The “Talent Crisis” is Really Nothing New

Jeanet Wade
September 8, 2022

It seems like a long time since things were “normal” doesn’t it?

Before the pandemic. 

Before the “Great Resignation.” 

Back when we talked about “lack of engagement” instead of “quiet quitting.”

But none of these issues are new. They’re simply a new lens on an age-old problem. 

In The Human Team®, I wrote about something I call “Business Astronomy.” I used stories of my own path to demonstrate the three most typical way your “star” team members will respond to a lack of the fifth of The 6 Facets of Human Needs™; Consideration. 

All too often, I see leaders and managers respond to dimming, falling, or shooting stars with grand gestures, offering bonuses, enhanced compensation plans, and stock options to retain their talent. And while it’s nice to get extra money and financial perks, that won’t necessarily keep a star in your company orbit.” 
From The Human Team®; So You Created a Team but People Showed Up! By Jeanet Wade

Being considered, for our individual personhood and value, is one of the basic human needs that is often overlooked in modern business culture. We’re all too prone to think of our teams as a collection of talents, skills, attributes, abilities, and well … resources. What we often forget is the “humanity” of these human resources. 

It has always been true that a human being who craves consideration and isn’t feeling as though it is present in the work culture will eventually become one of the three types of “stars” that I talk about as Business Astronomy. It has also always been true that a crisis will always bring any existing problem to light and often will bring the situation to a breaking point if it isn’t quickly resolved. 

And that is exactly what we’ve seen as the urgency of the pandemic waned and the business world tried to find a “new normal.” 

You see in my metaphor for Business Astronomy there are stars that we want and need to keep shining brightly. And if we cultivate them properly and surround them with a culture that meets their needs as human beings they continue to shine, illuminating and enriching entire galaxies (business ecosystems and industries.) 

However, if their needs aren’t met they will become one of three types of stars:

  1. Shooting Stars. These are the people who leave the organization in search of a place where they feel valued and considered. Sometimes they go to work for another company, sometimes they become entrepreneurs, but they will never remain long where they don’t feel valuable. 
  2. Dimming Stars. These people become complacent, disengaged, and generally withdraw their striving energy from their contributions. They may continue to perform the required tasks, but their heart isn’t in it. 
  3. Falling Stars. This is the most damaging as these people stay in the organization and continue to put energy into their role, but that energy becomes toxic.

In the context of recent trends you can see that the Great Resignation was made up of Shooting Stars. Performers who believed they had value, felt their value wasn’t being considered in their current work environment, and jumped at what looked to them like a galaxy that would appreciate their light.

Many of them discovered that even nurturing company cultures often didn’t meet their basic human needs (defined in The Human Team® as The 6 Facets of Human Needs™ or “the 6 Cs) and either “shot” off to yet another opportunity or became Dimming Stars.

What has been termed as “quiet quitting” is really just an epidemic of stars dimming their light at work and reserving their energy for their life away from work. The longer they practice holding back on their shine the more discontent they become because they’re denying themselves the opportunity to have their human needs of challenge, contribution, and confidence met, therefore these Dimming Stars will most likely become Shooting Stars (by choice or by management decision) or Falling Stars. 

What we haven’t seen a lot about yet, although I know it is a factor and predict there will be a “trendy” name for it soon, is the increase in work toxicity due to Falling Stars. Discontent combined with a feeling of hopelessness when people realize that most companies or galaxies have many of the same human problems and that holding themselves back from playing to their full potential only creates a greater sense of disconnection, will move more and more of these valuable stars into the role of the complainer, the cynic, the pot-stirrer, or the naysayer. 

Is there a “cure” for an unhealthy “galaxy?” 

Yes. And it hasn’t changed since before the pandemic or the beginning of time. Give the humans on your team what they need to be healthy, to thrive, to grow, to perform, and to SHINE! 

The 6Cs – Clarity, Connection, Contribution, Challenge, Consideration, and Confidence are what every one of us needs in order to self actualize as part of a team. As a leader you have the opportunity to create a workplace where all six of these facets of human needs are an integral part of the culture. 

The Human Team® is a great resource for that, as is the free Ebook “How to Maximize Your Company’s Greatest Asset.” You can get The Human Team® on Amazon and download the Ebook here

You can also reach out to me to chat about having a Human Team Activator come in and help you activate the potential on your team and create a culture where humans can truly shine.