement age are choosing to retire early because of increased fears over health risks.”
Bailey notes that baby boomers have been leaving the workforce at tremendously high rates for the last several years. “That will continue in something that was coined a couple of years ago called ‘the silver tsunami.’” He says this wave of resignations has been factored into the “Great Resignation” but that the reason we are paying attention to this phenomenon at all is the rate of resignation is significantly higher than expected. “So, while baby boomers are definitely factoring into the total count of people resigning from their position, if it were only baby boomers resigning, it wouldn’t be as noticeable.”
Another factor Bailey points to as having been brewing for the past several decades is the unequal treatment of women and people of color. “Whether it be intentional or unintentional microaggressions or looking the other way after a complaint, there is an added stress for these categories of employees,” he says.
The fact that a significantly larger percentage of people resigning their positions are female Bailey says could be due to a number of different reasons, including but not limited to the dearth of acceptable child care. “Many organizations have discovered that providing childcare onsite or a childcare partnership with an organization nearby has led to tremendous differences in resignation rates. But family obligations are not the only reason that women are leaving the traditional workforce at higher rates than men.”
Says Stewart, “It’s anticipated that over two million women who were in the workforce pre-pandemic will not be returning due to both family commitments and families learning to live on single incomes.”
“The gender aspects of this are fascinating, especially in our current times of questioning gender roles and even gender identity,” says Vermiglio. Some of the considerations he’s seen people struggle with: Are you less of a man for staying home? Are you actually more of a man for staying home? Are you doing your duty as a woman for staying home? Are you betraying your duty as a woman to allow yourself to be pigeon-holed like that?
“Everyone must find their own answers for this. I have interviewed over 50 families on what decisions they made around who would do what around the children, and found it fostered many discussions that would not have otherwise been had without needing to face down the circumstances of the kiddos being home for a year.” What surprised him, he says, is how much of the time the family just did what was going to be easiest given who could work from home. “Workability dominated the decision-making and not traditional gender roles,” he says. “I was pleasantly shocked.”
Demographics – Employer Profile
“Hourly labor jobs, such as warehouse workers and other blue-collar roles, are currently the hardest to hire for,” Stewart says. While fears about health implications factor into this labor force’s disinclination, Steward notes that these jobs were taken from them and then offered straight back with almost zero loyalty or care for them, “which has understandably made this talent pool choosier about who they go and work for.
“The most popular growth industry,” Stewart continues, “is hospitality and leisure, which is unsurprising since this industry was quite likely the one that was hit the hardest by the pandemic and, as a result, this market has now seen the highest resurgence of workers returning and opportunity being made available.”
Vermiglio suggests that, right now, all positions in all companies seem easy to fill. “There’s plenty of people,” he says. “The issue for employers is how much people need to be making. Most employers haven’t caught on to the fact that inflation has driven workforce prices up. If someone can get $18 or even $20 an hour working at McDonald’s, then how can they expect to pay someone $16 an hour to come work in an office? Employers who have not adjusted to the new wages for employees are struggling to find help.
“However, I will say that it has never been harder to hire for a C-level role. In most cases, we are having to see it in someone already in the company and promote them into being a C-level candidate rather than seeking one out. Also, financial positions such as CFO, accounting director or chief auditor are all positions that are difficult to get experienced help.”
Providing a view from the inside, Bailey shares that in his work with organizations in many different sectors, “every single one feels like they are having the most difficult time finding employees. But what I found is that rather than a low employee count, the most difficult thing for employers is the constant churn of employees.” He notes this happens mostly with entry level or what we’re now calling “essential” employees. “When an employee starts a position and is making minimum wage, it is easy for them to see 10 other options to make the same wage. They may start with an employer and then realize quickly that they don’t like their manager or they don’t like the work they’re doing and they can leave and go find another job with the same pay. So, while organizations at this level find a steady stream of employees coming and starting their organization, the difficulty becomes keeping them longer than the first three months.”
And, harking back to the discussion of remote work, Stewart observes, “The power of remote work has made it considerably easier for many companies with various roles to find the talent they’re looking for without geographic constraints. The true challenge is convincing these workers to come and work for you.”
Attract and Retain
There’s a lot that employers can do to keep employees and to attract new ones, but Bailey notes that the work necessary to attract employees is completely different from the work required to retain them. “Attracting employees is essentially a sales job. You need to present your organization in the clearest and most accurate light so that people who potentially can thrive at your organization have a chance to see your organization for what it is,” he says. “Once employees are in the door, it is the job of the organization to continually make sure the employees feel that their work matters.” Underscoring the importance of employers creating an environment where their employees are doing meaningful work rather than just busy work, he relates, “I worked with an organization over the last couple of years, and an employee shared with me that they had been producing the same report for the last three years and they started to question if anyone was reading it. So, to test their hypothesis, they started inserting random song lyrics into the report to see if anyone would notice. Lo and behold, nobody noticed. This is an example of meaningless work. It is hard to believe that the work you were doing is making a difference in the world when you spend two hours a week producing a report that nobody reads.”
