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The Great Resignation Phenomena ‒ Employees Need More From Companies To Stay

Written by: Yvette Durazo, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Changing jobs has become a contagion in the middle of a global pandemic, political activities, and social justice movement. Why? Because the relationship between employees and employers has also transformed significantly during the past two years. Many employees agree that employers tend to focus on driving sales and increasing revenue rather than supporting workers during unexpected times. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the work setup evolved from nine to five in office premises to a flexible home-office setup.

The work from home setup amid the pandemic helped decrease Covid-19 rates, maintain employment, save costs, and offer flexibility. Unfortunately, it also increased stress and burnout, especially since most employees found it impossible to differentiate between work and personal time.

Not just this, but the Covid-19 pandemic introduced another change throughout various industries: millions of employees were laid off, workers received pay cuts and freezes, and most economists predicted a bumpy road for workers hoping to get their old jobs back.

Fast forward eighteen months later, 'The Great Resignation' is wreaking havoc on U.S. companies as employers struggle to fill more than 10 million jobs. Currently, employees are rejecting and quitting their jobs at a historic rate.

Insightful research by the U.S. Bureau of Labor reveals that more than 4.3 million employees quit their jobs in August 2021, reaching a new quit rate of 2.9%. Another study by WeForum shows that 41% of employees plan to leave their current positions.

When digging into the root cause of this exodus, many experts agree that employees are leaving to seek more fulfilling careers. Another top reason is that employees are dissatisfied with their leaders. All this brings us to one pressing question, which is:

What is the Most Effective Way of Retaining an Employee?

Multiple studies by industry leaders reveal that the driving forces fueling the Great Resignation include a desire for a better job, more growth opportunities, and strategic leaders.

Among this mass departure, employers must develop creative ways of retaining employees. It means the traditional perks and benefits that companies offer will no longer suffice in maintaining skilled workers, especially since younger employees seek purpose-driven job roles that match their skills and interests.

Employers need to learn newer, more effective ways of future-proofing their retention strategy. It starts from establishing effective communication strategies to encourage employees to discuss their pain points with their managers and supervisor.

They can introduce a neutral third party to help facilitate conversations and reach solutions quicker. Here's the thing: employees want employers to list, value, and acknowledge their grievances and issues. Failing to address conflicts can cause serious workplace problems to evolve into employees dreading their job to the point of resigning.

In today's expansive and competitive job market, employees want to connect with companies covering their basic needs while offering a supportive workplace environment. Employees crave a safe and healthy environment where employees feel acknowledged. Plus, a happier and harmonious office encourages better employee retention rates and increases workplace productivity.

Furthermore, if employees believe that employers acknowledge their issues and try to solve them, they're more likely to stay longer and perform better. These are just a couple of complex concepts that I discuss in 'The Leaky bottom line chapter' in my recently published book Conflict Intelligence Quotient (Conflict IQ™); The Missing Piece to Turbocharge Conscious Leaders’ and Organizations’ Emotional Intelligence.

Most companies fail to realize that employees require support in facilitating difficult conversations to address and solve interpersonal conflicts spilling at work. Instead, employers believe they can replace employees who decide to quit or replace employees perceived as problematics without investigating the causes. These employers tend to forget that employees are the backbone of an organization.

Worse of all, employees typically ignore the turnover costs after quitting.

No employer wants to hear the dreaded 'I Quit!' But what business leaders need to remember is that 'Employees do not leave companies; they leave bad and abusive bosses or leaders.' Unfortunately, this happens in most organizations where employers gloss over the behaviour and shortcomings of leaders.

The Great Resignation

A leading factor of the Great Resignation is the increasing number of employees refusing to accept their old jobs now that the U.S. economy is stabilizing again. Studies show that the average cost to replace a worker in the United States can cost the person’s annual salary and the cost to replace a manager is an average of 150% an annual salary, including the cost of hiring and intangible cost such as the new worker’s inefficiency while they learn the new job and lost productivity while the job is vacant.

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the number of employees fired or quitting their jobs. It also increased early retirement rates. On the whole, workers now consider job offers more carefully, causing 10 million job vacancies throughout the nation.

The real question is, 'why are employees refusing job offers?' The worker's desire for better working conditions with inclusive culture fuels their careful analysis of a job opening before acceptance. And this goes beyond wages; instead, employees want to feel safe, respected, and happy at their workplace.

Organizations that enjoy low turnover rates require good leaders skilled in emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, communication, and having a solid will to empower fresh minds towards growth and better opportunities. Skilled in soft skills, that do not have anything ‘soft’, but are rather essential skills.

Industry leaders' research reveals that employees questioning working conditions, high turnover rates, low wages, rigid leadership and other poor working environments caused the Great Resignation.

With employees rediscovering their rights to assess the terms of engagement within an organization, they're no longer settling for subpar job roles. Today, employees realize they have the power to demand better working conditions, opportunities, and growth. And with the current U.S. job market overflowing with newer, better openings, employees need not return to their old jobs.

The Verdict: What Can Organizations and Leaders Do?

Undoubtedly, technology is a powerful resource penetrating every imaginable industry. It's changed the world within the last decade and is here to stay!

Technology evolved from optional to mandatory as digitalization became increasingly important during the Covid-19. While pandemic mandates confined us within our homes, technology kept the world functioning.

And while the advancement will continue to evolve, organizations must retain and protect the human aspect of work. Machines, systems, software, and devices help streamline your workflow, but they are all ultimately controlled by human beings with needs, pains, feelings, emotions, relationships, differences, particularities, identities, dreams, and aspirations.

Let's turn back to them, to the workers who are like the blood that runs in the veins of organizations. Let's take care of what is alive in a company. Any organization wanting to increase productivity and workplace performance must focus on improving the overall satisfaction of their employees.

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Yvette Durazo, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Yvette Durazo, MA, ACC is the author of the book Conflict Intelligence Quotient (Conflict IQ™); The Missing Piece to Turbocharge Conscious Leaders’ and Organizations’ Emotional Intelligence. She is the founder and principal consultant at Unitive Consulting, a workplace organizational effectiveness, strategic conflict management, and leadership development firm. Some of her services included, training, mediating conflicts in the workplace, anti-bullying prevention, settlement negotiations, developing dispute system design, and bringing unique strategies to address the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) workplace.

She is passionate about optimizing professionals and teams to engage in constructive problem-solving communication toward instilling respect, civility, and collaboration. She believes that human conflict is one of the most important things organizations must learn to work with and harness to overcome any derailing of employees’ performance and engagement. Her methodologies are like a vitamin that is the breath of life to the immunity of organizations.

Presently, Yvette is an instructor for the Human Resource Management Certification program at the University of California, Santa Clara Extension Silicon Valley. She also is an instructor for the University of California Davis, Conflict Resolution Program and teaches for Portland State University at the Conflict Resolution and Mediation department. She holds a PCC coaching credential from the International Coach Federation, a master’s degree in Conflict Resolution, Negotiation, and Peacebuilding from California State University Dominguez Hills, and an undergraduate degree in International Business from San Diego State University. She is a former Core Adjunct Professor at National University, where she taught courses in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Communication for over six years and a former Instructor for the Leon Guanajuato Mexico Institution Power of Justice. Yvette is fully bilingual in Spanish and has expertise in cultural diversity and inclusion.





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