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The Great Resignation Syndrome: Reasons, Lessons & Solutions

By greytHR
2 minute read
September 01, 2022

Resignation Syndrome Last year, over 47 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs, citing reasons such as low pay, lack of respect, absence of work-life balance and burnout, among others. A result of the pandemic, this trend was known as the Great Resignation.

At a recent episode of greytHR Meets, Manish Mohan Misra (Group Head–HR Transformation & Special Projects, Emirates National Oil Company) answered multiple queries about this syndrome. He enumerated the reasons and lessons learned from it. Additionally, he expressed his thoughts on its impact on the work landscape and how companies should build an effective workforce that is ready for the future.

Our special thanks to Virendra Gujarathi & Syed of Supertron Infotech for enriching the discussion with information on their technology capabilities and association with greytHR.

Did we see the Great Resignation coming, or was it something nobody ever predicted?

The term Great Resignation was coined by Anthony Klotz, in 2021, a professor at the University of Texas. So, somebody saw it coming. Almost every government collects, analyses and publishes the labour market data. They also look at unemployment, growth and employment because these are of national interest and importance. Probably, the professor was also analysing some kind of data and saw this trend of several employees quitting their jobs.

Which are the industries that have been hit hard by this trend?

In businesses like restaurants and retail chains, the buyer and seller have to be together. It could not happen during the pandemic, so these businesses were badly hit. Although the healthcare professionals saved lives, a fatigue/burnout factor resulted in a high turnover in the industry. When it comes to IT, many moved to the cloud and opportunities were created for people with niche skill sets. The sudden changes in the industry also led to high attrition.

What do you think employers want from their workforce in the Middle East?

The fundamental employee needs of pride, trust, respect, growth and learning opportunities remain the same. But employers are now expected to find better ways to deal with them. The one-size-fits-all era is going to be replaced by the personalisation era.

What strategies should companies adopt to avoid the Great Resignation syndrome?

Disruption is now continuous. So, companies need to learn how to manage these disruptions in the flow of work and continue to thrive thereon. They have to relook at their operating model and rethink how they are going to work and manage people. Therefore, they must look at a larger picture, and not just the Great Resignation.

What should the industry leaders do to retain the employees during this time?

Leaders must focus on creating an enabling culture by working closely with their HR teams. They need to listen to the employees and make changes accordingly. They also have to be more involved in managing, developing and grooming talent.

What are the adverse effects of the Great Resignation?

‘Disruption’ has become the only constant, and everybody has to live and thrive in it. On a positive note, the new scenario has opened doors for companies to relook at fundamentals
like employer-employee relationship, well-being and career growth. In fact, all of this can now be done better at a lower cost, thanks to technology. But it calls for a change of mindset and approach.

What are the lessons learned, and how can HR leverage the same?

The future of work has become the ‘now’ of work. Therefore, just learning lessons is not good enough. Action is equally important! Companies have to let go of the old ways and embrace new practices. There will be failures along the way. But it is important to learn, adapt and
move on.

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