How Can HR Leaders Overcome The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation

How Can HR Leaders Overcome The Impact Of Great Resignation

HR leaders face a unique challenge right now – the impact of “The Great Resignation.” In today’s competitive job market, companies must find and hire the best talent, and retention is one way. However, high employee turnover can harm a company’s morale and workforce. It can also make it challenging to find new and qualified candidates. This blog outlines the impacts of The Great Resignation and why HR leaders should tackle it head-on. Together, we have given six tips on tackling the situation effectively. So without wasting any other time, let’s start by going deeper into understanding what the Great Resignation is.

Going deeper into The Great Resignation

The Great Employee Resignation began in early 2021 and is also known as The Great Reshuffle or Big Quit. It is an ongoing economic movement in which employees voluntarily resign from their positions on a large scale altogether, primarily in the United States. The possible factors behind it include the termination of programs or relocations to other cities, wage stagnation amid rising living costs, safety concerns related to the COVID-19 epidemic, and long-term job unhappiness.

The resignations have significantly impacted organizations, as it has disrupted the working rhythm, disrupted team dynamics, and created a lot of chaos in the workplace. Leaders of organizations must take action to overcome this challenge. It is a significant challenge that they need to face head-on. To make matters worse, many departing executives are highly skilled and experienced professionals. It makes it difficult for HR teams to find their replacements quickly and effectively. Employees are unsure about their future, and leaders are struggling to fill positions and manage the morale of their employees. Leaders unprepared for this scenario will find it difficult to manage employee interactions and keep them on track.

 In the long run, this can severely impact organizational productivity and profitability.

How is The Great Resignation impacting organizations?

The Great Resignation has a significant impact on the organizations irrespective of whether they faced it directly or not. It has brought various changes in the market, which are becoming a huge problem for organizations. Some of these changes include:

The rise in costs of backfilling

As employees are resigning en masse, it is forcing organizations to incur considerable costs to backfill the positions that are left vacant. When a top executive quits an organization, it can be challenging to fill the vacant position. This raises the cost of backfilling, as the organization has to expend more resources to find and appoint a replacement. In fact, according to a study by CareerBuilder, almost half of HR leaders (47 percent) report that the resignation of top executives has caused an increased workload for their team.

This trend also impacts the growth hiring needs of the company. Also, once employees quit the organization, their replacements take a long time to be trained to reach the same productivity commitment towards the company. The loss of productivity during this time is also an extra cost that these organizations are made to bear.

The rise in retention costs

With an ever-increasing population of disgruntled employees who want to leave their companies as soon as possible, retention costs have skyrocketed. In this high turnover scenario, companies are scrambling to keep the ones staying in the company. Companies are usually taking the route of higher salaries, retention bonuses, and ESOPs. However, these tactics often do not work for many companies since employee engagement has dropped.

And when retention strategies are pursued in isolation rather than being tied with broader change plans, they can cause problems as the organization may approach an unsustainable equilibrium. It can also lead to companies taking on more risk while paying employees even higher salaries to decrease their chances of getting fired.

In this scenario, the first ones to quit the company are the high performers, as they can get competitive jobs outside. With such a massive drain of talent, companies are left with mid or low performers. This drags the overall performance of the company.

The rise in minimum wage rates

The minimum wage rates have also gone up since The Great Resignation has been around. Since companies are scrambling to hire people to work, they are pushed to hire newcomers at higher wages. This trend is actually for both skilled and unskilled labor. This trend creates a new war for talent in the market, with companies trying to compete on wages rather than experience.

Wages have jumped up by 4.5%, the highest jump ever seen in the market since 2001. It is making it extremely difficult for organizations to maintain their operations with their available resources fluently. It means that organizations have to look for alternatives to sustain their operations while making cost-cutting decisions like reducing incentives and hours of work.

Fall in productivity

The year 2021 was a tumultuous one for organizations, with many employees quitting their jobs en masse due to the immense stress and anxiety caused by The Great Resignation. The Great Resignation significantly impacts organizations, with productivity falling by around 2%. It has resulted in a decline in employees’ morale, who are not devoting their full energies to their work. Many employees are fearful of reprisals if they decide to resign and stay put to avoid any negative consequences.

Loss in productivity has had a significant impact on businesses, with revenue and profits taking a hit. In addition, as decision-making processes become slow and cumbersome, the organization is losing out on critical insights and opportunities. What’s more, many employees are now reluctant to take on new tasks or responsibilities, leading to a gradual decline in productivity over time.

Why Should HR Leaders be tackling The Great Resignation head-on?

There are several reasons why HR leaders need to tackle the situation of excellent resignation head-on. The major ones of them include:

  • The resignation may signify an organizational issue that they need to address.
  • If they do not deal with The Great Resignation, it can create a toxic work environment. It will lead to more resignations in the future.
  • HR leaders need to act swiftly when they recognize potential signs of a The Great Resignation. They must ensure it doesn’t spiral out of control and damage morale within the team or organization.
  • By addressing the issue head-on, HR leaders can help build a stronger team and prevent future resignations from happening.
  • If HR teams don’t address the underlying issues, they will remain in an endless loop of trying to backfill and continuously hire.
  • Finally, by taking action early on when they recognize a potential Great Resignation situation, HR leaders can create a better working relationship with their team members and potentially save time in the future.

