Why are good people leaving device companies?

The Great Resignation is effecting the US med device companies. This movement is real. Resignation rates are highest among highly trained, mid-career employees.

Talking with orthopedic and spine candidates, I have noticed that there is something going on here. In the recruiting world today, candidates seem to have more clout, more sway and more audacity.

Why… Let me try to unpack this and give employers some advice.

There are several factors at play here.

1) New Habits.

Employees who went remote for many months became acclimated with a better work-life balance. They are resisting the demands to return to the old office. The commute now feels weird. 45 minutes in a car twice a day seems like a waste of time.

2) Burnout.

Employee burnout has increased as the ortho companies are doing more top line revenue with less employees. The stress of C19 and change has added to this work stress.

3) Work/Life Flex.

Employees, in general, want more work flexibility than the ortho company wants to provide. Some workers are voting with their feet when told that it is time to physically be on-site a few days per week.

4) Management.

Many employees simply hate their bosses. We have all had one. A primary reason for an employee resigning is their direct supervisor. Unfortunately, ortho management has become weaker in some companies.

5) Early retire.

Some workers were near retirement anyway, and they said “screw it” and retired a bit early.

6) Newly Minted Entrepreneurs.

Some workers are throwing their weight into a side hustle, usually a hobby that the worker has had time to nourish during C19. Many are following their passion that has turned into a new revenue stream. This is a chance to gain more Agency.

7) Financial Windfalls.

Some people have enjoyed one the hot ortho IPOs this year. Others have played stocks and crypto so well that they don’t have to work and more. A few lucky workers have received inheritances from family which has opened up alternative work possibilities. Every year, there is a staggering $1.5T being passed down from the baby boomers to their children.

8) Geographic Dislocation.

In this post-C19 world, many workers have moved back home where relatives live, and where there may not be ideal jobs waiting for them. They find themselves living in a new region without their trusty old industry connections.

9) Compliance Issues.

Anti-vaxxers are being forced out, or becoming unhirable in some states. I know of a high-level sales executive who refuses to be vaccinated, so he cannot go inside a hospital with his customers. Despite his great sales background, he has become irrelevant.

What should employers do to attract the right talent?

1) Focus on Communication.

Hire people with especially strong communication skills. Workers who were OK in the office are becoming under-performers online. You need over-performers for the new hybrid model.

2) Lift Your Salary Ranges.

Offer higher compensation. Employees who are known “performers” can now command a higher salary, so many migrate to other companies where they are paid more. You will have to raise your salary levels to attract the best.

3) Include Equity.

Offer equity with you compensation package at all levels in your company. This is a longer term financial incentive for retention, but it also says that you want the employee to have skin in the game for overall company success. Goals are more aligned. Think of giving equity as giving the new employee “meaning”.

4) Offer Work Flexibility.

Offer more flexible work arrangements, but not cookie cutter. You will have to configure it with each individual uniquely. Everybody’s life is different. One wants Friday’s off. One wants 100% remote. One wants to be home on weekends because of a sick parent. And so on.

5) Measure the Important Stuff.

Measure the employee’s work output, not attendance.