Mitigating The Great Resignation

the great resignation

They’re calling it “The Great Resignation” –where large numbers of workers are choosing to walk away from their jobs, rather than return to their pre-pandemic workplaces. What’s behind this mass exodus, and what does it mean for businesses moving forward? In this episode, we are joined by Steve Dion, the Founder and CEO of Dion Leadership, a company dedicated to helping companies build strong leaders that create even stronger organizational cultures. Here, he explains:

  • How the pandemic turned a talent shortage into a movement;
  • What employers can do to help stop the bleeding;
  • How employers can better understand what today's employees want and need; and
  • Discover ways to attract talent during The Great Resignation!


If you prefer to read along while you listen, we've done all the hard work for you! We listened back to this episode and took notes below, and access is free! 


Be sure to check out Wiley's guide titled Keep Your People: How to Navigate The Great Resignation within this week's episode companion!

The Great Resignation

  • Today, people are leaving jobs at a higher rate than has ever been seen, and this is a challenge that all employers should be aware of and working to combat. 
  • It can be difficult to match the right worker to your organization even in the best of times, which means it is exceptionally difficult in the current workplace landscape. 
  • This “Great Resignation” is absolutely a serious concern for employers across all industries.
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  • Be sure to check out Wiley’s guide on how to navigate The Great Resignation!

A Shortage of Talent

  • Even before the pandemic, there was an emerging talent shortage for employers. 
    • This phenomenon is due to a few different societal and economic factors. 
      • Baby Boomers are turning 65, and retirement is outpacing growth.
      • New generations entering the workforce today view work differently compared to previous generations. 
  • With these factors at play, including the struggles brought on by the pandemic, The Great Resignation almost seems like an inevitable challenge for employers until adjustments and adaptations are made by the workforce as a whole. 

Birth Of “The Great Resignation” Mindset

  • Mr. Dion believes that the signs of The Great Resignation were there prior to the movement getting fully underway. 
    • He uses the “iceberg” analogy to describe it - there were signs building up for years, but they were not visible until the pandemic came around and created enough “rough water” that the size of the iceberg could be understood.
  • The gig economy existed prior to the pandemic, but with the mandatory work flexibility the pandemic brought, it exploded, and has been a driving factor behind people deciding to quit their jobs and look for something with more flexibility in terms of hours, pay, benefits, etc.
  • Shifting worker expectations is really what jump-started The Great Resignation, and employers must now adapt to those new expectations. 

A Reevaluation Of Life & Work

  • Texas A&M University Professor Anthony Klotz is the man who coined the phrase “The Great Resignation,” and he claimed that society has undergone a collective reevaluation of our lives in the wake of the pandemic. 
  • The pandemic not only created a shift in the perception of how work could be done, but it showed people that they can still be productive and achieve their work goals in numerous ways.
  • With the workplace flexibility that was forced upon employees and employers from the pandemic, people have realized that they might like remote, hybrid, or traditional work settings more than the others, and if they remain productive, they will likely now expect their employers to support them in whatever setting is their preference. 
    • Workers are taking more stock into the nuances of each work setting.
      • Stressful commutes, sleepless nights, wasted meetings, political bureaucracies within the workplace are all things people had previously viewed as inevitable, but with these new forms of work, many people are reevaluating whether those stressors are necessary.
    • Workers are now in search of more meaning and fulfillment in their jobs.

Other Contributors To The Great Resignation Movement

  • Wellness and wellbeing are an important factor that had also been building up even prior to the pandemic.
    • As a whole, society has placed an emphasis on the importance of health and wellbeing, including mental health. 
    • This also includes a proper work/life balance.
    • The pandemic accelerated the need for physical, mental, and spiritual health support from employers.
  • Technology advancements have also been a massive contributor to The Great Resignation movement. 
    • Video calls and screen-sharing technology have been around for awhile, but it is now a mainstream, and often integral, part of communications. 

Changes In Leadership Style

  • Leaders are having the same realizations that workers are when it comes to maintaining a healthy work/life balance and utilizing the tools available to them to make work operate smoother. 
  • Leaders are also now more aware of the burden off-hours or even on-hours tasks are depending on the nature of that task, and have now begun to delegate tasks differently.

Avoiding A Loss Of Talent

  • Leaders must capitalize on this moment and avoid going back to the old way of operating.
    • Mr. Dion recently wrote an article for CEOWORLD Magazine on this topic
      • In this article, he offers four suggestions for employers to avoid being the next victim of The Great Resignation.
        • Don’t take a “one-size-fits-all” approach to jobs and to people
        • Create a clear point of view and back that point of view with process and data
        • Listen to employees and ensure leaders have a two-way dialogue
        • Overall, assume good intent!

What Are Employees Looking For?

  • First and foremost, employees are looking for flexibility, with regards to when, where and how they work.
  • They look to their leadership to be compassionate, and empathetic toward their wellbeing.
    • This could be shown through policy changes such as implementation of extra PTO days or mental health days.
    • In this climate, employees want their employers to help them navigate their work/life balance.

Financial Incentives

  • Organizations today are struggling to align job packages for candidates that meet all of that prospective employee’s needs. 
    • This includes pay, bonuses, along with workplace flexibility.
  • Mr. Dion believes these struggles will likely result in some wage acceleration over time.

How To Attract Talent During The Great Resignation

  • Once again, flexibility is key.
    • Employers who are able to tell prospective employees that they will be able to have flexibility in when, where, and how they work will immediately be more attractive to talent than those who do not offer as much flexibility. 
  • If there is no room to offer any additional financial incentives, being a strong and caring employer will go a long way to ensuring a level of trust and respect between employer and employee.
  • Employers can get creative when it comes to attracting talent as well. 
    • Open up the candidate pool, consider different candidates, consider speaking with people who would not fall into the traditional areas that your organization would look for candidates. 
    • Asking current employees what they think could help is also a great way to keep employees involved and build teams that will hopefully work great together.

Opportunities For Employers

  • Even though advancements in technology and the ability to add more location-flexible job opportunities have contributed to The Great Resignation, the talent pool also becomes much larger for employers.
    • There is no longer a need for a 50 mile radius when it comes to searching for candidates, the entire world is available for jobs that allow remote and hybrid work structures. 
  • For employers, turning things like commute time into productivity and reducing the cost of office space may seem like minor positives in a sea of negatives, but over time, those small changes can have a massively positive impact.
  • Now is the time for organizations to focus on having a healthier, more productive, stronger, and different culture.

The Future Of The Great Resignation Movement

  • Mr. Dion believes that this movement will last for at least a few years. 
  • Right now, the landscape of labor is a buyer’s market, and organizations need to plan for this.
    • There should be concerted efforts all throughout organizations (not just from HR) to think more creatively about how work is accomplished and those creative solutions can be leveraged into finding and retaining the top talent available. 

Dion Leadership

  • Dion Leadership helps organizations build strong leaders and an even stronger and healthier organizational culture.
  • They have a team of roughly 60 coaches and consultants that connect with organizations and their leaders and facilitate training management programs, high potential programs, first level supervisor programs, and more. 
  • Over the past year, Dion Leadership has really placed an emphasis on work/life alignment and has been working with organizations to create unique working environments.
  • They also offer a webinar series that focuses on things like talent acquisition and retention along with many other topics like diversity & inclusion, virtual team fatigue, and hybrid work strategies.

Steve Dion Background

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About the Author Jacqueline Gregory

As a creative, persuasive communications professional with extensive experience guiding projects from concept through completion Jacqui has produced custom communications for some of the world's best known brands. Producing ProjectHR has been one of her favorite ways to engage and delight HR and Labor Relations professionals!

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