Being prepared in the year of Great Resignation

October 7, 2021

According to several surveys conducted this year 25-40% of employees are looking to change their job and I am sure most recruitment companies will tell you how busy they are, and most internal talent acquisition/HR teams will confirm that the market is the most competitive they have ever seen. As most companies either start their office return or postpone to the new year there is still a lot of uncertainty about what the future workplace will look like. The only emerging certainty for many right now is increased attrition. 

Why are employees looking for pastures new?

  • Lack of work-life balance
  • Lack of career advancement/development
  • Company culture/environment
  • Remote work is now a must-have for some people
  • Compensation/benefits

What can you do to increase retention?

Firstly, understand that not all turnover is bad and not all retention is good. Sometimes people outgrow companies and sometimes companies outgrow people and in both cases that is ok.  

For employees looking to retain staff the below are critical items for your consideration;

An effective compensation/benefits plan
Positive work environment
Remote or hybrid flexibility is increasingly advantageous
Communication and integrity in the workplace
Now the journey in achieving the above is built on a foundation of trust and development.

Building Trust:

A concerted effort in making time to listen to employee concerns, challenges, ideas and thoughts is an obvious but largely overlooked starting place. Can you truly articulate your employee’s goals, what drives them, what is important to them or if they are getting the development they need. If employees don’t feel like they have been heard or that you understand them how can they trust you.

Trust is not built on blind agreement, but honestly if an employee has promotion goals in the next 12 months that aren’t realistic, explain why and how and what timeline they can get there. Educating them on syncing their goals with organization objectives. Lastly, empower them. Give them opportunities to take on additional projects or responsibilities. If they are empowered and know their voice matters, you are signalling you trust them.


Employees actually seldom leave companies due to compensation, leadership and personal development are the two biggest factors driving attrition. Organizations that have created a culture focused on talent development have higher retention rates. Leaders who develop their people have stronger and longer-tenured teams. Take the time to understand your team’s goals, how these align with the organizations’ goals and build a development plan for them so they know their progress is important to you. Make sure a development plan isn’t a wish list, but SMART goals that you both align on. Make sure they are held accountable and reference the plan in weekly and monthly catchups, not annually. Some other great ways to help with development include:

  • Having a mentor – this does not have to be someone in the same department or even the same company but having a mentor/mentee relationship that focuses on a specific development topic would be key
  • Recognition – rewarding/showcasing those individuals when they hit those milestones. This can not only help them believe that you care about their career but can also promote a good supportive team culture of cheering each other on.

So in the year, many are calling the Great Resignation, ask yourself have you built an environment of trust and a team that feels invested in? If not, you may not have a team next year to develop. 

Featured Content