The Great Resignation: An opportunity for Leadership For ALL

Dave Kudas | 2022

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021, with another 3 million in August 2021. Resignations peaked in April and have remained abnormally high for the last several months, with a record-breaking 11.5 million open jobs at the end of September. How can employers retain people in the face of this tidal wave of resignations?

To retain people, you must first and foremost identify WHY are people resigning? The answers vary between economists, sociologist, academics, and workforce management consultants. There appear to be four reasons for people leaving their employment:

  1. With the pandemic, a greater number of associates are/were feeling disengaged from the company’s objectives and goals. In a recent survey completed by the Change Management Institute, 72.5% of surveyed associates who were thinking of or actually left their current
    positions identified lack of leadership engagement and communication as a cause for their frustration
  2. The shift to remote work has led employers to feel that hiring people with little experience would be riskier than usual, since new employees won’t have the benefit of in-person training and guidance. This created greater demand for experienced employees, as it provided greater leverage in securing new positions.
  3. The level of decision making has become more concentrated with fewer associates having a voice in the development and delivery of projects and processes. “Out of sight, out of mind” appears to be prevalent theme.
  4. Many have simply reached a breaking point after months and months of high workloads, hiring freezes, and other pressures, causing them to rethink their work and life goals.

Within the conceit of Leadership for ALL are Three practices to minimize the frustration and trepidation of associates that have led to the Great Resignation of 2021.

How can employers retain people in the face of this tidal wave of resignations?

1. Understand employees holistically and allow them to ‘share their story’. Each person must be allowed to share their story both individually and in their relationships with others and the company. By providing an opportunity to engage as a partner and ultimately as a leader, each associate will see themselves as critical to the success of the company.

2. Be transparent and consistent in communication with employees. Addressing employees concerns and frustrations requires understanding what they need from the organization. Provide opportunities to gain insight from associates by providing forums like townhalls and village meetings and one on one conversations to provide outlets for employee perceptions and provide feedback. Be an ACTIVE and ACTION Based listener and give associates the opportunity to exercise leaderful practices in engaging to resolve issues. Let employees know their value by valuing their input and be clear, crisp, and delivering on what has been asked of the organization.

3. Step up employee engagement by stepping back and recognize Success as well as learning from Setbacks. Overall engagement matters, so step up your efforts by soliciting feedback, recognizing achievements by setting goals and through recognized objectives and measurements. Also acknowledge the challenges when appropriate. Experiences are part of the story telling mythos: It also enhances the experiences of providing leadership ownership in everyday situations. This will heighten interest in participation.

Through engagement, experience and participation, associates will be responsive to the organization
and in turn become leaderful practitioners in discissions, directions and decisions.

– Dave Kudas