Free cookie consent management tool by TermsFeed Blog - Don’t fear the Great Resignation: 5 tips for leaders | Redline Group Recruitment News and Blogs | Redline Group Ltd

Don’t fear the Great Resignation: 5 tips for leaders

The Great Resignation, also known as the Big Quit, has continued in earnest from early 2021. This phenomenon started in the USA but has spread globally as large numbers of employees resign in unprecedented numbers. In the USA over 11.5 million people quit their jobs in April, May, and June of this year, and depending on which survey you look at, something like a further half of the workforce are actively job hunting.

Businesses are anxious to hold onto their people. Understandably leaders and managers are nervous. Some are even hesitant to upskill employees, in case they take their newfound knowledge, skills and leave for a competitor.

Many leaders who were previously reluctant to grant their teams more flexibility to work when and where they want are changing policies due to employee pressure and loosening rules about when people must be in the office.

That is probably an essential first step to holding on to the best talent, but a handful of experts insist it is not nearly enough. Many managers think beating the Great Resignation is all about work from home rules, what many misunderstand is many employees have deeper concerns than just when they must come into the office.

This is not just a fight about remote working practices. Many surveys are highlighting burnout is rising and likely to go even higher. A recent Microsoft survey indicated that one in five people do not feel like their employer cared about burnout or work-life balance. Also, 54 percent are overworked and nearly 40 percent are outright exhausted. With these kinds of stats, it is easy to see why people may look for alternatives elsewhere. And yes, a more flexible approach is one reason why employees are handing in their notice, but many are lacking a sense of meaning and potentially being stretched too thinly, as well as seeking higher salaries and more days at home.

There are many reasons as a manager or leader not to worry about resignation if you are doing some of the fundamentals.

1. Training employees is the best investment

Imagine you are a recent graduate. Would you rather work for a company that will not train you or a company that cares about your progress and wants to help you improve your skills? Now, more than ever, employees looking seriously at personal development.

Employees who are given plenty of development opportunities feel valued and trusted. That has a beneficial effect on morale, trust, and loyalty – meaning they are less likely to leave.

When you help someone improve and develop their skills, they will improve products and/or services, and the company culture, the business should also grow as the people grow. Employee training is the lowest-risk investment a decision-maker can make, and it brings the highest returns.

2. Treat them well and try and understand them holistically

Your employees are your most important customers. Showing them, you care about them goes far beyond salary and benefits – you need to treat them as people and genuinely care about them from the heart. If you can tell the difference between someone who respects you and someone who is using you, so can they.

Active concern for employee wellbeing starts with the ability to view every staff member as an individual with a life outside of work. Recognising the stress the pandemic put on employees and families is a good start. But to care for employees holistically, employers should consider expanding wellbeing benefits to address physical, career, social and emotional needs, too.

If you are the CEO / director being able to greet your employees by name when you run into them in the lift will do a lot for their morale and loyalty. If you are a line manager, do you know and understand each member of your team? When employees feel cared for, they’re likely to stay, even if their salary is not the most competitive.

3. Autonomy is something employees crave

After a year+ of lockdown locked down with less control than ever over many aspects of our lives, leaving a job may feel like the first autonomous choice an individual has had in a while.

The pandemic, and its lockdowns, resulted in some form of loss for many, but it seemed some employees bore an unfair share of those losses. Our brains react to that threat to our sense of fairness by seeking rewards in domains such as certainty and autonomy, and now with a renewed focus on our individual needs. When those needs are not met, people will seek to find a place where they might have a little more control over them.

The easy way to keep employees from searching for a new job and autonomy is to let an employee choose where they work, and when. Some people enjoy working from home while others prefer an office, so if flexibility in work settings is possible, it is important to leave that decision to the individual.

If flexible work settings are not possible, there are other ways to provide autonomy. e.g., In the USA, General Mills rolled out the Gift of Choice to around 10,000 workers in its North American manufacturing plants. While operations slowed in many industries as the COVID pandemic took hold, high demand for grocery products drove up the need for all-hands on deck at General Mills manufacturing plants.

General Mills announced in April 2020 that on-site employees would receive daily bonuses and that non-manufacturing employees would be invited to work in factories to alleviate.

Dr. David Rock advised General Mills to create solutions focused on both rewards and autonomy. When you activate “reward networks” in the brain, he said - such as by giving employees a choice in a matter, letting them think about that choice, make it independently, and then enjoy the consequences of that choice — it can fuel satisfaction.

In keeping with that strategy, employees were given three options: They could take an extra paid day off their choice, receive a $250 bonus, or direct the donation of $250 to a charity of their choice.

The program was a success for engagement. Rock added that introducing the autonomy concept to rewards and recognition programs can “help people manage their stress levels and the chaos that has been in the last year or so. Ultimately, 59 percent choose the day off, 39 percent opted for the bonus and 2 percent donated the money.

4. Be transparent in your communication

Addressing employee wellbeing effectively requires understanding what they need from you, so it is time to have that conversation. A survey is a great way to get clarity on employee expectations. Consider options like additional company culture surveys and holding virtual townhalls to get a feel for employee perceptions on an ongoing basis. Let everyone know you value their input by following up.

First and foremost, you need to make sure the mechanics for feedback and appreciation are solid. Managers need to feel comfortable with feedback and understand what is appropriate. Further, properly empowered managers can deliver positive feedback and wellbeing whilst getting creative with employee recognition.

5. If they want to leave, let them go

If an employee who is loyal and engaged is approached by a recruitment company or a competitor trying to entice them, they are likely to just say no, or they will come to you and ask you what you can do to match the offer – and they will probably stay even if your salary and benefits are not as attractive.

In general, if an employee is eager to move on just because of money, they are not one of your core employees, it is not just because of money – it is because they’re unhappy in some other way. Even if they are determined to leave, do your best to get honest feedback from them, undertake an exit interview and learn from it.

Similarly, if an employee leaves for personal development reasons, use their departure as an opportunity to reflect. Ask them their reasons for leaving and use that information to work out how you can improve your company culture and employee retention.

In summary, do not be afraid of losing people, but treat them well enough that they will want to stay. If they still want to leave, see it as a learning opportunity – use it to gain actionable insights on how your business can improve.

Redline Group's mission is to enable high-technology companies to build world-class teams through knowledge-led recruitment.

We off both permanent jobs and contract and interim assignments and you can view all our job opportunities in one place. For more information, contact Redline Group on 01582 450054 or email


Fill out the form below to let us know about a vacancy you would like us to advertise for you.

Click here


Register your details to access the latest vacancies, create job alerts and much more.