Featured Insight

How to keep your employees happy and grow your business in the Great Resignation

New research from Gallup suggests the problem, and solution, is more than better pay and benefits.

What is the Great Resignation?

It’s a staggering statistic: according to Gallup, 69 million people in the US quit their jobs last year– and 43% of current workers say they’re considering a change. While these specific statistics don’t represent an international workforce, the so-called Great Resignation is a global trend.

What is causing the Great Resignation?

Many companies assume the primary reason behind employees quitting is better compensation. While pay and benefits clearly matter to employees – 64% of job seekers say the desire to earn more money is an important driver of the job search – the real motivations vary.

According to Gallup’s research, 42% of people quit their jobs because of their bosses or their company’s culture; an additional 21% left for reasons of wellbeing, changing schedules, improved work-life balance and their company’s remote work policies.

And, of course, you can’t ignore the impact of COVID-19. Global lockdowns and remote work disrupted business as usual. These changes brought the relationships between employees and employers into focus. Many people shared how the pandemic compelled them to reevaluate their entire lives, inspiring some to leave the workforce altogether (often to pursue self-employment).

For most people, the pandemic and mandates to socially distance eroded traditional boundaries between professional and personal life; as work filled more hours in the day, employees became more attuned to how they felt about their jobs. And, as indicated by the Great Resignation, quite a few people determined they could do better. That was likely a response to existing burnout or dissatisfaction, but burnout is on the rise. Research finds that unengaged employees resign at rates 18% to 43% higher than engaged employees.

What’s the impact on businesses?

Source: Gallup

A disengaged workforce costs organizations even before they quit. When employees aren’t engaged with their work, they are most likely seeking a new employer and watching for attractive job openings.

Recent research by Business Transformation Consultants Korn Ferry shows that we’ve never faced a talent shortage at this scale before. 75% of companies believe the Great Resignation will impede future growth. For executives, this is an existential concern.

Engaged employees show up every day with passion and purpose that increases the bottom line by 21%. Conversely, unengaged employees limit your company’s ability to develop a positive culture and grow.

How can you mitigate the effects?

Unfortunately, it’s not just as simple as paying more. Gallup’s research on discontent found that for the most discontented employees, a 20% increase in remuneration did next to nothing to convince people to stay. It’s a cultural thing: “The whole intersection of work and life is a major influence over why people are attracted to a new employer and choosing to leave another,” says Jim Harter, Gallup’s Chief Data Scientist in conversation with Fast Company.

People want purpose and meaning from their work. They want to be known for what they’re good at, and there are a key number of areas that contribute to overall employee engagement.

Keeping employees happy while growing your business

In our upcoming webinar, we’ll talk with transformation consultants from Korn Ferry. They’ve identified people need five key things to connect to their work:

  • To play for a winner; people want to feel they are aligned to strategy that makes sense
  • Opportunities to grow and develop
  • A fair exchange; reasonable compensation and benefits for their efforts and skills
  • A sense of influence
  • A positive environment with efficient processes and a collaborative culture.

In order to find out what issues might be causing employees to leave, you have to ask them. Companies should seek feedback from their workforce and take action to protect their most critical asset: people. During the upcoming webinar, we’ll also be talking to specialists in organizational psychology and business change to learn how how organizations can skip the Great Resignation and grow their business instead.

Register for the on-demand webinar

To hear all the insights from our panel on the changing face of employee engagement, register for our webinar here.