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In an era dubbed “The Great Resignation,” an unprecedented number of Americans have voluntarily left their jobs over the past five months. From July-October alone, numbers skyrocketed up to four million. As reported by CNN Business, this trend has given heavy leverage to candidates over employees — exemplified by an average of 0.67 job seekers per opening.

With all of these departures, it leaves business in all sectors (commercial cleaning certainly included) with no other choice but to limit firings unless it is deemed absolutely necessary in order to have adequate personnel, be it a distributor salesman or custodial supervisor. In May, just 1.35 million people were terminated (an all-time low). Fast forward to October and essentially nothing had changed, with the mark set at 1.36 million.


Turnover is a costly enough process as it is considering the amount of work hours dedicated to finding an adequate replacement, getting through the interviewing process, and then having to onboard. The added factor of high resignations means that the potential replacement has far more in their replacement at the negotiating table — leading to the new employee getting a higher salary, better benefits or PTO without having to prove value first. An even worse and realistic scenario is there isn’t even a replacement to overpay as no one wants the position. As a result, companies are deciding that when it comes to firing an underperforming employee, the juice might not be worth the squeeze compared to previous years.

On the other side of the coin, this reality will require many managers to reassess their approach to employee evaluation and what constitutes a termination. Extending a longer leash could give an employee a second chance, when perhaps what they needed was just a little more time to find their footing in an industry. It could also lead to structural change in how managers work with their employees to resolve issues.