Yvette Cameron is the SVP of global product strategy at Oracle Cloud HCM. Views are the author's own.
The pandemic has been formative in reshaping the meaning of success for employees and employers alike. We've been through global lockdowns, social isolation, beginnings of reopenings followed by more closings, and now a widespread movement among the workforce in what has come to be known as the Great Resignation.
These events have had a significant impact on the way we view everything in life, from work and our careers to happiness and success. As we contemplate a return to normalcy, it begs the question: After all we've been through, what do we want the new normal to be? The global workforce is in a unique position: We've been through a lot, we know what we need to be fulfilled, and we're waiting for organizations to step up or step out.
It's important for us to reflect on how the past year – or rather, the past two years – have changed the playing field for both employees and employers. Now that we've found a new meaning of success, 2022 presents an opportunity to fulfill it.
The great awakening
Since the start of the global pandemic, we've all been in a sort of limbo – adjusting to new circumstances but not exactly sure what's to come next. The past year especially has left the global workforce feeling lonely, disconnected and incapable of controlling our personal and professional lives. The constant state of change and hardships we've endured have caused many of us to reevaluate our lives.
A new study from Oracle and Workplace Intelligence found that 93% of people around the world used the past year to reflect on their personal and professional lives, and 88% said the meaning of success has changed for them due to the pandemic, with work-life balance, mental health and workplace flexibility now top priorities.
But with this discovery of what truly matters and redefinition of success, workers globally found themselves stuck in their careers, realizing their current roles were not fulfilling their needs and they weren't getting what they truly wanted to be happy. In fact, 83% of workers said they are ready to make a change but were not satisfied with their organization's support for career growth. And 87% believe their company should be doing more to listen to their needs.
This Great Resignation is fueled by this great awakening of people knowing what they want and gaining the confidence and drive to go get it.
A new year, a new opportunity
What can we expect from this new year? The mass workforce exodus to continue? More doom and gloom for employers? Continued loneliness and discontent around the world? Not necessarily.
2020 was a year of disruption, forcing employees and employers to adapt to a new world. 2021 was a year of reflection, allowing people everywhere to reevaluate what matters most to them in their personal and professional lives. This sets up 2022 to be a year of rebound. It will help us to recover and to pursue new and improved relationships — including the employer-employee relationship.
People all over the world are more motivated than ever before to regain control of their futures. In fact, 74% of people feel like they have control over their professional lives going into 2022. They're empowered to fulfill this new meaning of success and they're looking for help from their employers.
For employers, 2022 provides a huge opportunity to embrace this optimism, motivate their workforce, and begin supporting them in a way their teams are searching for. The study found that people want technology like AI and chatbots to help define their futures by identifying skills that will grow their career, recommending ways to learn new skills and providing guidance on how to achieve their definition of success. Organizations can listen to what their employees want, turning that feedback into action, and offering an employee experience that delivers on key values.
Employees are no longer going to settle for a "just OK" workplace experience or a job that's "good enough." There's too much at stake now and we've come to realize that our happiness is not worth risking.