12 October 2021

Tidal waves of resignations: Employees are quitting in droves

The pandemic has led to an awakening in people inducing them to ask themselves important questions like, “Why do I work?” “How can I find balance between my work and life?” and “What’s my greater purpose?” It is likely that such serious reflections have now left us in the midst of a phenomenon which many are calling ‘The Great Resignation.’ Around the world, workers are quitting their jobs in record numbers, and this mass exodus movement has been started off by employees’ quest for workplaces that align with their personal belief system and show an authentic concern for individual employee wellbeing. 

How great is the extent of these resignations? Statistics draws a quite clear picture of the situation. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, during the months of April, May, and June 2021, a total of 11.5 million workers quit their jobs. Gallup found that 48 percent of employees are actively searching for new opportunities. The Microsoft Work Trend Index, a survey of over 30.000 workers from more than 20 countries, found that 46% of people say they are planning to switch jobs.

What’s causing the exodus?

You may hear many different reasons behind the great quit, but certain common themes cannot go unnoticed. Many are looking for a broader purpose in their lives and question the likelihood of a life that gathers professional goals and personal aspirations together. This need for a balance between work and life is not without reason - employees are literally burned-out. According to Monster, 69%, of employees experience burnout symptoms since the beginning of the pandemic. Besides, facing numerous stressors such as child and elder caregiving, financial struggles, loneliness, and physical and emotional health challenges have called many people to awaken to the fact that there are more important things than a high salary, including health and wellness. 

So, since the pandemic, millions of employees are leaving or switching jobs –or thinking about it. As an employer, if you act proactively and not wait until folks are filing out the door, you can reverse the tide. Make a commitment to employee wellbeing and foster a workplace that appreciates and supports employees to retain your valuable talents. 

Be well and survive the great quit

While during the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic the primary responsibility was employee and workplace safety, the focus is now shifting towards the nexus between wellbeing and engagement. Wellbeing and engagement levels are mutually reinforcing: when your people feel well, cared-for and valued, they become more engaged. If you are an employer who shows an authentic concern for individual employee wellbeing and supports their whole-person wellbeing, the chances are very high that you will have a more attached and loyal workforce. 

Taking the unique challenges we have been facing globally into account, it is high time to focus on the holistic employee wellbeing as this will both create a more resilient, engaged, and loyal workforce and improve the success of the whole organization. Employee Wellbeing is a multi-faceted issue starting with the need of implementing a sophisticated design-thinking process, which is followed by constant and continuous collaboration between you and your wellbeing business partner to improve and promote the wellbeing program, and enable your employees thrive in their unique wellbeing journey. This may seem daunting – yet you don’t have to figure it out all on your own. Wellbees is always ready to show up for your employees and support them with a wide network of subject matter experts, manageable and easy-to grasp contents about eight dimensions of the holistic wellbeing as well as challenges and events held across your organisation to foster camaraderie and team spirit. We are dedicated to create a world where everyone reaches his or her potential while showing care to each other. We believe that employees who feel well, healthy and cared can unleash their true potential and engage with their work better. Our philosophy is based on behavioural change and habit-formation, and we use the power of a customised social platform, proactive employee support program and gamification to help your employees build new habits and thrive at work and in all aspect of life.

Below are the essential pillars of a unique and transformative wellbeing program as a long-term solution against record-high resignations. If you build your organisational strategy on these pillars, you can avoid fallout from the Great Resignation and be the winner at the end of the day. 

Belonging, trust and transparency

Companies that builds and maintains a culture of trust and belonging tend to have a more productive workforce and lower turnover.  Leaders who start with transparency and authenticity create continuity in driving healthy company mindset around characteristics such as inclusion, diversity, innovation, safety (physical and psychological), wellbeing, fairness, dignity and belonging, all of which contribute to supporting growth and drive high performance. Data suggest organizations with such transformative employee experiences are far more likely to report lower turnover than those who lack such definition.

Reinforcing culture, values and purpose 

A study led by Personio as a response to the great resignation showed that more than half of the respondents who were planning to quit wanted to do so because of a reduction in benefits, a worsening work-life balance or a toxic workplace culture.  And yet, according to the American Psychological Association, 89% of employees are more likely to recommend their company if the organization supports wellbeing initiatives as part of a culture-building strategy. 

These results are not surprising because programmes and benefits do not go far if you don’t have a culture that truly supports and encourages wellbeing at work. Wellbeing cannot be achieved without creating cultures that empower employees to prioritize themselves, and talk about their overall wellbeing.

Hearing the voice of employees 

What matters to your employees is going to vary from person to person; however, if the pandemic taught us anything, it is that global workforce wants more flexibility and autonomy when it comes to the ways of working.  A global survey conducted by professional services network EY found that if given the choice, more than half of employee respondents (54%) would choose flexibility in when they work. By comparison, 40% want flexibility in where they work. According to a Morning Consult survey, 39% of workers, and nearly half (49%) of millennial and Gen Z employees, would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. In this sense, companies which consider flexibility an advantage will gain a far greater chance of keeping valued associates as the Great Resignation drags on. 

Active concern for employee wellbeing starts with the ability to realise that every team member is an individual with their unique needs and stories. Caring and compassionate employers and leaders ask employees what they need. They ask them what they want and find out how they are feeling about work and life in general.

Employee Wellbeing as a strategy for retention

 ‘The Great Resignation’ is a movement fuelled by burnout, by quest for more flexibility and by self-care. Gallup recently asked employees what they look for most in an employer. The data showed that employees of all generations rank "the organization cares about employees' wellbeing" in their top three criteria. This shows us that holistic and tech-enabled well-being solution are now need-to-have resources for employee recruitment and retention. The most successful brands when it comes to employee retention align themselves with transparency, an authentic purpose, a robust culture, employee development, and provide multi-layered and customised wellbeing solutions. They motivate and encourage people to bring their whole selves to work and nourish their growth by creating a safe environment where wellbeing can be experienced holistically. This will create an engaged, happier and loyal workforce who finds meaning in the work they do, and this state of overall wellness will improve business performances, operational resiliency and increase the communal trust on your brand. Amid the massive dynamics re-shaping both business and personal lives, approaching with empathy is the cure – it is essentially important to understand the toll the pandemic is taking on the employees. If you look after your employees well, they will look after your business even better. 


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