The Great Resignation? or the Great Redesign?

Some experts speak of a “Great Resignation” and are hitting a panic button among employers.  While I don’t subscribe to absolutes, buzz words that cause for panic, I do think there is a trend worth noting, and I believe employers should both pause to consider and adapt to thrive.

Trends worth noting:

  • Resignation seems highest among “mid-career” employees, aged 30-45 years old, who seem to be rethinking their careers.
  • Resignation seems to be highest in healthcare and technology.


While it will vary by person, after the pandemic, many people are rethinking what work means to them, how they are valued, and how they spend their time.

Anthony Klatz, a Professor from my alumni, Texas A&M University, attributes resignation to the following root causes:

  1. a backlog of workers who wanted to resign before the pandemic but held on a bit longer;
  2. burnout, particularly among frontline workers in health care, food service and retail;
  3. “pandemic epiphanies” in which people experienced major shifts in identity and purpose that led them to pursue new careers and start their own businesses
  4. an aversion to returning to offices after a year or more of working remotely

According to the 2021 People Management Report from the Predictive Index:

  • 60% of employees work on-site, while only 49% actually want to do so.
  • burnout is a real thing, and contagious – 73% of people with burned-out managers said their coworkers seemed burned out at work.

Food for thought:

Employers should be keeping a pulse on employee sentiment and experience, while understanding why good people would stay.

Employee relationships with their leader continues to be a factor in will they stay or will they go.

Leadership development is critical during this time.  Assuring leaders build their communication effectiveness and their impact to drive team morale and commitment.

Influence is a skill in which many leaders have not been properly trained.

When asked, employees cite the following as the most critical lacking skills of their leader*:

  1. Communicates effectively (18%),
  2. Drives team morale (17%), and
  3. Asks for feedback (17%)

*2021 People Management Report from the Predictive Index

The “Great Resignation” is really a just a push for the redesign of work.  Employees are forcing their employers to rethink work – how we work and where we work.

Employers who listen and adapt will thrive.

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