Look at ‘The Great Resignation’ as the ‘Great Return’

Employees are realising the true value of their skillsets and are not ready to settle for less and making way for the place that best fits their evolved needs.

By Nimisha Das,

A part of the corporate world is witnessing a mass exodus which is being referred to as ‘The Great Resignation’. A recent Microsoft Trends report estimated that 41% of the global workforce wants to quit their jobs in 2021. For the more positive thinkers, the same research shows that 59% of respondents are not of the same opinion. To me, it makes me ponder over the fact that those employers must be doing something right and the employees have some reasons to stick to their current organisation.

Deconstructing the trend

So, how did the ‘Great Resignation’ begin? This phenomenon can’t be explained simply as a reaction to an event like the pandemic, and its roots go much deeper. It is in part a result of the pent-up demand at both, the employer’s and the employee’s end. However, this pent-up demand is different across sectors where some face a more intense degree of demand as opposed to others. The decision to switch a job or a role was delayed due to the pandemic during the course of which people have simply rethought what their life goals and priorities are, and hence they only want the best opportunities for themselves. So, from an employee’s point of view this could also be looked at as the ‘Great Return’. Employees are realising the true value of their skillsets and are not ready to settle for less and making way for the place that best fits their evolved needs.

‘The Great Recognition’

To arrest ‘The Great Resignation’, one has to go beyond quick fixes, monetary benefits and cater to evolved needs centred on holistic development. The aim is to increase employee competency at an industry level and not just for internal sustenance of processes. Lack of recognition and appreciation in the workplace further drives an employee’s decision to move on to a new job. It is also a major promoter and deterrent of productivity. Creating a recognition machinery within the company which rewards and recognises people for their hard work could create a positive culture and foster a sense of loyalty towards the company. What’s gaining most prominence is an employee’s emotional feeling of a shared sense of purpose with the organisation and that helps them find fulfilment in her job. This is where a well-crafted employee value proposition (EVP) comes to the fore. An EVP is an employer’s promise to potential talent. It attracts individuals with an ethos and aspiration that is aligned to the organization and makes for a good success recipe at both ends.

Gearing up for ‘The Great Return’

As we move towards realising ‘The Great Return’, it is imperative for companies to reimagine the workplace. The pandemic gave birth to the sixth ‘E’ of leadership (Envision, Energize, Engage, Enroll, Execute, and EMPATHIZE). Many organizations made an effort to be more humane, more empathetic towards the workforce during the pandemic. We should sustain this empathy at scale as we endeavor to strengthen employee-employer relationships and build a better normal. An empathic employer was able to navigate exigencies during the past few years and will be the one endeared by prospective employees for its empathetic work culture. It could be a hybrid work model, more collaboration, more medical care or anything which is catering to the holistic wellness – physical, financial, mental, and social. This will empower employees and make them feel appreciated and fulfilled. It would go a long way in establishing a trust field which will automatically help retain and attract the right talent.

(The author is Director HR, Kellogg South Asia. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

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