great resignation

How Startups Can Bounce Back From the Great Resignation

The Great Resignation may have an ominous tone, it’s true. Just don’t let the name fool you. The massive wave of professionals who are opting out of their current jobs might be a boon for the startup community.

As noted by MarketWatch, new businesses have begun to spring up around the nation in record numbers. At this point, we’re looking at a 50% bump in annual organization births compared to pre-COVID figures. And who’s at the helm of plenty of these new companies? You guessed it: The very people whose “I quit” statements contributed to the Great Resignation.

Of course, not everyone who is fed up with work as usual wants to be a founder. Instead, they’re seeking a different place to ply their trades and put their abilities to use. In other words, they’re looking high and low for somewhere special. And that’s very, very good for your startup if you’re willing to make a few operational changes.

Right now, there are no fewer than 4.5 million potential candidates seeking employment according to SHRM reporting. That’s just in the United States. If you’re looking for knowledge workers, you can be sure your ideal fit is out there. You just have to get creative with your recruitment and retention processes. That way, you’ll have a better likelihood of attracting exceptional applicants who could become future leaders for your organization.

How can you get started and make the most of the Great Resignation for the benefit of your small company? Jettison the notion of “business as usual” and give job seekers and employees what they really want.

1. Show up-and-coming workers how entrepreneurship works.

It’s rare that employees stick around for decades with employers. Rather than worrying about losing superstars, accept that some of your best players may leave one day. This includes those who are members of Generation Z. 

To be honest, GenZers have embraced entrepreneurship like no other generational cohort. As noted in a StartupNation piece, roughly a quarter of teens said they’ve already begun working on their first enterprises. About 4 out of 10 expect to call themselves CEOs sooner rather than later.

Imagine if you brought GenZ employees into the fold with the promise that they’d be able to learn the ropes. Think they’d be more inclined to keep producing if they were given the insider details on business management? It’s a good bet they would. Consequently, teach all your employees to think like owners. Give them “stretch” responsibilities and look at mistakes as chances to grow. Who knows? Your next startup business partner may be the college grad you end up hiring!


How to Create a Culture of Integrity with a Remote Team

2. Get in sync with async.

By now, you’ve probably either dabbled in remote or hybrid working or are seriously considering it. But ask yourself an important question: Have you changed your working processes to make virtual work a successful endeavor? If your team is still working synchronously, global employment solution company Remote highly suggests giving asynchronous work a try. 

Asynchronous work is well suited for teams spread across geographic and time boundaries. When you conduct work asynchronously, you don’t have to wait for a major part of a project to get finished before you can begin. Instead, you break down all projects to their smallest elements and assign them to team members. Each team member focuses attention on a particular part of a project to contribute to the whole. However, work doesn’t have to happen concurrently. 

Ultimately, your marketer in Denver doesn’t have to find time to meet with your salesperson in the Netherlands to get something done. They can rely on asynchronous communications to move responsibilities to the finish line. So don’t be afraid to open the door to async working. Your employees will get more done in less time and with fewer friction points.

3. Offer what other companies can’t—or won’t.

Maybe your startup isn’t able to woo high performers with high salaries or impressive benefits packages. That’s OK. Your smaller size might give you more adaptability, especially when it comes to the perks that matter most right now.

You don’t have to look too far to figure out what workers want, either. And you might be surprised at what seems to top all the lists: It’s flexibility. The Wall Street Journal noted that 95% of employees say they want the flexibility and authority to choose their schedules. They don’t need to work from their homes, either. They just want to be able to rearrange their calendars to better balance their personal and professional duties.

Though this might sound like a simple solution, you can bet that it’s not being offered all over the place. By highlighting that your startup encourages flexibility, you could end up with a more sizable number of applications. At the same time, your current workers may think twice before saying goodbye if you institute flex working arrangements. 


Must-read: How to Staff a Strong Culture on a Shoestring Budget

4. Strengthen the bond between your brand and corporate culture.

Everyone’s talking about branding these days. Individual branding. Product branding. Company branding. You’ve probably gotten into the act, too. Have you merged your branding efforts with your desired corporate culture, though? If not, your employees might not feel as tethered to your organization as they could.

A Harvard Business Review piece talks about the benefits of building a culture on top of a business brand. The author describes several types of overarching organizational brands including those that are disruptive, innovative and luxury-based. She recommends that you use your brand type to better design and influence your intended culture. For example, she suggests that if you consider yourself a service-centric brand, your culture needs to be caring and empathetic.

How does intertwining your brand and internal culture advance your company? Everyone will always know how to act in any situation. Similarly, they’ll feel supported by the brand they serve, which may increase their loyalty. 

At this point, you can look at the Great Resignation as a threat or an opportunity. Choosing the latter puts you in an advantageous position to make the most of this unprecedented shift.


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