What Can We Do About The Great Resignation?
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

It’s essential to understand what is occurring in our workplaces that are now often permeated with many unfilled positions and, all too often, high turnover. Some are calling it the Great Resignation. The pandemic has not entirely caused it. However, it has been accelerated by the pandemic and its impacts on our lives. So, why are workers leaving in droves and not seizing other job openings? And what can we as leaders and organizations do about it?

According to a recent Washington Post article, “American workers are increasingly seeking higher pay, more flexibility, and remote options as they flex their leverage in the current job market, but many companies are not necessarily being more accommodative, continuing to favor candidates with several years of experience in their industry, more availability to work evening or weekend hours, or a preference for those willing to work in-person.”1 What’s the result? According to the latest federal data, U.S. workers left their jobs nearly 20 million times between April and August this year, a number more than 60% higher than the resignations handed in during the same period last year2.

What has been going on? According to Danny Nelms, president of the Work Institute, “This [pandemic] has been going on for so long, it’s affecting people mentally, physically. All those things are continuing to make people be reflective of their life and career and their jobs. Add to that over 10 million openings, and if I want to go do something different it’s not terribly hard to do.”2

Research also tells us who is more likely to resign. These are the employees with less tenure. Why? Because they have less invested in the organization and possibly even the job path they are currently on. The other important finding is that leaders and organizations can do something about this current phenomenon of the Great Resignation. Good leaders and management play a critical role in keeping employees from looking to leave an organization or a job. How valuable is a good leader? Gallup found that it took a pay raise of more than 20% to hire most employees away from a leader who engaged them.

The Great Resignation is here to stay with the hot job market available to millions of workers. As leaders and organizations, we will need to change to hire and retain the talented individuals who work for us. All aspects of our workplaces need to be examined.

In my experience, we as leaders will need to change how we hire, how we develop people, and what work is like for each employee. We will need to help them find meaning and add value to their lives. Pay and benefit improvements will not be enough to insulate our companies from the impacts of the Great Resignation. We will need to be different as leaders and organizations to be competitive in the post-pandemic work climate.

MACNY can help you with this challenge. Daily, we help leaders and their organizations change through training, learning, networking events, insights, information, and change approaches. Please let us know how we can help you fight against the impacts of the Great Resignation by emailing [email protected].

1 https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/11/08/job-search-not-getting-hired/

2 https://www.wsj.com/articles/whats-driving-americas-workers-to-leave-jobs-in-record-numbers-11634312414