Shop Life Columnists

‘The Great Resignation’

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For many reasons—oh, so many reasons—2021 is a very odd year to run a business. The word “unprecedented” has been thrown around so often that I feel it doesn’t even help to describe what you have all faced over the last 18 months. And no issue looms larger, it seems, than the current struggle to fill your teams with high-level talent. The “Great Resignation” is what many economic pundits and labor researchers are calling it: Despite millions being out of work, Americans are quitting their jobs at rapid rates. The statistics back it up, and anecdotally, we all hear (or live out) stories of business owners operating short-handed. 

It seems fitting that our lead feature this month is about hiring. Granted, hiring is always a pressing topic—and we typically showcase recruiting strategies in Ratchet+Wrench multiple times per year. This time around, Associate Editor Megan Gosch outlines unique positions to consider adding while in growth mode. The bottom line with this piece and every hiring story, though, is that talented teams are absolutely critical to the success of any organization. 

So, how do we all ensure we recruit, grow and retain them, particularly when there seem to be so many lingering factors out of our control?

Well, here’s the harsh reality: Much of it is in our control.

I spoke with a shop owner recently who talked about how he’s never been so inundated with technicians reaching out about open positions. He has a stockpile of resumes, and a full, bustling team that has helped him make 2021 one of his most successful years to date. Sure, his story is rare—but so too are his efforts and focus on building a culture centered on nurturing, growing and retaining talented team members. 

I’m going to oversimplify this a touch, but if you pare down everything you read or hear about maintaining a talented team, there are three main criteria that determine job satisfaction: purposeful work, work-life balance, and compensation. The first of those should be your simplest to outline (if it’s not, start there). The third is the most tangible and quick to evaluate. It’s that middle one that is often the trickiest, and the one that requires the most unique solution for your organization. This is where culture comes into play. Work-life balance isn’t about separating and making time for each; it’s finding a correct blend so that each offers positive energy to the other. 

When organizations lose track of any of those three criteria, well, that’s how we find ourselves in a situation like we are in today. It’s not guesswork; it’s just time to fix it.

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