There’s a lot of conversation about providing employees with growth and training opportunities, says Bailey. And while those benefits are important to keep minds fresh and moving forward, he notes that training opportunities alone are not enough to keep employees happy. “Ironically, one of the best things you can do for employee retention is retain employees. That may sound like a joke, but if your organization can retain more workers, by creating a fantastic working environment, workloads on the entire team will remain reasonable,” Bailey says. “The more people who leave an organization, the more work that piles up and, ultimately, lands on the desks of peers, subordinates and supervisors.” In the case of an employee who has a mountain of work and is offered a two-part training workshop, the employee may realize that the pressure of uncompleted work outweighs the benefits of attending the training.
“When I say, ‘fantastic working environment,’ I’m not talking about ping-pong tables and Jeans Day,” Bailey continues. “I’m talking about an environment where employees can be candid with one another about issues, and have a clear idea of how their work contributes to the organization as well as to other people — peers, customers, shareholders, etc. People need to know that their work makes a difference to someone. People need to know that they are appreciated for what they bring to the table as well as who they are as individuals. If you’re a manager and you haven’t taken the time to get to know the humans who work with you because you’re too busy, you’re likely going to find yourself even busier as you try to fill their empty seat.”
Observing, “In the current tight labor market, competitive salaries are table stakes for employers,” Laird suggests companies regularly revisit pay ranges and discuss career paths with employees to align on expectations. Referring to Robert Half’s salary guide as a resource for employers to stay competitive and for workers to know their market worth, he advises employers to “be prepared to negotiate and move quickly to make an offer.”
But pay, says Bailey, doesn’t matter like most people believe it does. “If you’re a manager, you’ve likely earned at least a few pay increases over the course of your career. Can you remember what it felt like three pay periods after your last increase? Of course you can’t. Psychology research indicates that it takes about three pay periods for the human brain to normalize to an increase in salary. While people do brag about their salaries and some even define themselves by their salaries, in general the salary is a barrier of fairness. Organizational psychology professor Matt Grawitch of St. Louis University identified that people need to feel they are paid fairly for the work that they do. The rub is that ‘fairly’ is a fluid concept that is drastically influenced by social and personal context. But the idea that throwing more money at a job title is going to both attract and retain an employee is a false narrative that will drain resources and make existing staff members feel undervalued.”
Subrameyer suggests employers hold town hall sessions and open meetings – and validate their employees’ concerns. “Listen to what your employees are telling you. Encourage them to ask questions openly without fear of being judged.” Counterintuitively, it may be reassuring to employees to know their leaders are also looking for answers. “As leaders, we have to let them know that you, yourself, are figuring out stuff as well but are here to support your employees and navigate this challenging phase together.”
And Stewart points out that employers who are more conscious of the personal needs of their employees — such as work-life balance, flexible working hours, a hybrid of work from home and office, and managing the mental health of their teams — are also the companies that are most likely to successfully retain their staff.
It’s no surprise that employee burnout is rising. Pointing out the slimmer teams and heavier workloads caused by the pandemic, Laird suggests managers bring in extra staffing support and resources when possible and give workers the time needed to unplug and recharge.
But Vermiglio notes that burnout is much less important in cases of shepherding someone forward in their career and taking on a game worth playing. “I’m not saying to overwork people,” he says. “However, if someone is deeply engaged in what they are doing in a meaningful, if not inspired, way then the risk of burnout goes way down. If they’re just punching a timecard, uninterested in what they are doing and have no real future to live into at work, then burnout is assured almost no matter what you do.”
The Engaged Workforce in the Pandemic Era
Creating an engaged workforce may look a little different now from pre-pandemic.
Stewart notes the increased challenge of creating culture and engagement for a remote workforce, observing that the separation and potential isolation that remote work can present makes building relationships harder. “It requires better structure and incentives from the employer to bring that employee over the line in order to have true employee engagement.”
Laird reports on a survey Robert Half conducted with employers throughout the country, asking where they would require their teams to work once COVID-19 restrictions lift, sharing the local results. “Seventy-three percent of Phoenix employers said they would require workers to work full time in an office, with only 26% saying they would allow workers to have remote or hybrid work schedules.” Phoenix employers noted their biggest challenges when it comes to managing fully remote or hybrid teams were trusting employees will get the job done (25%), gauging workloads and helping staff avoid burnout (22%) and finding effective ways to recognize and reward employee accomplishments (22%).
Tips for employers to manage a remote workforce include:
Communicate more. During any time of transition, leadership should communicate as much as two to three times more than they would in person. It’s important leadership keeps remote staff up to speed on key takeaways from in-person meetings at the office that could impact their projects, or considers making all meetings virtual.
