The cost of The Great Resignation is steep. Employers face increased inefficiency, reduced productivity and expensive recruitment.
While employers grappled with unknown consequences during the unprecedented times of the pandemic, much of the workforce reflected on their personal and professional priorities.
The result: People quit their jobs en masse.
“The Great Resignation,” as it’s called, is a by-product of employees resetting expectations of themselves and their employers and quitting when they are not fulfilled.
A recent survey by ADP Canada found 24% of respondents recently changed jobs. That’s a lot and it’s not over. The 2022 Microsoft Work Index study found 52% of Gen Z's and Millennials in Canada (and globally) are thinking about quitting or changing jobs in the next year – especially if their current role does not allow them to fully enjoy life.
The study also notes 37% of Canadian workers are open to new opportunities and Baby Boomers and others who delayed retirement are planning to leave the workforce soon.
One reason is compensation as many professionals exit to earn more elsewhere. But money is not the only reason behind the shift – it’s not even necessarily the most important reason as the workforce is saying loudly and clearly that they want to work where they are physically and mentally comfortable.
A growing body of insight on reasons for The Great Resignation also points to:
limited ability to advance
negative work environments
inability to work remotely
Of course, not everyone quit or wants to quit. Some who choose to stay are choosing to show up differently.
While it’s been called “quiet quitting,” it’s more accurately described as “doing what you’re paid to do, nothing more and nothing less.” This group is actively setting boundaries intolerant of endless overtime, 24/7 accessibility and grinding for deadlines.
Instead, they fulfil job duties as required within their employment agreement during a defined workday – some with little or no interest in climbing the corporate ladder. Instead, their goal is to make enough money to live life with balance. This can be jarring for generations who “paid their dues” to advance.
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Instead, new career aspirations include working in environments that support their physical, psychological and financial security. These new motivators can be a challenge for employers still upholding pre-pandemic expectations while also experiencing high turnover from The Great Resignation.
The cost to them is steep. Besides short-handed staff, employers face turnover resulting in the loss of institutional knowledge, reduced productivity, increased inefficiency and expensive recruitment and onboarding costs. Some estimates peg replacement costs at as much as 400% of an employee’s annual salary.
It’s in the best interests of employers to keep their people fulfilled, professionally and personally. They can do this and help fend off The Great Resignation by:
cultivating a healthy workplace culture
recognizing efforts and achievements regularly
fostering open dialogue
providing opportunities for career development and personal growth
supporting work/life balance
When employees feel valued and their voice is heard, they are more loyal, engaged and productive. The likelihood of staying with their employer is increased, keeping turnover costs to a minimum. Everybody wins.