What can you do to counter The Great Resignation as an HR leader?

Think retention before hiring

It’s no secret that the war for talent is real due to The Great Resignation. But while many HR leaders have a laser-focus on backfilling with the best and the brightest, they’re overlooking a critical factor of employee retention. According to a recent study, 49% of employees would leave their current job if a better opportunity presented itself. This is regardless of the economy or their situation. That means it’s more important than ever for HR leaders to focus on creating a workplace that employees can’t just resign from. The sure shot way to do that is to focus on employee experience and culture. A well-rounded employee engagement strategy is the first step towards it. Even if a huge number of their employees do resign, they should start working on building strong relations with their remaining employees. Any remaining employee should not be negatively affected from another employee’s resignation.

Build promoters in the company’s workforce

Companies also need to create promoters within the company. What are promoters? They are employees who are passionate about their work, feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for their team’s success, and are always looking for ways to improve things. They are the ones who will go above and beyond to help the company succeed.

The best way to create promoters is to start with your HR strategy. Begin by identifying the behaviors and values that are most important to your company, and then make them the foundation for your HR strategy. You should focus on giving your employees such an experience that not just makes them like the organization but also pushes them to recommend it in the market.

Dig deeper into what is causing the employees to leave

The top reasons employees leave their jobs are not always monetary, especially in the current times. There are various reasons people choose to leave their companies. HR leaders should be aware of these reasons to understand better and address the issue. Some of the most common reasons employees leave their jobs include feeling unvalued or unchallenged in their roles, lack of career growth opportunities, and poor management. However, there are also many unique reasons people leave their organizations. These include feeling uncomfortable with the company culture, disagreeing with its values, a simple burnout, a rise in the organization’s layoff numbers, or not getting along with their coworkers.

These reasons may differ for different organizations. Some of the common reasons in the times of The Great Resignation, as we already discussed, include the termination of programs or relocations to other cities, wage stagnation amid rising costs of living, and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 epidemic, and long-term job unhappiness.

According to the statistics, this situation of Great resignation is mostly happening in the medical and tech industries. The possible reason behind that is the sudden rise in the workloads of these industries due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. There has also been a pattern of mostly the middle-aged workforce (35-40). They are a part of it as their experience and adaptation skills are putting them in good demand.

By knowing what is causing or may cause The Great Resignation in their organization specifically, HR leaders can work on those areas to turn those weaknesses into future strengths.

Enable managers to mitigate turnover in their span of control

When it comes to mitigating The Great Resignation, HR leaders should enable the managers of different departments to do the same. It will make the process more effective. This is because these managers are the ones who are in direct contact with the employee. They coordinate daily with these employees. They are the one who is responsible for employees to be satisfied with their jobs. These managers are usually the first recievers of a resignation letter or email. They managers may even be able to bring out the personal reasons due to which the employees may resign while maintaining confidentiality. It will make it easier to come up with tailored retention programs. All this makes these managers the apparent choice to mitigate the situation.

They need to provide the right tools, training, and resources to do so. Most people managers are not natural when creating highly engaged teams. They need coaching and hand-holding to give the best experience to their teams. They should understand what parts of their managerial styles are impacting their team’s experience and engagement. More importantly, they need to be coached on what changes they need to make.

Predict turnover and calculate the possible losses

One of the best ways for HR leaders to tackle significant turnover is to calculate what losses it can bring to the organization. Doing that can help HR leaders prepare for the worse.vThey can then develop a plan to overcome it to cut down the damages to the lowest possible. There is a specific procedure that HR leaders can follow to calculate these losses effectively:

  • The first step to calculating the possible losses of The Great Resignation is to conduct a job analysis. The purpose of a job analysis is to identify and describe the duties and responsibilities of each job in sufficient detail. It permits the determination of the skills and knowledge required for successful performance.
  • Once the job analysis is complete, the next and final step is to identify each position’s training and development needs. You can accomplish this by reviewing the job analysis results. You should be noting any gaps between the specified duties and responsibilities and the skills and knowledge required to perform them.

The information gained from these two steps will be enough for HR leaders to get an idea of what all losses they may have to bear if a considerable part of their human resources decides to resign.

Prepare a strategy for the actions you can take

Once they do calculate the losses, HR leaders should start by preparing a strategy over what actions they can take. They should have an action plan to tackle or avoid a high number of resignations. They should also have a detailed resignation process. It should be including the exit interview procedure, last-day checklist, and final pay. It should also include interventions to maintain good terms even after an employee’s resignation.

There can be two different approaches, in this case. One is an approach to deciding what to do to stop or reduce the possible damages of The Great Resignation. Another is an approach to determining what to do when it has happened.


As we all know, it’s not easy when an employee quits. The difficulties go above the roof when many employees do that at once. In this blog post, we have looked into The Great Resignation in-depth and explored the various ways it impacts organizations. We have also outlined why HR leaders need to tackle The Great Resignation head-on. Further, we have provided tips on how they can do so effectively. By understanding the reasons behind The Great Resignation and taking steps to prevent it from happening in the first place, HR Leaders can mitigate the negative impact on their team and business as a whole.

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