The Great Resignation: The Devastating Trend of People Leaving

image of woman with box of belongings handing in her resignationThe Great Resignation

It’s here. It’s impacting some industries more than others. It’s something you CAN do something about.

  • NOW is the time to prove to your employees that work is an essential part of their life for the meaning and connection it brings, not just the paycheque.
  • NOW is the time to show how much you value and appreciate your people, so they know that if they come back tomorrow matters to you.
  • NOW is the time you can fix the cultural leaks that you didn’t know were there (or perhaps knew, but now it’s the top of the priority list. (Like the drippy faucet that’s suddenly gushing water all over the basement floor!)

Give people what they want and they will like you for now. Give people what they need and they will value you forever.” Simon Sinek

We used to think giving people want they needed was pay. But guess what? Everyone can give that. What do you have that people can’t get elsewhere?

Can they:
– hang out with cool people at work and in the community
– have fun and laugh
– do interesting things in a stimulating environment
– heal and help people
– innovate and create magical creations
– solve complex problems that create lasting change

What can they get at work that they can’t get at home? As a volunteer? In another industry?

It’s Always Been a Risk (Work Just Had a Better PR Agent Before)

happy woman leaving work with belongings after handing in resignationPeople have always been able to “vote with their feet” by not coming back tomorrow. #COVID has given people the vivid reality of what that would look like. Some could never picture it before – what it would be like working from home, going down to part-time, moving to another city, having more time with family than at work… Once you know something, you cannot unknow it. And once you know something’s possible, you cannot ignore it.

Many of you are used to trying to retain people in your industry, so perhaps you have some infrastructure, ideas, and tolerance for this. However, I have spoken or a number of amazing organizations and business owners who may be used to this, however, they’re not going down without fighting a good fight. They are fighting for their people. They are fighting to give great people a reason to stay. They are fighting to make a mark amongst disheartened workers and middle managers that they _can have faith in them.

Keep going. Don’t let apathy settle in. It’s like dry rot. Hard to shift and a nightmare to get on top of once it’s settled in.

So what to do about it?

Slowing The Great Resignation

There are five things to understand and prioritize right now:

  1. quote from Sarah McVanel, if you're relying on pay and perks alone you may soon wind up aloneStudy your people metrics. Dig into the trends you’re seeing. Are you already in The Great Resignation?

  2. Study your industry. Dig into how your numbers fair within your industry and related industries. How deeply is your industry experiencing The Great Resignation?

  3. Scope out the competition. What are they doing to keep their people? What can you learn from the best in your industry and outside of it?

  4. Sus out satisfaction. Take it to the streets, the zoom room, anywhere your people are. Ask them, really ask them, what is working and what isn’t. Do the fastest thing they tell you to give them a reason to come back tomorrow.

  5. Amp up Recognition. If you’re relying on pay and perks alone, you may soon wind up alone. Appreciate people how they want to be appreciated. Give them the reason and belief that they matter so much that you cannot imagine them not coming back tomorrow.

As Mary Kay Ash said,

“The two things that people want more than sex or money are recognition and praise.” 

I think The Great Resignation is proving just that.

What We Can All Do, Regardless of Role

image of happy employee satisfied with his jobIf you aren’t the one who studies these numbers and takes action on these trends, use your voice! What have you got to lose if you’re halfway out the door?
– Share what policies, practices and systems deflate versus elevate
– Highlight what’s working (or once worked) that would benefit from being amplified
– Share concerns about what you think the future might look like based on what you’re hearing and seeing
– Do what you can to make your work-life satisfying for you so you want to stay
– Find “your people” that makes the connection and collaboration worth staying for

Remember, we all have recognition within our grasp. If nothing else, no matter if it’s your first day on the job or you’re the 30-year tenured CEO, we all can recognize those closest around us and create a ripple effect of appreciation. At the very least, it will allow us to enjoy this moment, this shift, this workday, this moment in our career more as a result.

Recognition may not win the battle, but it will win the war.

For more ideas about resurrecting your recognition check out these resources:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

Deb Rakonjac

Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

"Sarah nailed it!  She worked with the planning group to learn about the organization, the audience, the desired key messages and integrated it seamlessly into her keynote. Her energy was contagious! We received rave reviews of this portion of our event and Sarah was able to speak to all members of our organization in a way that motivated them to recognize others everyday. Our executives were extraordinarily pleased and integrated FROGging into their recent board meeting. Purolator is grateful to Sarah for dropping the pebble and we continue to see the ripples from this session across the organization. Working with Tami was phenomenal and the supports were easy to integrate to ensure the session went well. Thanks to you both!!"
Douglas D Swift

President & CEO, Swiftco Inc.

"I have had the Sarah experience in numerous settings: As a keynote, around a table with several other business owners, one on one over coffee, chatting with others at a conference reception, dining with a small group of colleagues. No matter the setting you always get the same Sarah: engaging, attentive, interested, inspiring, motivational, genuine. And always with an infectious smile. Do yourself, your company, your association a favour. Get the Greatness Magnified (Sarah) experience. The payback is priceless."
Judy Kucharuk

Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

"Funny, full of energy and incredibly motivating – all words to use when describing Sarah and her passionate stage presence. We were fortunate to have Sarah join us as a speaker for Spark Women’s Leadership Conferences and her presentations about leveraging greatness hit the core of our objective at SPARK: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to other organizations that are searching for a well-prepared, well-organized, thoughtful and passionate storyteller."
Shelley VanVeen

Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

"Sarah brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our International Women’s Day event at Libro! Her message was uplifting, thought-provoking and truly appreciated by our team. Dealing with Sarah was wonderful – she was open, professional and willing to work with us to customize her message to incorporate our culture and connect to our topic and participants. During the session, she was a pro with a powerful message and a fantastic delivery. We had wonderful feedback from all that attended and can’t wait to have Sarah back for another session in the future!"
Sylvia D’Intino

Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

"THANK YOU so very much for leading the engagement activities today! You’re a constant professional, with an amazing attitude and always seeing the great in everyone. I am grateful for how you have helped us this year to transform our in-person staff recognition events into virtual and on-location events. Our staff feel more inspired, appreciated and motivated after they hear you speak, and I know our amazing in-house team here looks forward to designing engaging appreciation events with your support."
Melissa Chaulk

Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

"We work hard at CDHA to give our members a wonderful conference experience, so we were thrilled to have received resoundingly positive feedback on Sarah's opening plenary keynote. It was the highest attended of the entire conference for both dates!"
Jamie Campbell

Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

"Smart, challenging, innovative, committed, dependable, and reliable, I highly recommend her for all your recognition needs. I have brought Sarah into my last two organizations to help build a culture of recognition and celebration. The focus on appreciation is more important now than ever."

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