The post-pandemic job market experienced a tremendous rate of voluntary resignations in the last couple of years. According to the Harvard Business Review, this trend was not as unexpected as it may seem, and the average quit rates have been rising for the past twelve years. During times, when companies and HR managers need to fight to keep employees and attract new talent, it is more important than ever to learn from our past mistakes and the lessons from The Great Resignation.

1. Is flexibility enough for your current and future employees?

In the US in 2021, 45% of those who quit their jobs decided to do so for lack of flexibility. If your goal is to retain and attract new talent, you should make flexible work arrangements a rule, not an exception. Airbnb recently introduced a policy, allowing employees to work anywhere in the country and spend up to 90 days in 170 countries a year (allowance is set for tax purposes). To take away one of the biggest drawbacks of remote work, Airbnb will still enable teams to meet regularly in person! Give your people flexibility and freedom and watch them fly (literally).

2. Pay more attention to caregivers

According to Forbes, women left their employment four times more than men during the pandemic – and many of them never returned. This period was especially hard on working mothers who apart from their daily jobs had to pick up additional caregiving responsibilities for children, parents, and relatives. As a result, 40% of women are actively seeking a new job now that the pandemic is over and only 10% want to stay with their current employer, a recent Deloitte study found.

Companies should actively and mindfully look after the caregivers to ensure they don’t burn out.  One way is to have feedback and performance mechanisms to make sure all employees are treated equally and in-person employees aren’t favored for the wrong reasons. Another can be a tailored virtual mentoring program designed for women to help with future career development. Qualcomm regularly surveys and compares the engagement of men and women leading to promotions, as well as their training. The company also monitors promotion velocity statistics and performs exit interviews and recruitment surveys.

3. People enjoy change more than they might admit

The Great Resignation, also known as The Great Reshuffle has demonstrated that people pursue change for many reasons. Some switched jobs for a bigger paycheck or benefits while others looked for more freedom and self-expression. The pandemic was the perfect storm to kickstart the transformation & growth – people joined startups, pursued passion projects, or turned themselves into businesses.

What’s the lesson for leadership? It’s important to embrace people’s newfound individualism and find ways for it to benefit the company too. One way is to encourage people to take on new challenges within and outside their current roles – through company rotation programs, probono projects, or training academies. A bolder step is to allow employees to pursue their own projects on the side. GameBake’s CEO Michael Hudson supports his employees to have side hustles as it allows them to pick up new skills that can ultimately benefit his business. He doesn’t monitor how much time employees spend on extracurriculars and trust them to get the job done. A training firm Rebel Business School goes one step further to add permission to have a side hustle explicitly into employees’ contracts.

The crisitunity (opportunity through crisis) enabled fundamental shifts in people’s professional and personal lives. In order to attract and retain talent in the new paradigm, leaders should define new strategies to manage hybrid workers, ensure everyone is being treated equally, and acknowledge employees as individuals by supporting their passions.

Leaders who are ready to embrace this leadership challenge can join an upcoming Leadership Executive Growth Circle to share ideas and co-create solutions for employee engagement with other committed global leaders.