Lessons We Have Learned From The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation

What is the Great Resignation?

The COVID-19 pandemic has made people realize that life is short and unpredictable. As a result, we have seen a global shift in the mindset of employees that is causing them to quit their jobs at the highest rates in modern history. This phenomenon is known as “The Great Resignation.”  Employees are no longer satisfied with subpar company culture, poor management, and inflexible work conditions and are deciding that they aren’t going to take it anymore. This phenomenon is leading many companies to revaluate their own company culture as they are desperately seeking to hire and retain talented employees during these difficult times.


The Top challenge for employers

The struggle to find and retain top tier talent

In a recent salary guide published by HAYS recruiting experts, over 4,200 employers were surveyed and 50% of them said that there was a general lack of applicants. Furthermore, 47% agreed that there was a skills shortage in their industry and 40% said that higher compensation was being offered somewhere else.

Even if you’re able to hire an ‘A’ player, retaining them is a whole other beast. It’s like catching a big fish. First, you need to make sure you have a sturdy enough finishing rod, a strong enough line, the proper bait, and the right technique. But once you catch and reel that fish in, now you have to make sure that you have the proper systems set up on your boat to be able to keep that fish. Whether that’s a big bucket with water, a cooler with ice, or a line to tow it next to your boat.

The same principles apply to retaining new hires. Sure you may be able to get them to bite with a competitive salary, and good vacation time, but if you have a corrosive company culture, then get ready to watch that big fishy swim back into the ocean.

The Professional Leadership Institute provides training on How to Hire Good Employees and offers a free preview.


Why are employees quitting?

Lack of career growth

In HAYS survey, 62% of respondents stated that they were considering leaving their role due to lack of career growth. Needless to say, if workers feel like they are not being continuously challenged in a manageable way and they cannot see what their 5-year runway looks like with a company, they will self-select out.

At Getting People Right, we strongly believe that all companies should encourage their employees to develop their own personal development plans.


Lack of work-life balance/flexibility with work

Nationwide lockdowns around the world made a lot of white-collar workers realize that their job can be done from home. Heck, it can be done from anywhere in the world! That cat’s out of the bag!

Now that this revelation has been made, it’s almost impossible for companies to demand employees come into the office for work. There is now a higher demand than ever before for remote work to be the new normal. If your company doesn’t offer remote work and high levels of autonomy to your workers, be prepared to be left in the dust as employees continuously cite this as one of the biggest reasons why they are leaving.

Feeling stressed out and not appreciated at work

In this year’s state of the global workplace report, Gallup noted that 43% of the global workforce experienced feelings of stress during the previous day of work. Furthermore, 57% of employees in Canada and the U.S. experience high levels of daily stress.

In addition, 25% of the global workforce experienced sadness during most of their previous day at work and 24% experience anger during most of their previous day at work.

Not feeling engaged at work

The combination of high levels of daily stress and feelings of sadness/anger is leading to a lack of employee engagement. This is evident by the fact that only 20% of the global workforce is engaged at work, which means that 80% of workers are just waiting on their day to finish and doing the bare minimum to get by.

It is estimated that low employee engagement costs the global economy approximately US$8.1 trillion a year.

So, if employers want to save their company money, they should start looking at the root causes of these feelings of stress/sadness and try to reduce them by implementing meaningful solutions.


What can employers focus on to help their employees?

The old school mentality was for employers not to concern themselves with their employees’ personal lives. The data from The Great Resignation clearly shows that this is no longer the case. In order for a corporation to grow rapidly and be performing optimally, employers need to aid in the overall wellbeing of their employees.

There are five main elements that make up overall well-being.

1. Career Wellbeing

Career Wellbeing basically means how well does an employee feel about the work that they do.

There are multiple factors that go into how good an employee feels about the work that they do every day. Some of these factors include:

  • Is my workload manageable and do I have a good work/life balance?
  • Am I being challenged at work?
  • Can I see the impact of the work that I do?
  • Do I feel like I can be honest with my boss if I’m having a problem?
  • Am I happy in the position that I’m in?
  • Is this company helping me achieve my career goals?

Employees that answer “yes” to these questions are more likely to be engaged at work than employees who answer “no”.

2. Social Wellbeing

Social Wellbeing refers to feeling like you have meaningful friendships/relationships in your life.

Since we are social creatures, it is crucial for us to authentically connect with other human beings. Some ways that employers can encourage this type of connection are as follows:

  • In your daily huddles, ask employees to rate their overall satisfaction in three areas of their life (work, personal, and health) and ask for a little backstory on each of their ratings. Allowing your employees a space to feel heard is crucial for social wellbeing.
  • Organize events or downtime for your employees to get to know each other better
  • Create policies that are family-friendly

When employees develop meaningful relationships at work, work feels like less of a job and more of a group project with a couple of their friends. This is one of the best ways to increase employee retention and save you money on rehiring.

3. Financial Wellbeing

Financial wellbeing represents how well an employee feels like they can meet all their financial commitments. If a job is not paying a reasonable living wage, it will obviously lead to high employee turnover for that position.

Some examples of ways to improve the financial wellbeing of your employees include:

  • Paying a wage that is consistent with their position and skill level
  • Catering the employee’s benefits to what they care about most
  • Subsidizing the cost of daycare if your employee has kids
  • Offering company stock to employees and a share matching program
  • Corporate phone plans for employees make the monthly phone bill very affordable

4. Physical Wellbeing

Physical wellbeing can be boiled down to having enough energy to take care of your daily responsibilities and maintaining a healthy quality of life. Some examples of ways to foster this are the following:

  • On-site fitness centres
  • Different transit options such as company subsidized bikes or public transit pass
  • Massage therapist services on your company premises
  • Yoga classes

Many companies including Scotiabank, subsidize employee gym memberships. Other companies will have partnerships set up with certain gym franchises so that their employees pay a reduced rate on their monthly gym membership.

5. Community Wellbeing

Community wellbeing can be summarized as having a strong sense of belonging and safety in the area where you live. This is a broad factor that is affected by everything from the person’s socioeconomic status to environmental conditions where they live, to politics and crime rates.

Companies can help foster a sense of community wellbeing by hosting company events and paying a living wage to their employees.

Successful employee wellness programs are ones that incorporate all five of these elements and


The One Factor That Outweighs all others when it comes to employee wellbeing

Gallup’s 2021 report also found that one factor accounted for 70% of the variance in team engagement. Seventy percent! That factor is management! An employee wellbeing program will only work if employees trust that the management team really has their best interests at heart. Companies should seriously consider reorganizing their management team so that the right people are in the right seats. In addition, companies now more than ever before, need to provide their managers with training so that they become competent leaders.


In summary

The Great Resignation is a phenomenon that is unprecedented in history. A huge shift in employee mindset has happened. Company culture and work-life balance are the most important factors in attracting and retaining ‘A’ players. Employers should consider implementing more complete wellness programs and providing proper training to their managers. 

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