How to Avoid the Great Resignation in Your Organization

Find out what are the main drivers of the Great Resignation and how you can prevent voluntary turnover in your organization.

October 31, 2021 By Sara Ana Cemazar Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!

the great resignation

You have probably heard of the Great Resignation of 2021, also called the Big Quit and the Big Attrition. It shook up the world of work in the first half of 2021. It marked an unusually high voluntary resignation rate throughout industries.

What is the rationale behind the Great Resignation? Why are so many people quitting their jobs? How can you, as an employer, prevent your employees from quitting?

👇 Read on to find out!

What is the Great Resignation

The Great Resignation is a name of a trend of employees quitting their jobs. It has been prominent in the US and it started in April 2021. For example, 4 million people resigned voluntarily in July 2021. Resignation rates have been abnormally high from April to August, and there were more than 10.9 million job openings at the end of July 2021 – an all-time record.

This phenomenon has intrigued the media and made employers worried: even before the pandemic, some industries were battling high voluntary turnover, like retail and wholesale. However, during the Great Resignation, we’ve seen employees in the tech and healthcare industry quit in large numbers. Moreover, Millennials and Gen Z are usually the ones that change their employers early in their careers: this time, it is mid-career employees aged 30 to 45.

the great resignation

6 Reasons Why the Great Resignation Happened

Everybody has their own reasons for quitting, and employees resign from their positions every day. However, the Great Resignation movement happened just as things started to partially come back to normal after a year of pandemic. Naturally, everybody thought the two were connected.

To discover what lies at the heart of this puzzle, Limeade conducted a research on what propelled people to quit during the period of the Great Resignation. Here is what they said.

Post-pandemic burnout

40% of people cite burnout as the main reason they have quit their jobs during the Great Resignation. In fact, they felt so stressed that most resigned without having another job lined up.

Decreased productivity and feeling exhausted and negative about your job characterizes employee burnout. During the pandemic, employees experienced high stress levels. These stress levels first came after the insecurity they felt about their job safety. Later, stress was induced by difficulties of remote work, poor work-life balance, and their company’s failure to communicate post-pandemic plans for work. 

The pandemic was challenging for many, and it is no wonder that a critical mass of employees experienced burnout during it.

Lack of appreciation

In Limeade’s research, 20% of employees cited lack of recognition for their ideas and contributions as a reason they left their job during the Great Resignation. This is nothing new: research throughout the years consistently shows that people who don’t feel valued at work are 34% more likely to quit their jobs.

This is exactly why organizations implement employee recognition programs.

Insufficient flexibility

During 2020, many businesses abruptly switched to remote work models. During this mass experiment, a couple of things became clear. First, working remotely does not have to decrease the quality of work. Second, remote work has many other benefits for both employers and employees.

20% of employees said they quit their jobs during the Great Resignation because they wanted more flexibility. This could be due to employers requiring them to come back to office. This is a big warning to employers that still don’t allow for remote or hybrid work policies.

the great resignation

Discrimination in the workplace

Limeade’s research found that 20% of employees quit during the Great Resignation due to discrimination in the workplace. Although their research doesn’t go into further detail, this is devastating to hear in 2021.

It is also a clear sign that most organizations are failing to implement diversity and inclusion best practices into the workplace. With all the societal changes going on, organizations cannot expect to keep functioning as they did. Moreover, diversity and inclusion have a myriad of benefits for the workplace.

Dissatisfaction with compensation

Compensation and benefits are a pillar upon which other employee experience building blocks are built. If employees are not happy about that part – you can hardly prevent them from quitting when a better opportunity comes along.

According to Limeade’s research, 19% of workers quit during the Great Resignation movement because they weren’t satisfied with their benefits. Luckily, employers got the que: statistics show that the wages are rising the fastest they have risen in the US since 2008.

The need for wellbeing

16% of people said they quit their jobs during the Great Resignation because their employers did not support their wellbeing. It is true that during 2020, we all realized the importance of our own health – both physical and mental – like never before.

Moreover, employees needed support for their wellbeing during the pandemic just as they need it now. For some, it is hard to navigate a fast-paced work environment, which takes a toll on their health.

How to prevent people from resigning

The question of the day is – How do you prevent the Great Resignation scenario in your company? 

If you continuously conduct employee surveys and find your employee experience index high – you probably don’t have any reasons to worry. However, if this is not the case, here are some steps to reinforce your employee retention strategy and prevent further turnover.

Embrace hybrid and remote work

Let’s face it: hybrid work is the future. Even before the pandemic, many employees perceived remote work a huge benefit. In fact, 74% of US knowledge workers said they would be willing to quit a job to work remotely in 2019.

the great resignation

Therefore, why not embrace hybrid and remote work? It does not only benefit the employees, but organizations too. Reduced costs, improved employer branding, and possibility to hire talent all over the world are some of its amazing advantages.

Reevaluate your total rewards strategy

Many organizations realize that their total rewards package is not competitive too late. During the Great Resignation, many employers quit because they were dissatisfied with pay.

Therefore, you need to evaluate if you are offering competitive salary and benefits. Without it, you will lose your current employees and won’t be able to attract new ones!

Invest in manager training

Research shows that one in two employees have left their job to get away from their manager at some point in their career. This worrying statistic only goes to show how important direct managers are to their employees’ workplace experience.

the great resignation

It’s also worrying that 58% of managers don’t receive any training on how to do the job. Therefore, a great & simple way to prevent your employees from leaving is to invest in managers’ training. 

Create a culture of wellbeing

One of the upsides of the whole pandemic experience is the emphasis on wellbeing in general. Mental health and reaching out for help regarding it are being destigmatized by many. Employers must take notice: employees exist outside of the office and work hours. They want to spend time with friends and family, doing the things they like. They want their organizations’ support to have a healthy work-life balance and decrease stress that comes from their work.

Continuous pulse checks and feedback

Employees want feedback to get a sense of their performance. Implementing continuous feedback policies can be a powerful way to enhance your company culture and create an environment where everybody wants to excel.

Moreover, positive feedback should be given 5x more than negative one if you want to see optimal levels of employee productivity.

Invest in your employees’ development

To many employees – especially young ones – one of the most important things in a job is having the opportunity to learn and grow. That’s why many believe that employee development policies are the most important company policy there is.

the great resignation

Therefore – enable your employees’ career growth! Create detailed employee development plans, promote from within, and promote a culture of continuous learning.

Communicate better

McKinsey’s research showed that the lack of communication on post-pandemic work plans caused stress to 47% of employees. In general, ineffective communication can be stressful and lead to decreased productivity in the workplace.

Learn more about employee communication best practices, benefits, and methods.

Recognize your employees’ work

One fifth of employees quit their jobs during the Great Resignation movement due to lack of recognition for their work. Even before the Big Quit, one of the most common reasons for quitting was insufficient employee appreciation.

Get our resources and implement employee recognition best practices in your company:

👇Creative Employee Appreciation Letter Templates
👇Employee Rewards that Employees Really Want
👇Employee Recognition Program Benefits and Ideas