What is Great Resignation? What can be done to Address the Mass Attrition Trend


What is the Great Resignation and why are Tech Titans like Nadella and Pitchai Worried?

Ever since late last year, there has been an increasing trend of employees across the corporate world quitting their jobs in record numbers.

Surveys by leading consultancies such as PWC (Price Waterhouse Coopers) as well as the well respected Microsoft Work Trends Report show that almost every corporates is grappling with the problem of mass attrition.

In addition, anecdotal evidence and hearsay put this problem of what has been called The Great Resignation as being apparent since the time the Pandemic started.

Indeed, estimates show that nearly half the workforce across industries and verticals as well as in corporates are thinking of quitting their jobs and getting into other occupations.

This problem has become so pervasive that even Tech Titans such as Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Sundar Pitchai of Google are consulting other industry stakeholders to find out why and how this problem should be addressed before it becomes such a force that it debilitates and who knows, might even destroy the corporates in due course.

What are the Factors that are driving the Great Resignation and is it a Passing Fad?

So, what is driving such mass attrition and what are the triggers behind this? To start with, the Pandemic has made everyone reassess and re-evaluate what they want from their careers and lives.

Moreover, the WFH or Work from Home and Remote as well as Anywhere Working models made employees used to actualizing work life balance both in a positive and negative manner.

While WFH was relaxing for some, for others it was traumatic and in both cases, employees have begun to question whether Onsite work is worth it and for those who found Virtual Work hard, made them to wonder whether their careers were worth the time and effort they were putting in.

Indeed, the main driver of the Great Resignation seems to be the Pandemic triggered isolation and mental fatigue that are making professionals re-evaluate their lives.

On the other hand, the “boom” in the jobs market over the last year or so meant that more and more corporates are vying for the same or lesser number of professionals making the latter feel as though they can command a premium in the market.

In addition, Freelancing and Part Time work as well as Gig work have become lucrative apart from offering the professionals the convenience and flexibility to work on their own terms leading to more attrition.

Why We Think the Great Resignation is Temporary and How Many HR Experts Agree

So, what can be done to address this problem? For one, there are many business leaders as well as HR or Human Resource consultants and experts who are nonchalant with the Great Resignation as they believe that this is a passing trend or a “fad” that would dissipate soon with the end of the pandemic.

Their reasoning is that as the jobs market tightens and the predicted recession in 2022 manifests, jobseekers would again be thronging the market in large numbers as the “cold logic” of the need to earn a living brings the quitters back to reality.

On the other hand, there are also many corporates (especially Big Tech firms) that are going all out to woo their workforces by introducing permanent WFH and Hybrid (combination of onsite and remote work) so as to placate those who want these arrangements.

In addition, there are firms that are offering to match the offers made by their rivals in a bid to retain talent.

Moreover, there are many corporates that are also throwing in perks such as vacations and club memberships to ensure that their workforce is motivated to remain with them and is engaged to be productive in their work.

What are HR Experts Recommending Addressing the Problem and are They Right?

Having said that, there are HR professionals who are focusing on the need to motivate their employees through intrinsic models. While the last section dealt with the Rewards, we now discuss how challenging work and recognition and awards can go a long way in motivating the employees.

Moreover, with the New and Recent Joiners belonging to the Millennial and Gen Z age cohorts quitting, HR experts say that not only motivation, but also some amount of psychological counselling is needed as well.

In addition, HR managers in Big Tech firms are hosting events where the hallowed and revered business leaders interact with the employees to make them “feel at home”.

The point to note here is that these are trying times for everyone and hence, HR managers have a major role to play to ensure that the Great Resignation Spree is addressed properly.

Most importantly, in the absence of Physical Onboarding and Face to Face Interaction, the younger generation of the workforce need to be chaperoned through the acclimatization and getting to know each other processes.

This also means that handholding and guiding them through the paces are aspects that the HR teams must do with skill, empathy, and patience.

Concluding Points

Last, as we move to the New Normal, trends such as the Great Resignation would persist.

When all of us are living in times where Viral Social Media posts influence us, this trend too is a manifestation of how our technology driven world is making us all susceptible to “acting without thinking”.

Therefore, visionary and respected business leaders should be like founts of wisdom and along with the HR teams, draw up strategies that would address this problem.

To conclude, the Great Resignation might simply disappear, but its effects would be us for a long time and linger beyond corporates.


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The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.