holiday job satisfactionIt’s December, and it is time to focus my monthly musing on something other than “work.” Well, it’s not high-temperature metallurgy, but it might have a little to do with work. Why? I thought I would ponder “The Great Resignation” and provide a few concise thoughts from the experts.

Something we have talked much about over the years was affirmed in a FORTUNE magazine poll conducted this fall. In the poll, 73% of CEOs say a labor/skills shortage is the most likely external is-sue to disrupt their business in the next 12 months. In addition, 57% of CEOs say attracting and re-cruiting talent is among their organization’s biggest challenges followed by 51% who said it was retain-ing talent.

Did you know that a record 4.4 million U.S. workers voluntarily quit their jobs in September, and 4.3 million quit in August? Each month is equal to the combined population of South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming and the District of Columbia! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 20 million workers have left their jobs since April 2021. In addition, depending on which survey you look at, about half of employed people (those that didn’t leave) are actively job hunting.

What is causing “The Great Resignation” as it is known? It’s more than one thing, but here are some thoughts. Several of these are at least related to the pandemic.

  • Inflation: To keep up with inflation, employees need more than the average 3% raise (assuming your company is average), so they need to leave their current position to seek higher pay. Because of the great need for people, the economic incentives to change jobs is compelling.
  •  Purpose: The thought is, “When the outside world is really uncertain, you need more purpose in your day-to-day ‘grind.’”
  • Value: More than 50% of those leaving jobs cited three issues for leaving. They are not feeling valued by their organizations, not feeling valued by their managers and not feeling a sense of belonging at work.
  • Burnout: Especially for those left behind after others leave, burnout is becoming a problem, and it is likely to spike higher.
  • Independence: According to a July survey by, a review site that focuses on small businesses, one-third of working Americans who quit their job started their own business.

Reading this list, it occurred to me that we have long encouraged employers in our industry to create a great working environment by valuing their employees. I quickly reviewed a few December editorials going back a decade or so, and here are some of the ideas put forth. Needless to say, fulfillment and satisfaction are hardly a novel thing.


Loyalty in employees is a particularly valuable commodity these days when it is becoming so difficult to hire good people. We want our employees to stay, and loyal employees want to stay.

Attracting good people is about having a great place to work. Corporate culture that values these employees and their contributions is one of the things that makes your business a great place to work.

Particularly with so many folks now working from home, separation of work and home life is nearly impossible, which means we need to figure out how to integrate the two.

  • Work/life integration has become the new work/life balance. Since work makes up the largest amount of time spent in any one activity, it’s impossible to separate the “work you” from the “real you.” As a result, finding a job that is the “right fit” is more important than we might have realized. As employers, we need to align the right people with the right role.
  • Workers overwhelmingly say they want to work for a company with a coherent, meaningful vision. By ensuring workers are able to carve out time to attend to their non-work lives, while contributing to an admirable mission during business hours, leaders at least stand a chance of keeping their best people around.
  • Everyone wants to feel valued (i.e., loved), but that may look different for the range of people in the workforce – Baby Boomers to Millennials.

In light of this, we previously provided a list of suggestions for how to engage (recruit and train) our newest workers, the Millennials. Also known as Generation Y, Millennials are recognized as people born in the years ranging from 1983-2001. Here is that list.

Highlight advanced technologies

  • Focus on work-life balance
  • Focus on career development
  • Open the communication lines
  • Provide frequent recognition
  • Provide opportunities for learning (e.g., mentoring program)
  • Manage cultural clashes
  • Let them make their mark
  • Offer international experiences
  • Allow remote collaboration – flexibility

Hopefully, these thoughts from past musings may provide some ideas for stressed-out employers who want to retain their good employees and/or recruit new ones.

Being the holidays, I wanted to present everyone reading these words with a nice offer. We are currently discounting Dan Herring’s books in our bookstore. In deference also to this month’s Technical Talk column, all four of these exceptionally useful resources can be purchased for less than $200! This is a remarkable discount from the original issue price. These are a great resource at a great value!

We want you to know that you are valued by Industrial Heating, and we hope this holiday season and the coming new year bring you peace, joy and love.

Reed Miller

Associate Publisher/Editor