It’s the “Great Resignation.” Your co-workers are quitting... but you’re staying!!
How are you going to survive without them (and with all the extra work)?!
Take a deep breath…. and again. One more time.
Don’t worry, it’ll be okay. We at findcourses.com are here to help.
Not only have we done the research, we’ve sought advice from those who’ve lived through similar experiences. Read on for our 5 tips on how to survive– and thrive– when your colleagues around you are quitting.
Why are Workplace Relationships Important?
Maybe you have a best friend at work. Or even several. When you’re spending 8+ hours a day with someone-- collaborating, caring about team goals and common Netflix interests, commiserating, celebrating professional and personal goings-ons– you’re bound to build strong connections.
And for many, work without these relationships can feel like… work.
You might feel everyone is leaving you for greener pastures. Who's to say, though, it’s not even more green staying right where you are? A colleague leaving opens new opportunities for growth and recognition– for you.
Perhaps the “Great Resignation” can be "good" for you after all.
How you react to your colleague's departure significantly impacts your personal workplace wellbeing. Follow these tips to get through these (temporarily) rough times.
Tip #1 Stay Positive
Positivity tends to be contagious. Especially in the workplace, a positive attitude matters.
It's your projected personal attitude that determines productivity and success within a company. A positive attitude encourages the development of the workplace environment. It influences employee morale, and impacts productivity and team building.
Managers appreciate, and often reward, an employee whom they notice as being a “center of positivity” or having ”can do it-ness.”
One way to trumpet your positive attitude– with authenticity– is to establish yourself as a source of guidance. According to Jerry Han, Chief Marketing Officer at PrizeRebel, “As the company veteran, it's your responsibility to pass on traditions, keep the team motivated, and unite individuals as one cohesive unit.”
He goes on to add that an unexpected, yet equally important, benefit is that “you'll be renewed with a sense of purpose in helping others.” Being positive just makes you feel good.
Tina Hawk, SVP of Human Resources at employment screening company GoodHire echoes this sentiment and encourages non-quitters to self-reflect to find purpose and thrive when colleagues leave:
“The best thing you can do is give yourself plenty of space mentally and physically to process these changes. You might feel a need to move on too, for fear of missing out and being left behind. Remember that your journey is yours and yours alone, and you don't have to follow the path of others to thrive and find fulfilment in your work.”
Tip #2 Widen Your Internal Network
When a colleague leaves, it undoubtedly disrupts your team’s work as well as the work of the broader company. BUT, it also opens the door for you to make a mark by forming new relationships.
Casting a wider internal net, connects you to those who will ultimately improve your productivity and success at work. It, thereby, makes the transition to work life without your co-worker somewhat easier. It also offers you a chance to increase your knowledge and meet people internally who can help you along your career journey.
Above all, the more people you know at work, the more familiar your workplace will feel. (And that’s what you miss most about your colleague, isn’t it?)
- Make a point to introduce yourself to new people within your company. Invite teammates to coffee or lunch– you can commiserate about the loss of your teammate(s) and collaborate on supporting each other through the transition.
- Schedule time with contacts in other departments to better understand how certain projects or processes work. Maybe you can even find improvements with your “fresh eyes.”
When it comes to connecting with others, now is your time to simultaneously be a newbie while already being a company veteran. If you’re not so comfortable putting yourself out there to network, you might look into additional training to boost your communications skills and confidence.
Tip #3 Step up
Yes, your workload may increase when a co-worker quits, but you may also build and develop new skills. You may even take on more leadership responsibilities.
“I thrive during employee change situations by constantly adding more skills to myself. I undergo training to keep me relevant and to become an employee every company will love to have.” contributes Daniela Sawyer, reflecting on her time as an employee before founding a public data search company.
Stepping up also sends a message to your manager. You’re signaling that you’re committed to the company, a valuable asset to the team, and ready for the next challenge. Stepping up could be things like:
- Sharing ideas
- Solving a problem/ finding a better way to do something
- Acquiring a new skill
- Leading a project
- Training a new hire
Exceptional time management and productivity skills are a sanity-saver when taking on more work. Be sure to think about your goals within the company and try to align your extra tasks with those goals.
Of course, if you’re stepping up, it also may be a good time to negotiate. There’s a certain truism in being the “squeaky wheel.”
Victoria Medvec, PhD., author of Negotiate Without Fear: Strategies and Tools to Maximize Your Outcomes advises: “Think about more than just pay. You could negotiate for position, key assignments, and development opportunities. But make sure to ask.”
Women, in particular, should speak up and ask. Medvec notes that women tend to be less likely to negotiate and then ultimately leave the company having never asked for what they needed or wanted.
Tip #4 Prioritize Your Wellbeing
Typically, anxiety and stress will increase exponentially as the notice period approaches its end. There may be things your colleague knew or was the “expert” in– how are you going to learn everything they know in just a couple of handover meetings?
Arnold Long, a General Operations Manager at a national plumbing services company believes trying to derive fulfillment from other areas of your life makes a difference to your wellbeing at work. “That is, put more energy into your hobbies, family, and loved ones so that the impact of losing your work friends doesn’t hit you as hard emotionally.”
Decades of empirical studies has shown that resilience:
- Increases well-being and optimism
- Reduces and prevents depression, anxiety, and conduct problems
- Results in fewer substance abuse and mental health diagnoses
- Improves workplace engagement and productivity
- Improves physical health
Alder goes on to elaborate, “This speaks a lot about your character too. Hence with everyone opting to leave work to pursue more opportunities, choosing to stay only leverages your value to the company. Resilience will give you the humbling spotlight that you have been gunning for ever since you were hired. Choosing to stay authenticates your veracity as a person and employee.”
No doubt, transformational change within your work life will increase your stress level. When managed well, however, stress can be a path to personal growth. After all, working under stress can push us out of our comfort zones, lead to breakthroughs, and create unintended discoveries.
Deftly applying stress management skills allows you to harness your stress response. Knowing what works best for you to allow you to remain productive (even more so) is one way to take back control and leverage stress’ power for good.
Tip #5 Keep in Touch
You never know when you might be ready to make a change in your own employment situation. So simply, you want to keep in touch with your out-going colleagues because perhaps they can help you.
As a VP of Operations at a national HVAC servicing company, LesterMclaughlin advises to “Always maintain your network... Your network is your most valuable professional asset, so invest in it. When your colleagues leave, keep in contact with them and ask people you know if they need employees with their skill sets. In other words, always be giving without expecting anything in return.”
Your Linked In presence helps here. Everything you do on the platform helps keep you top of mind to your digital connections. Connect, congratulate, or inform of job changes in a personalized and authentic way.
The relationships you make and maintain are the ones that will ultimately make your career goals a reality. Keeping in touch establishes your ability to later ask for advice, recommendations, favors, etc.
Download these additional findcourses.com resources to help the "Great Resignation" be “good” for you:
About the Author
Rama Eriksson is a Digital Content Editor at findcourses.com. Her writing is complemented by 15+ years as an international marketing professional. She brings her experience and curiosity to connect professionals to the right training to help further their goals. Originally from the New York area, Rama has lived in Stockholm, Sweden since 2010.