Pay attention to behavior. It’s important that leadership remember that some remote workers may feel left out. Leadership should remain alert for signs that they aren’t performing at their best, such as missed deadlines, lack of communication or decreasing interest in assignments.
Enhance technology capabilities. Business should stay up to date on data-sharing and collaboration apps. Leaders should not leave their team with an IT customer service number or website as their only way to solve problems.
Bring in help. Reopening the office and learning new office procedures will likely add more stress to existing staff. Working with contract talent will help alleviate the burden on them. —Travis Laird, regional director at Robert Half
But many companies were dealing with a distributed workforce prior to the pandemic, and Vermiglio points out that engagement of the workforce is only trickier now if companies have distributed workforce where there didn’t used to be. “The culture of an organization can be very dependent on proximity. Here, we must get creative about how to bring the crew together, and I’m not a fan of it always being another Zoom call.” He points out that people are already tied to their computer, so oftentimes employees roll their eyes at being asked to socialize on the computer. Zoom events may still have their place, but he encourages companies to find other creative ways to connect. “Companies are doing masked, vaccinated or heightened-precaution in-office events as well as happy hours. They are also doing outdoor or distanced kinds of get-togethers.
“Beyond this, you can also put people in little workgroups of three or four and have employees solve problems in the organization. These little ‘committees’ have proven very successful in having people feel buy-in to the organization while growing relationships with co-workers. I’ve even had some companies do this where we already had solutions simply because it makes more of a difference to come up with the solution this way, rather than the top down.” He’s optimistic that businesses will find “dozens of other ideas.”
While acknowledging that the world has changed in some major ways over the past 20 months, however, Bailey says, “What is less obvious is how much it has stayed the same.” Most employees still hate getting up on Monday morning, for instance; in fact, he says, many folks start feeling the “Sunday Blues” on Saturday night! “The key to engaging people at work is honestly fairly simple, yet very few managers take the time to do it,” he says, adding, “Honestly, for many it’s because they’re overworked themselves.”
Key, says Bailey, is people need to feel the work they are doing matters to someone. We discussed this point earlier as part of the cause of the “Great Resignation”; Bailey addresses it as a management technique. “Whether that is a manager saying, ‘Thank you for always producing these reports on time. When you do that, it makes my life better because it allows me not to have to worry about something that I’ve worried about for years’ or ‘The way you deal with customers is fantastic. I know that it’s over the phone and you can’t see their body language, but most of our customers call us when they are in some state of stress or frustration. You make their world better with the care you give them. I can just imagine their shoulders going down after talking with you. Keep it up!’”
People also need to have a way to measure their success, Bailey points out. “If you think about your day, were you successful? Most people don’t have a definitive answer to this question because they don’t have a clear or accurate way of measuring their own success. Achievement and success causes the brain to release dopamine, the reward chemical, which can lower anxiety and give folks an overall sense of well-being. A manager who can help an employee define success clearly is a manager who will have more productive and engaged employees.”
Also critical for people to be engaged is for them to feel they are seen, says Bailey. “Not for the work they have done but rather for who they are. Some folks aren’t used to this kind of leadership, but when an employee feels that their manager has an interest in who they are beyond their job, it releases the brain chemical oxytocin. Oxytocin is responsible for forming bonds and reducing pain.” He cites a January 2020 survey by Ipsos Polling, which identified that the U.S. workforce was lonelier than it had ever been. “People feel that they are not understood, that they don’t have meaningful connections at work, and that they don’t have a reasonable balance between work and home life.”
Alternative Workforce Solutions
Sharing, “We’re seeing more companies hiring contract professionals to help minimize disruptions, maximize productivity and prevent employee burnout, Laird cites a recent Robert Half survey that showed 74% of companies are hiring contract professionals and many are leveraging outside agencies to help recruit, onboard and manage contract workers.
Goshkarian cites The Washington Post reporting that 36% of U.S. workers are part of the gig economy. “Therefore,” he says, “employers can take advantage of the growing gig economy, since there is a large workforce to pull from.” In fact, he notes this is already happening, “According to ‘Small Business Trends,’ four in five businesses are planning on hiring more gig workers post-pandemic, with 50% saying they have already done so.” Not only can these gig workers fill in the gaps in an employer’s staff, but having part-time gig workers is also cost-effective. “You do not have to provide full-time benefits to these employees, so you can utilize these funds elsewhere in your business while you get back up on your feet.”
While contract, temporary or even gig work are potential solutions for employers, Stewart points out this comes with costs of its own. “There is an almost guaranteed staff turnover that’s experienced with temporary labor, which poses a major cost to companies.”
Says Stewart, “The reality is the ‘Great Resignation’ and talent shortage are the result of ‘the great reflection’ that the pandemic forced all of us to do, and it will be some time until we see the labor market realign.”