With eight months of nearly record numbers of people leaving their jobs – including 4.5 million in November alone — 2021 was the year when the phrase “The Great Resignation” came into the popular consciousness.
But one businessman, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price, called “The Great Resignation” a great big lie in a recent tweet, and Price’s company, he says, experienced near-record high employee retention and record-low resignations last year.
“Companies that are investing in employees, companies that are following that age-old norm that we know is the right thing to do, investing in your people, they’re not experiencing The Great Resignation. And so, some people have called it ‘a great reckoning.’”
The term “The Great Resignation,” Price says, puts responsibility and onus on the wrong party. It’s not that workers are bailing on employers so much as it’s a case of companies relying for far too long on a take-it-or-leave-it posture with workers, and those workers have finally opted for the latter option in that equation.
“I think back to 2008,” Price told NewsNation’s Joe Donlon. “I wasn’t as old in my business at that time, I was only four or five years in. But I remember there was a message from employers at that time that, Hey, you should just be lucky that you kept your job because the person next to you got laid off.”
More than a decade later, the proverbial chickens have come home to roost.
“Going into 2020, you know, my company experienced over a 50% decline in revenue. And you saw this big disruption. And you could see the employer saying, We’re going to use this as an excuse to lay more employees off and get more leverage over those employees that stay. And I really do think that did backfire. but it backfired after they pushed it so long for so many decades.”
Price points to the $7.25 minimum wage, saying that a minimum wage tied to productivity would be closer to not the proposed $15 an hour national figure but to $25 an hour.
“That’s just one of so many policies where we’ve continued to squeeze, squeeze, squeeze workers, employers have continued to do it. And they’re finally facing some consequences. But it’s been a long time coming. And the pendulum has just swung a little bit.”
Asked about mom-and-pop operations that might not be able to pay out top bucks, Price stresses there are many ways to show employees appreciation.
“We’re a credit card processing company, so I deal with mom and pop shops every day. And just down the street from me, there’s a place called Rachel’s Bagels, and the owner, Paul, his staff raves about him. They talk about how he’s the best boss they ever had. And he too had very little turnover. He can’t afford the $70,000 starting pay, like we have at Gravity Payments, but he gives them so much in terms of loyalty, development, really caring and investing in those employees.”
And that, in turn, benefits the business, according to Price.
“Especially if you don’t have a lot of wiggle room with your finances, it’s very intimidating to negotiate with your employer. But when you can take a stand up against them, you create room for other people and you actually make the entire system better. … Employers make employees happy, the employees will make the customers happy and you’ll have a better business.”