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Decoding The Great Resignation

Often referred to as the Great Resignation or The Resignation Pandemic, the phenomenon has been causing some serious concerns not just in a particular country, but across the globe. This has been a less anticipated, yet surprising fallout of the COVID-19 impact. As a matter of fact, a lot of employees right now are either quitting or planning to leave their jobs, even if that means changing their industry entirely. When we tried to demystify the reason behind the same, we found out that this is happening when job opportunities are at an all-time high. Here are some of the major reasons that we found behind the great resignation pandemic

1) Large scale adoption of digital technologies

2) V-shaped economic recovery in multiple regions

3) Companies coming up with emergent strategies to beat the pandemic blues

4) Higher consumption levels across geographies


In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 4 million US workers withdrew their employment from their workforce and this data is as recent as July 2021. The resignations started seeing a surge in April and have remained unusually high for the past few months. Similarly, by the end of July 2021, the job market also saw an all-time high with over 10.9 million jobs being available across a spectrum of industries.



Furthermore, this widespread Great Resignation pandemic has not spared India either with Talent Acquisition levels breaking even the Pre-COVID records. Consequently, the job market grew in July 2021 by 11%. Also, on the contrary, Cognizant has reported 37% attrition and the company is struggling to keep the number of resignations in control by providing the employees with lucrative incentives, promotions and bonuses. Going by this statistic, it comes as no surprise that the Indian IT sector reported a 52% increase in hiring skilled professionals and this is the highest spike in terms of the number of recruits in decades.


Factors Affecting the Great Resignation and How to Mitigate Them


There are a lot of factors to be taken into consideration when decoding the roots of The Great Resignation. Here, our team of experts have tried and collated the major factors influencing this alarming trend.


The Work From Home Syndrome

The absence of one-on-one physical interactions and the closure of offices has rendered that employees have lost a sense of belonging to their workplace that they no longer find a larger purpose or meaning in their jobs. Besides that, employees find it difficult to be optimistic about their future in their organizations owing to the prevalent uncertainty due to multiple waves of the pandemic. Also, there is a fair chance that remote working has wiped out the “me time”. This consequently led to “all work and no play” for many in the IT sector as business was pouring due to the high number of Digital projects. As Management Leaders went into “execution focus”, levels of engagement dropped drastically with limited or no time to empathise or connect with fellow employees as human beings. In other words, the emotional connection between employees and employers simply broke. This in effect has forced many to reconsider their work and life goals.


Leadership Tips to Mitigate the Situation


- Schedule daily check-ins: Make sure that you have a meeting with your employees at least once a day, and organize interactive sessions at least once a week. For instance, asking how they are feeling and extending the talk beyond work could be starters to forge trust and lasting relationships between you and your workforce.


- Define the goals and desired outcomes clearly: This is indeed imperative even in a non-remote environment, but has become the need of the hour for the situation at hand. Clearly defining goals and the desired results and then allowing your team to devise the plan of action gives more room for creativity and ownership.


- Make sure your team has the right resources: No great battlefield commander sends their troops to battle without the proper training and resources, right? Likewise, your team must be equipped with the right level of capability enablement to do their job successfully. Coupled with feedback loops, this is a very potent weapon to gain commitment from employees.



Ineffective Band-Aid Solutions:

With a swarm of employees shopping around the job market for lucrative offers, many multinational conglomerates devised band-aid solutions such as creating intermediate designations and a partial pay hike for those who consider leaving their jobs. Additionally, the employers also created an opportunity wherein the employee gets to show their offer letters from competitors to match the same pay scale. While this worked to a certain extent in the initial phase, this resulted in loyal employees getting offended and following suit to join The Great Resignation pandemic.


Furthermore, smaller organizations with less than 2,000 employees have faced the maximum impact in this regard because of their inability to offer lucrative salaries to match their competitors.


Leadership Tips to Mitigate this Situation:


- Create an Early Warning System: This is a simple yet necessary process and especially relevant to today’s scenario. To create an early warning system, one needs to study the past data and inputs given during the exit interviews and draw a pattern for resignation. This is quite insightful for the employer to get a clear picture of why their employees are quitting and what needs to be done to stop the trend.


Lack of Curiosity and Learnability

Gone are the days wherein people just had to do their designated jobs, get paid and be happy. With the millennials and Gen Zs taking up their roles in the workforce, their ideologies are quite different from their predecessors. People are always on the hunt for an opportunity to learn and grow themselves as professionals and when an organization’s culture is all about getting the job done, irrespective of the employee’s growth, it is quite natural that the Great Resignation trend will continue.


Leadership Tips to Mitigate this Situation:


- The key here is answering this pressing question: How do I make my employee future-fit. For instance, Unilever Learning Program, “Providing Skills For Life” is at the heart of their culture and they deem it a commitment to help people stay fit for the future of work. They feel that no employee should be left behind and encourage them to proactively develop and tailor an individual Future-Fit plan combining the aspects that are most meaningful to their life and work.

- Smaller organizations can train their employees on the skill of their choice and give them exposure even if it is outside their function or department to ensure the learning is put to use. This instils a sense of trust, loyalty and belonging in the employee and makes them feel empowered.


- Move towards participative/democratic leadership style to encourage teams to ask questions and not shut them down with paternalistic or autocratic styles


- Drive high levels of ownership among teams to give them opportunities to challenge any situation and generate ideas.


- Dedicate time to listen to employees and take their inputs, feedback, thoughts


- Above all, have a strong purpose for your organization. Think about what your company’s purpose is other than to just be profitable. For instance, if you are an energy company, your purpose could be to become absolutely carbon-neutral in about 15 years.


Employees of today are so multifaceted that they want their contribution to make an impact on the world. So, this kind of moral standing attracts talents and creates an emotional connection with you and your organization.


Conclusion


It is high time that organizations whether a startup or a Fortune 500 company realize and acknowledge the seriousness of The Great Resignation. In case your organization has faced a mass exit, consider conducting a widespread culture survey. Once you draw a pattern, list out what can be done to mitigate the situation.


Chart out and deploy methods that could be leveraged to make your employees better both on personal and professional fronts. The key here is to empathize with all your employees and create a sense of belonging within the organization. Make them feel valued and create a culture of continuous learning and improvement.


If you are looking to cull the Great Resignation, please feel free to connect with me