The ‘Great Resignation’ has been used in the popular press to refer to the massive shift in employment that is currently underway. While the latest Microsoft Work Trend Index indicates that 43% of employees will consider changing employers this year, this is not entirely a new trend. In 2018, the Work Institute predicted that 33% of employees would leave their jobs in 2020. This suggests the Great Resignation could be viewed as an important uptick in employee departures as opposed to an entirely new problem.
A loss of resilience is at the heart of staff departures.
Our research and experience with the High-Performance Index™ indicates that culture scores have been stable or stronger for most organizations during the pandemic. We believe that the uptick in employee departures is not due to a fundamental deterioration of leadership or culture. Instead, we believe lower levels of employee resilience have caused people to finally lose their patience with outdated management practices and leaders who do not care about them. More people seem to be leaving organizations because they are fed up, not because things have become worse.
How does resilience connect to culture?
There are many studies of why people leave organizations. We noticed consistent themes between the things that cultivate employee resilience and the things that drive employees to leave their organizations. SupportingLines coach Catherine North recently wrote a comprehensive post connecting resilience to culture. The Work Trend Index aligns with Catherine’s post, and identifies the top three things employees want from their employer beyond a paycheque:
- A positive culture
- Mental health/ wellbeing benefits
- A sense of purpose/meaning
The fact that people are leaving to find a better culture and mental health benefits bolsters our assertion that resilience and culture are playing a key role in the Great Resignation. The best leaders and organizations understand that the same things that cultivate a resilient, high-performance culture check all three of these boxes. A positive culture also improves performance metrics such as revenue, profitability and customer experience, based on our research. Let’s delve deeper into immediate actions leaders can take.
How can leaders cultivate resilience and reduce turnover?
Our research indicates that while resilience is certainly impacted by support among peers, the team leader has an even stronger impact on employee resilience. This is also not a new phenomenon. In 2018, Tiny Pulse reported that 40% of people who were unhappy with their leader’s performance recently interviewed for a new job. The Work Institute indicated 77% of turnover was preventable. Clearly a lack of leader support undermines employee resilience and plays a role in (mostly avoidable) staff departures.
The good news is that the most critical elements of leader support are things leaders can improve immediately. We have supported leaders who have completely transformed their High-Performance Index™ scores within 3 months. Rapid progress is possible when people shift their mindset and quickly create new, healthier patterns with their team. In our next post we will delve deeper into the three most powerful things you can do to immediately cultivate employee resilience and reduce turnover:
- Offer Development 1-on-1 meetings
- Help people grow
- Ensure your approach to performance management is fair
Start your journey by predicting what your employees would say about your organization’s culture and resilience in our HPI Prediction. We are here to support your journey and help you make immediate gains.