The Great Resignation or the Great Reflection
by Joel C . Small , DDS and Mac McDonald , DDS
The news recently included a report on our nation ’ s labor force . According to the most current statistics , four-anda-half million people resigned from their current job in the previous month . This is a staggering figure considering that the same report stated that there are currently 11 million job openings available nationwide .
Some have called this post-pandemic trend “ the great resignation ” – people are leaving their jobs in unheard of numbers .
Equally perplexing is that many of those choosing to resign have no other form of employment in mind . According to newly released statistics , 28 % of the general population that resigned currently have no other job in place . The figure for the healthcare industry is almost unbelievable as a whopping 56 % of people leaving our workforce are doing so without having another job .
David Rock , the founder of The Neuroleadership Institute , shared his perspective on this issue in a recent podcast . Rock believes that the pandemic created a unique opportunity for many of us to reflect on what we want : not just from our work , but for our life going forward .
In many ways , the closing of businesses ( i . e . dental offices ) created the time and space for this “ great reflection ”.
People deeply reflected on their values and purpose and whether their current employment was aligned with or in conflict with these personal guiding principles . “ Is this job serving my goals , my purpose , and my values ?” The labor statistics provide us with the obvious answer .
Rock ’ s research indicated that underlying an employee ’ s decision to resign were feelings of burnout , a sense that they were not appreciated by their employer , and a lack of freedom or autonomy in completing tasks . Additionally , he uncovered two recurring needs expressed by those considering resignation .
The first was their desire to continue working remotely rather than being bound to an office .
The second was their ability to have flexibility to complete their work on their own schedule and not be tied to specific work hours found in traditional employment .
Unfortunately , dentistry is not capable of meeting these needs for our employees . Is this the reason we are currently experiencing severe staff shortages ? This is a great question that may need further investigation .
Rock believes that , given these current circumstances , there has never been a time where leadership has been more necessary . Leaders create organizational cultures , and the great resignation is proof that leaders need to take a close and hard look at their organization ’ s culture because most are not meeting the needs of their employees .
Again , this is unfortunate for the healthcare profession because many of us have a blind spot when it comes to leadership . We know how to manage , but management without leadership will not create the culture necessary to meet the changing needs and desires of our workforce .
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