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Abandoned careers, weaker work ethic

Several experts have predicted — yet companies will be surprised by it in early 2021 — that in the midst of a severe crisis, more and more workers will submit their resignations. When this happens, it will hit employers and HR managers like a cold shower, because in most cases, the employees who will leave will be valuable ones: people that held key positions and around whom these companies built long-term plans.

Work ethic has changed

It was already noticeable throughout 2020 that employees’ attitudes towards their work, employer, and careers had started to show profound changes. Several publications have discussed how the pandemic has transformed people’s thinking, and humanity will now learn to value life, its everyday pleasures, and we humans will learn to focus on substance. We also read these works, and we agree with them on an individual level. What is a concern, however, is that few businesspeople translate these facts into business. After all, one of the important consequences of the legitimate fright caused by COVID-19 is that we are focusing more heavily on our private lives and thus pushing business into the background. This is a natural process. However, as a decision-maker, as the leader of a company, we need to know that work ethic and work efficiency will also change significantly in the future. Since people’s overall energy levels and performance have not changed, the existing pie will be cut so that work gets a smaller slice. Moreover, all this is a consequence of the transformation of the basic motivational rankings, on which we have no influence in the first place as an employer. That is, a situation has arisen, and where you like it or not, we have to deal with it. The task is not to change the situation, but to manage it as successfully as possible. So, does that mean everyone will work less in 2021? Of course not! It means that people will choose a job or be placed in jobs that do not negatively affect their private lives. Obviously, it cannot be said that from tomorrow a person will not work if they cannot find a job brings them happiness, and the need to earn money ceases to exist as a motivating element. On the other hand, it is true that the most skilled workers, for whom there is a choice and whose income level is sufficient to provide them with a life free of financial problems, will be much less focused on income. We can also bet that these employees will need to be paid better for extra work.

A multitude of sector changes

In 2021, the other trend will be sector change. The process started last year, as proactive workers immediately began looking for a way out of the sectors most affected by the crisis. By the end of the year, even the less active workers had realised the need to jump off the sinking ship. But sector change will not be observed only in sectors that went bust during the crisis. The emphasis on private life causes many workers, especially highly skilled ones, to give up their original profession. It is mainly those who leave their current profession or sector who were not satisfied with their chosen career anyway, but because of good pay or comfortable conditions, accepted their place. They did the amount of work they needed, but it didn’t bring them any real pleasure. They brought this negative mood into their private lives, and that was enough. In the home office, diminished expectations gave room for them to rethink their lives, and they didn’t like what they saw. They are now working to build new, happier lives that leave no room for their previous career. Unfortunately, these needs for sector change are complicated to stop for the employer. In this situation, most traditional motivational tools are futile. Employers and HR executives are no longer in control of a very difficult process.

2021 will be a challenging year for the HR profession as new trends emerge for which managers have received no training. Meanwhile, they are also private individuals who are fighting the same way in planning their own futures, so they may want to leave their careers as well. It is difficult to reverse these trends, so company owners and managers must be prepared for them!