top of page

The Great Resignation: How can we prepare for the big shift?

HR solutions
The great resignation

After a year of many challenges for the economy, businesses, and individuals alike, we have yet another wave of change coming our way: the ‘great resignation’. Employers have been left uneasy as workers, emboldened by the dramatic work-life shifts created by the pandemic, look to take greater control of their personal and work lives.

Is the ‘great resignation’ really happening?

Yes! As pandemic restrictions ease, we are already seeing a spike in employee resignations, and an increasing number of people report that they are considering leaving their employer in the near future. The workforce analytics company, Visier, reports that managers, healthcare and high-tech industry workers, and people aged 30-45 years old are amongst the groups with the highest number of resignations.

Why now?

Three major factors are at play here: 1) the changing nature of work; 2) the rise of the empowered employee; 3) and the growth of the start-up market.

The millennial generation now makes up a significant proportion of the global workforce, and with it, the values of today’s workplaces have shifted dramatically. Gone is the era of the traditional career ladder with one employer, where moving from job to job was considered non-committal. Employees expect to learn and progress more quickly now, with greater mobility within and outside of the organisation to give them the best personal development opportunities. Businesses are increasingly recognising that engaged and motivated employees are critical to reducing staff turnover, with culture, engagement and wellbeing moving to the centre of the employee value proposition. The continuing rise of the gig economy, and the extraordinary, long-term shift to remote working has also drastically changed the way we approach work. An increasing number of employees now expect home-working to stay, and there are discussions about whether this should in fact become part of an employee’s rights in employment legislation. The personal impact of the pandemic has also generated an incredible awakening to the realities of our capitalist, consumer-driven way of life, with many choosing to reject corporate giants in favour of local, more environmentally-friendly, small businesses, and the start-up market has boomed as a result.

Whilst we cannot fully attribute the great resignation phenomenon to the pandemic, it has certainly accelerated it, creating space for new perspectives, and a renewed search for more meaningful and rewarding work.

So what can employers do about this?

Give employees what they want – it will cost less in the long-run! Ask people what they need instead of imposing a top-down mandate. For many, remote working is now the preferred option, but for others it poses challenges to mental and physical health and safety. Ask people what has worked well during the pandemic and what hasn’t to ensure your new working model drives the engagement and productivity levels that you need.

Inspire through purpose and connection – create more meaning for people through ensuring skills and capabilities are properly aligned with the roles people carry out. Having the right leadership ethos and company culture in place will also help satisfy two essential human needs: – the need for purpose, and the need to belong. When evident throughout your culture, and lived by your leaders, your organisational values and mission will speak to what you are trying to achieve as an organisation and serve as a powerful tool for uniting people under the same goal and creating a sense of belonging and identity.

Offer meaningful benefits – money isn’t the real motivator. Employees stay because they feel valued, heard, and fulfilled. Show your appreciation through recognition programmes, commending behaviour, efforts, and results in line with your organisational values and purpose. In addition, include people in decision-making processes to build trust and commitment, and to demonstrate that they are part of the fabric of the company. And finally, provide the right type of support to help minimise external stressors, such as financial or childcare concerns, or mental and physical health challenges.

Embrace a more flexible workforce – the work landscape is changing and businesses must respond accordingly in order to remain relevant. Consider which parts of the business can adopt a fully remote workforce, and the positive impact this could have on access to a more globally diverse talent pool, as well as streamlined operational costs. Identify your skills gaps and whether the freelance market is a feasible option, enabling you to utilise a more flexible workforce whilst supporting the self-employed market. Check out potential partnership opportunities with smaller, more agile businesses in order to take advantage of the growth in the start-up market.

And what about you?

A while back I discovered just how much happier I was when doing what I enjoy. You may think this is easier said than done when the fear of job security creeps in. But, in the end, it all comes down to you and what drives your energy to manifest what you most need- we can really make magic happen when our hearts are in it!

The pandemic has clearly demonstrated two things: 1) life is short, and 2) there is no such thing as job security, so why wait and hesitate? In one of my favourite movies, About Time, the main character inherits the ability to go back in time, and realises that rather than trying to fix what was in the past, the secret to happiness is living every day as if it’s your last. So, if you hate your boss, if your job makes you miserable, or too stressed, take your life in your own hands and decide where you want to go next by…

  • Figuring out what you ABSOLUTELY LOVE DOING and writing it down!

  • Rediscovering your passions and strengths with the help of a coach – sometimes you just need someone else to point out how awesome you are, and to help you better sell your expertise and skills

  • Learning that hobby, or taking that trip you never got a chance to do before – investing in your own happiness is just as important to keep your positive mental energy up

  • Investing in your personal development – with the right skills and attitude you can make amazing things happen!

  • Believing in yourself- your thoughts create your actions, so believe in yourself and think positively 😊

In the end, the ‘great resignation’ is not an impending dooms day. It could become the epic transformation that the world needs, not just for us, but for our beautiful planet as well.


bottom of page