Should I Stay or Should I Go: Tackling the Great Resignation

man thinking about a decision

by Patrick Gallen, Partner, People & Change Consulting at Grant Thornton Ireland

‘There have been many changes in the workplace over the past number of years.’  This is a phrase we have heard before, and lived time and time again.

In response to the changes, some organisations have advanced their capabilities to be more flexible and developed a hybrid working policy while others have implemented new processes and technologies to facilitate change.

But what about the employees’ response to these changes in the past number of years? There is a significant global shift in the labour market, with employees in the driving seat and employers chasing their talents, offering various packages to entice them to join. The ’great resignation’ is a term that emerged in the workplace in 2021. There have been recent studies into employees’ decisions to leave their current job for employment elsewhere.

Should I stay or should I go an approach to tackling the great resignation text image 3-01-01.png

As an employer it can be difficult in the current climate to maintain a workforce and reduce employee churn. So, how can we contend with the drivers of this great resignation period and retain employees in the long term? Looking at some of the key reasons for resignations can shed some light on how we can react now and prevent in the future.

The value of feedback

When feedback is sought and no changes are made, this can cause employees to become disengaged over time and choose to look for another job. Employers can’t action every suggestion that employees make, but encouraging feedback and more importantly listening to this feedback can have a significant impact. Analysing the feedback can also reveal parallel suggestions. Tackling common changes noted by employees acknowledges they have been heard. Issuing anonymous surveys or conducting a Net Promoter Score (NPS) review can provide the ‘as is’ viewpoint from employees, and also an understanding of what they would perceive as the ultimate ‘to be’ for the organisation. As the feedback is anonymous it creates an opportunity for employees to be honest, without the fear of the employer knowing it was their personal contribution.

The importance of recognition

The feeling that you are valued for your work and commitment can carry weight for an employee and impact their job satisfaction. Often it is not just the monetary value placed on the work, it is also important that that employers recognise the level of effort the individual has made, and in fact this can be more beneficial.

Should I stay or should I go an approach to tackling the great resignation text image v2.png

Invest in employee growth

Consider ways in which an employee can develop their career within the organisation. They can gain valuable experience on the job, that contributes to their career aspirations and their performance. A mentoring programme, further education opportunities, or internal training programmes can offer growth opportunities for employees at all levels.

These considerations are positive actions organisations can undertake to address the root causes of employee turnover and help retain their skills and talent for the future, with hopefully many more want to stay than go!

About the author

Patrick is the Partner leading Grant Thornton’s People and Change Consulting practice in Ireland. He has over 30 years of experience in People and Change, working right across Ireland, the UK and on a global basis. He specialises in delivering behavioural change through capability building, which can range from working on complex transformation projects right through to coaching senior Board members on a one-to-one basis. Patrick has deep cross-sectoral experience and his clients include large global banking and financial institutions, utility companies  and well-known global brands in the food and drinks sector. His clients in the public and semi-state sector include Government Departments in the UK and Ireland, including Treasury and Finance Departments, Transport, Health and Utilities.