The Great Resignation Continues

A survey from the Achievers Workforce Institute to identify the pulse of employees and caution employers to change the work culture to retain talent


Covid-19 has left a trail of workplace disruption and uncertainty in its wake. Reeling under the impact of lockdown, work from home and ill-health or demise of loved ones and individuals are giving unprecedented importance to well-being and picking up courage to quit settled jobs in favour of projects that give them time for their own pursuits.

The Great Resignation of 2021 was partly a result of new priorities. But it left industry and corporates with acute workforce shortages and forced them to reassess work culture. grappling with the changed employee priorities in the next normal, employers need data and tools .

Achievers Workforce Institute, in its fifth Engagement and Retention Report, titled 'The Great Resignation Continues as Employees Seek Growth, Balance, and Support' provides these, as also recommends actions for retaining manpower.

The biggest finding of the report is the quest for recognition, being valued, and inclusion, with 41 percent employees not feeling valued at the workplace (though, 52 percent employees did feel valued and meaningfully supported). So is the need for work-life balance, with equal percentage of employees saying they do not have workplace support to achieve their personal and professional goals. The report finds that 66 per cent of employees will be on job hunt in 2022 — slightly less than 69 percent on job hunt in 2021.

The survey was based on responses of 5,500 employees — from the US, Australia, Singapore and European countries (Germany, Netherlands and UK) — between December 2021 and January 2022.

The key pulls

Of the 66 per cent respondents who will be on job hunt in 2022, career progression was the main factor cited, "indicating that employees are set on taking the driver's seat when it comes to their career".

The other major factor cited was deterioration of work culture — 48 percent respondents saying so — due to lack of communication and employee input and failure to connect with remote employees. The report states, "Employers that are not committed to communication, feedback and connection will struggle to engage and retain employees in 2022 and beyond."

A related feedback was on engagement, with only 20 percent respondents saying they are highly engaged. The response in 2021 was a close 21 percent. As the solution for improving level of engagement, they suggested improvement in company's culture. However, only 52 percent companies have asked their employees what changes they want in company culture.

The report infers: "By investing in two-way communication, acting on employee input and encouraging connection at all levels, employers can ensure employees feel the support and sense of inclusion they are seeking."

In this respect, the 2021 Culture Report of Achievers Workforce Institute had also pointed out that belonging is a strong factor in driving employee retention. It had qualified belonging to include experience of connection, security and community, ie feeling at home in one's workplace.

Factors Of Support

In this respect, feeling of being appreciated and work being recognised is crucial. Only 59 percent employees felt they were supported at work — from organistion, manager or from colleagues. Support from all three is critical - from organisation in terms of clear communication about programmes for career growth and skill upgradation, resources available overall organisational scenario; from manager in terms of recognition, career development and coaching and mentoring; and from fellow colleagues in terms of asking questions and mutual encouragement.

One feedback that the survey got was that despite childcare being paramount in the present confusion, only 55 percent employees said their company supported them in caregiving obligations.

Employee Connect

Covid has disrupted organisational cultures in and work now happens in silos. Forty-eight percent employees felt less connected with their company or colleagues since the pandemic broke. There is an

urgent need to have frequent one-on-one meetings with managers and colleagues, with focus on providing specific support to employees. Social gatherings, both physical and remote, should likewise be encouraged, the report suggests.

Overworked Staff

The impact of Great Resignation is felt by the remaining employees — 70 percent of surveyed employees — as they have to shoulder more responsibilities without extra pay or promotion, the survey reveals; 69 percent of respondents said they had to work longer hours. This again escalated issues of work-life balance and support from organisation. The survey states that people are doing more but don't feel seen, recognised or rewarded and points out, "Many employees don't mind putting in extra hours or efforts for a short duration project or when there is a brief period of being understaffed. However, the pandemic is causing ongoing labor issues that will certainly exacerbate stress and burnout if unattended."

The report recommends to employers: acknowledging and recognising the problem areas and appropriate compensation, failing which the employees will look for new roles.

Lack of Action

While asking people for feedback and acknowledging should be followed by acting on the feedback for problem solving, the survey showed disappointing result. Only 18 percent of employees said their company consistently acts on feedback, with 20 percent claiming their organisation never acts on the feedback. This is one area where employers are falling behind on expectations.

Global Sentiments

The findings were universal across geographies, with minor variations.

On the question of job hunt in 2022, the following were the country-specific responses in 'Ayes':

Australia: 34 percent

Canada: 40 percent

Germany 41 percent

Netherlands: 38 percent

Singapore: 45 percent

UK: 44 percent

US: 44 percent

In each country, career progression was cited as the number 1 reason for job hunt.

Other indicators are also alarming, across boundaries. On the question of feeling engaged, the percentage of respondents who were 'very engaged' was:

Australia: 20 percent

Canada: 20 percent

Germany: 19 percent

Netherlands: 22 percent

Singapore: 15 percent

UK: 17 percent

US: 24 percent

On the question of sense of belonging, the percentage of responses in affirmative were:

Australia: 21 percent

Canada: 28 percent

Germany: 18 percent

Netherlands: 21 percent

Singapore: 16 percent

UK: 21 percent

US: 30 percent

While these findings accrued from other geographies, being an integrated economy, the trends would find echoes in the Indian workforce too. It will help Indian corporates to heed these signs and bring about necessary changes.

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