What is the Great Resignation, or Great Reshuffle?
In 2021, millions of workers choose to leave their jobs amidst the pandemic, and a term coined by Anthony Klotz -The Great Resignation- started being used to refer to this event.
An expert on organizational psychology, Klotz predicted that there would be a mass resignation of workers, driven by various reasons – backlog in resignations, burnout, changes in priorities, and so on.
Lead in the most part by Millenials and some of Gen Z, this move is also a result of people seeking better work conditions and higher pay.
In an interview published by Time Magazine, Ryan Roslansky, Linkedin’s CEO suggested that the current situation should be renamed “The Great Reshuffle”. Linkedin data shows that the amount of users that changed jobs or even went into a different profession rose by 54% in 2021 when compared to the previous year.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic
The ongoing pandemic has played an important part in this mass resignation. Between February and April of 2020, the number of unemployed people in the US went from 5.717.000 to over 23.000.000, a brutal result of employees being let go amidst a forced economic slowdown.
However, as companies adapted to the new reality, this number slowly went down, with people going back to work. Still, the unemployment rate is higher than it was before the pandemic began.
Which brings up the question, in a country with over 9.3 million unemployed, why are so many choosing to leave their jobs?
Well, there are many factors that have contributed to the current situation. One prominent issue is the backlog in resignations – at the start of the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty and many employees who were considering leaving their jobs held on for a longer time due to the instability presented by the crisis.
Another factor, which explains why even 2 years into the pandemic we are still seeing workers leave their jobs is burnout. Burnout leads to turnover, because in order to get better, people need to distance themselves from the stressor.
Remote work also influenced this mass resignation. One of the factors mentioned by Anthony Klotz is burnout, and not having a clear boundary between work and home life, as many were forced to adopt this new dynamic, can be exhausting and impact mental health negatively.
Furthermore, being in a different environment and going through the global crisis made a lot of people reflect on their life, values, and actually make plans if they wanted to change their current situation. Stimulus checks and less spending on leisure could also have helped people feel more inclined to take a leap of faith and leave their current jobs.
And of course, as some companies choose to go back to the office, many workers are now more comfortable working from home, and are more inclined to search for a job that allows them to keep working remotely.
What can companies do to avoid losing valuable employees?
One of the main drivers of mass resignation is the search for better work conditions. With so many workers choosing to quit, companies need to reassess salaries, benefits, and more importantly, how they treat their employees.
Leaders must consider how they can support workers emotional and physical health, to give them enough resources to avoid burnout. A workplace in which inclusion plays a big role and employees feel safe to do their best work is essential.