The Great Resignation


“The Great Resignation” – what is it and how did it happen? Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many have experienced great changes in their lives. Not only is the world and economy rapidly shifting around us, but so are our own expectations or values. In the workplace, we have witnessed a big shift to employees who are working from home or remotely; many companies are even forgoing some of their office space in light of the shift to hybrid or fully online workforces. 

According to a Joblist survey, there are a few primary reasons as to why there has been such a large influx in resignations:

  1. In search of a new career
  2. Dissatisfaction with how employees were treated by employers during the pandemic
  3. The job is providing low pay or a lack of benefits
  4. Poor work-life balance

The same survey cites that the most common age group to quit their job are those in their twenties. Of course, the pandemic has impacted everyone differently and this can be seen across various industries. While some industries, such as the manufacturing industry, point out that dissatisfaction with treatment by employers during the pandemic was their primary reason for quitting, other industries had a different primary driver. 

However, despite the influx of workers that are quitting, most participants would stay at their job if their employer addressed some of their concerns. An example of this would be an employer that is open to employees either remaining fully remote or adopting a hybrid work model that factors in the changing workplace norms. Considering the existing pandemic environment, which has forced many organizations to shift to working from home, remote jobs are in greater demand than ever. Workers are valuing the time saved from commutes, their ability to spend more time with family, lower exposure risks to COVID, as well as many other factors. On top of all these benefits, employees are able to maintain their productivity levels remotely. This has led to many workers quitting if their workplace is unable to offer flexible or hybrid options for them to at least partially work remotely. In fact, according to a survey, only 19% of workers would want to return to the traditional fully in-office style of work. 

Ultimately, as we’ve seen, the majority of workers would stay at their jobs if employers were willing to make changes. So now, the question is how can employers boost employee retention, especially during this time of great resignation? 

  • Investing in stay interviews

Stay interviews are an effective way of demonstrating support and commitment to your employees. Businesses are better able to understand not only why employees would continue working at the organizations, but also what might prompt them to leave. This is a much more proactive approach to getting feedback from employees, as opposed to waiting for exit interviews to be conducted; employers can respond to the root of their problems before it escalates too far. The following questions might be asked during stay interviews:

  • What do you like the most/least about working here?
  • Why do you think employees leave the company? 
  • What needs to be changed to keep employee retention?

There is no one that better understands your employees than themselves. Especially as mentioned in the survey, employees are willing to stay if changes are made. An organization that is responsive to their surroundings demonstrates greater support of the changing needs of their employees. Overall, these conversations can help uncover the strengths or core values that exist, which are keeping employees loyal to the business. Furthermore, employees feel more valued when employers are listening to them and taking the extra step to not only check in on how they feel, but implementing the necessary changes to address concerns. 

  • Investing/Understanding the Value of Current Employees

It is no secret that the cost of searching for and onboarding new employees can be very significant; this is not only from a monetary aspect, but also in terms of time and resources. According to Gallup, replacing an employee can cost 0.5-2x their annual salary, and this is additional to losses in productivity and other factors. Especially when factoring in the influx of workers that are resigning, it is important to understand the value of your current employees. On top of the technical requirements that jobs may have, there are other interpersonal factors to consider in terms of employees. This can include things like how well they integrate with the existing workplace culture or their productivity levels. With accumulated experience at organizations, employees are bound to be more productive than newer employees as they face a learning curve. It is important to understand that the value of your current employee is much greater than the face value of their salary. Consider that low employee retention levels may even reflect on your organization’s brand as a whole. As such, investments into lowering employee turnover is often worthwhile. 

  • Take care of employees

It is difficult to pinpoint one area that benefits all employees. Of course, it would all depend on various things such as the industry you’re in, the demographic of your employees, and more. For one, especially during COVID, many organizations are prioritizing mental health related benefits. For instance, this can include providing therapists, accessible resources, as well as workshops for employees. Not only will this demonstrate care for employees, but employee wellbeing is linked to factors such as increased productivity, loyalty, and morale, as well as decreased absenteeism. Another key factor employees are looking for nowadays in light of the pandemic is flexibility. It is becoming salient for organizations to offer hybrid or fully remote options for employees. Businesses can utilize HRIS solutions to provide employees the freedom and mobility that they are in search of. Responding to employee concerns about there being a lack of benefits can help position your business as a long-term workplace for more employees. 


Overall, amidst the Great Resignation, decreasing employee turnover is as crucial as ever. Nowadays, if workers are unsatisfied with where they are at now, many will simply resign and look for other opportunities. With the business landscape constantly changing, it is important for employers to be adaptive and responsive to the corresponding changes in employee values and expectations. Keep your business long-term oriented by reaping the benefits of a more productive, engaged, and loyal workforce. 


Want to learn more about HR? HR Trends in 2021 and Beyond

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BAASS Author

BAASS Business Solutions customer-centric, collaborative approach has enabled us to expand our team and office locations throughout the years. BAASS has over 20 locations throughout Canada, the US and Caribbean. Our success has been built on a simple formula - deliver what we promise and build long-term win-win relationships.