The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation

Publish Date: 2021-08-04

Author: Victoria Bond

There is a lots chatter on social media from recruiters and talent managers about the risk and challenges of mass resignations. They’re referencing employees who have waited out the pandemic and are now looking to make a career move. 

But there is also an equal amount of chatter about the lack of candidates in the market place and how difficult it is to find talent at the moment. 

So which is it? We take a look at whether the “great resignation” is actually happening, how you can take advantage and how you can prevent it happening in your organisation. 


What is Driving the Great Resignation?

A recent survey by Personio found that 38% of respondents planned to quit their job in the next six months to a year. This shift is largely due to the pandemic making people question their priorities. Right now, more and more people are setting off to pursue their dream jobs, or are quitting working life altogether to spend more time with their families. In fact, a whopping 50% of employees say that they’d sacrifice their salary for a job they enjoyed better. Times truly are a-changing!

But why now? 

Many people have, up until this point, felt under-valued and unheard – a key reason for toxic work culture and employee stress. And while this feeling isn’t anything new, the pandemic has pushed many of those who were already stressed and under pressure over the edge. 


Does The Great Resignation Present an Opportunity?

While ‘The Great Resignation’ of 2021 may seem like a looming threat to all UK businesses, it may in fact have its own silver lining. Just as what comes up must come down, most of those who leave a workplace will eventually have to return to employment. But does that mean there’s a pool of hot talent out there ripe for the taking? Well, yes. The only catch is that they may not want to work with you, or at least with you on a full-time, in-office basis. 

Because many workers are now favouring remote or hybrid roles over in-person jobs, this presents companies with, depending on how you look at it, an opportunity or a predicament. On the one hand, there’s a lot of hot talent out there willing to work on a remote or contractual basis for businesses. This allows the company in question to save on overheads and potentially employment costs. On the other hand, businesses that aren’t willing to adapt to changing times may struggle to source the employees they need in-house, and stall as a result. 

And it’s not just about the office, either. Many employees have gotten so used to working from home that they realise how much they dislike their workplace in general. Office politics, bullying managers, and a lack of recognition are all factors that can play a role in an employee wanting to leave. So before you go thinking that The Great Resignation presents an opportunity, you need to make sure you’re creating a great place to work. 


How Likely Are You to Lose Out? 

This is an employer’s biggest fear right now, and rightly so. While there’s no way to accurately project how many of your employees will hand in their notice, there’s one key indicator – employee engagement. 

Because The Great Resignation all boils down to employee satisfaction (or dissatisfaction), any business with a low eNPS score is at risk of losing a large chunk of their workforce. Employees will simply choose to work somewhere better.


How Can You Take Advantage of The Great Resignation?

There are two ways you can take advantage of The Great Resignation:

  1. Hire hot new talent
  2. Give your existing workplace a much-needed shakeup and retain your current talent

In either case, it’s imperative that your workplace lives up to the standards that a 2021 employee wants to see. Because although ‘The Great Resignation’ is an unprecedented event, there’s likely been a complete shift in the mindset of the modern worker. This means that things probably won’t go back to the way they were. Employees now want their workplaces to tick most of their boxes, and they won’t be afraid to leave swiftly if otherwise! 

Whether you choose option 1 or 2 from this list, one thing remains constant: great employee satisfaction rates are key to a thriving business in the modern age. Try as you might to hire that hot new talent floating around, if you’re refusing to adapt to changing expectations, they’ll be gone before you know it. 


How Can You Increase Employee Engagement Rates? 

There’s no straightforward answer to this question, because every business is different, with unique strengths and challenges that only the employees can tell you. From micro-managing leaders, to toxic workplace cultures and lack of adequate Duty of Care, the list of things that can negatively impact how it feels to work in an organisation is significant. But don’t let that scare you away from inviting your employees to share feedback. In fact, this is the most important thing you can do to boost employee engagement, and is the first step to creating a better working environment. 

Using an anonymous employee engagement tool such as Space HR can give you extremely valuable insights into how your workers are feeling. You’ll receive honest feedback presented in a quantifiable eNPS score, so that you can begin to understand exactly which areas need attention. 

While we could talk all day about what you can do to increase employee engagement, here’s a non-exhaustive list of the things you shouldn’t do: 


What NOT to Do:

DO NOT Throw More Salary at the Situation

We hear the phrase ‘money can’t buy happiness’ probably a lot more than we’d like, but there’s an awful lot of truth within it. If you’re overworking your employee, or not giving enough back, you might assume that ‘overpaying’ them will balance everything out, but higher salary doesn’t positively correlate with higher employee satisfaction rates. 

That’s because an ‘overworked’ employee is likely to be feeling stressed out with deadlines, undervalued for their hard work, or simply in need of a better work-life balance. That’s what being ‘overworked’ really means. Anyway, the best way to cure an overworked employee is to get to the bottom of why they’re feeling overworked i.e. employee feedback. 


DO NOT Focus On New Things You Can Introduce, Rather Than Fixing Existing Problems

Another common conclusion that business owners jump to in order to solve low workplace engagement is to spend additional money and budget on treats and rewards. And while this sort of thing might just boost employee engagement rates in an already happy workplace, it’s not a cure for most common causes of employee discontent. 

Bad leadership is one of the most common issues that lead workers to resign, accounting for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores. This is why it’s imperative to train your managers to be great leaders, rather than focusing on a superficial or aesthetic area of your business. Again, anonymous feedback really is the only way of accessing the insights you need to make positive changes within your management team.


DO NOT Take For Granted The Team You Already Have 

You need to be especially sure that you are doing enough to make your existing team stay. Things like having great recognition schemes in place, long term career paths and that all important focus on wellbeing will all ensure that when opportunity calls, your team don’t answer. 

If you aren’t sure if you have people thinking of leaving, that’s when an engagement survey can help once again. Low engagement in particular teams might be a good indication that you need to pay more attention and tackle issues before they turn into resignations. 



The Great Resignation poses a major threat to businesses who for years have allowed issues to lay under the radar. Now they face an ‘adapt or die’ situation, which will force them to change their workforce for the better by actually listening to how their employees feel. 

Whether you’re confident that your employees will stay, or you fear a pile-up of resignation letters on your desk, now is the time to act. Find out how your employees are feeling, make the changes you need to encourage them to stay, and attract hot new talent with your newly improved workplace. 


Get in touch with us to see how we can help you take full advantage of The Great Resignation. 

Share this article

Recommended reading

Your Employer Brand
Your Employer Brand
Why ‘zero resignations' should come as a surprise
Why ‘zero resignations' should come as a surprise
Why diversity, inclusion and belonging matter hugely to engagement
Why diversity, inclusion and belonging matter hugely to engagement
Sign up for a monthly employee engagement round up