Skip to content
Are You Prepared For The Great Resignation? Employees Share Their Thoughts!

Are You Prepared For The Great Resignation? Employees Share Their Thoughts!

The pandemic has indeed up-ended almost all aspects of our lives. In their wake, they brought about fluidity and uncertainty. Alert levels and quarantine guidelines grow or lessen in intensity, in attempts to catch up to the speed of case waves. 

With these, casualties of the pandemic reflect in different ways. In the case of the employment sector, you have a depleting workforce. Sometimes, they are more than mere resignation letters on your desk. A phenomenon is working its way through globally, and our country is not spared from it. 

Some people call it quits, but we can summarize it best through The Great Resignation.

What is The Great Resignation?

When the Roaring 20s went through The Great Depression, our version of the 20s is this. This concept refers to the number of workers that quit their job in a single month. We cannot really pin down where it began, only that we are in it. Today, the surge in pandemic era employee departures is known as The Great Resignation, a term first coined by Professor Andrew Clotz of Texas A&M University. 

Professor Clotz predicted May 2021 as the beginning of this exodus. In fact, a July 2021 survey by Business Mirror shares the highest labor attrition rate in a decade. The second quarter of 2020 reflected a 12% surge in separation. This is in comparison to Q1 2020’s 11.11%, an equally staggering number in itself. 

Further breakdown of the percentage saw that about 80% were employee-initiated resignations. Why is this so? According to Beth*, it is due to changing priorities. “People have shifted priorities due to the pandemic. So what was important then is no longer now.” 

George* seconds Beth’s statement. He adds, “People are realizing that there is more to life than just work. We used to live in an age that glorified the amount of time you spent at the office. [But this was] at the expense of time with our family, friends, and even ourselves.” 

But is living life the only reason for leaving? June*, a fellow creative, begs to differ. “As a single professional, flexibility to work anywhere is a priority. However, I also speak for my colleagues who have families. While they have to tolerate the occasional virtual meeting hijack from their kids, there’s a fulfilling point there. Witnessing their children’s formative years is the price they pay to stay at home.” 

Make employee retention a priority now

As an employer, several reasons course through your mind as you watch your workforce lessen. It may not weigh heavy now, but it is a different story altogether to lose your star employees in the process.  

But while it is the employee’s right to leave, you can respond with a counter-offer. Counter-offering may work for some employees, but the effects are short-term. ApolloTechnical shares that 50% of those who accept such look for a job a year after. Reasons for the impermanence include a false hope of job stability and higher pay. But if the company does not change, the story will still end the same way. On top of that, it is the employee’s choice to stay or not. 

What you need to focus on now is -- how do you retain the rest of your team? What will motivate them to stay? 

At the same time, you may start to wonder, “Does employee loyalty still even exist anymore?” Luckily, we have gathered insight from some of our employees that can help you. 

5 tips to address the Great Resignation

The best way to combat this phenomenon is to address the pain points. A pity party is not what we are asking for here. What we want to achieve is to be able to create a better environment for your workers to stay. 

A tidbit that may help tide things over is this. Harvard Business Review tackles Newton here with the term “inertia.” What does that mean? Employees stay because of such a concept. Like how the science term defines it, a force pushes people to leave. So how do you remove that force? Here are five ways you can do it.

  • Prioritize people over profit

  • Create a mentally healthy environment

  • Compromise on flexible working arrangements

  • Address the issue of fair compensation

  • Respect employee boundaries

Prioritize people over profit

This is not to say that we turn a blind eye to increasing ROI. But the core reason behind most mass resignations is the shift of people to profit-making machines. Beth* emphasizes this, especially if the person in question is a supervisor. “Having a decent boss is a primary reason for my stay in a company. Aside from this person running the ship, they also care about our health and safety.” While the clamor to make up for losses is an urgent matter, do not compromise your employees for that. Find a good balance between meeting goals and meeting work-life balance. Talk with HR to create a program that promotes this, or you could switch your actions up. It could be from respecting employee boundaries to drawing up health-based plans for their safety. If they show up to the office, you could ensure a worry-free experience throughout their shift. Respect their time at work and time at home. It’s in the little things that make a big difference after all.

Create a mentally healthy environment

June* shares that while mental health is a more open subject now, it is still a taboo topic at work. “I had officemates who were going through something, but were afraid to ask for some time off.” On top of that, she shares that not everyone is still open to sharing their personal struggles at home. They still take on extra work and are afraid to say no. CNN Philippines shares that mental health is a big factor for making employees stay. This is due to fears like “increased paranoia” regarding their health and safety at the physical office. But June* suggests that companies can provide and prioritize this by giving mental health breaks. In fact, she declares it as one of the main factors to consider when applying for a new company. Creating a mental health program should be sufficient enough to address the issues at hand. It could be in providing a safe space for your employees to talk their problems out. Another point could be to have mental health awareness talks for them to manage themselves at home. Employees who feel mentally secure will not only worry less, but will work better. With the weight of their mind being lifted off, they can focus on achieving goals with you more seamlessly.

Compromise on flexible working arrangements

We have said this before and we will say this again. Despite its own unique challenges, working from home can be effective! The advantages lie with the employer as well. Saving up on electricity costs to light up offices can go a long way. Plus, you do not have to worry as much with COVID cases spreading since most of them are at home. But at the same time, some companies cannot run on WFH programs alone. Institutions like hotels and hospitals must have round-the-clock employees to keep it running. So how do you keep that afloat without stressing your people? Work out a hybrid manning schedule. When we spoke with thought leaders, we discovered they are open to either full WFH or hybrid. An example would be to have your employees on rotation at the office and at home. You can even work out a schedule to have them come in twice a week and the rest are WFH. Safety is an inevitable priority and will continue to be for the years to come. At the same time, work is no longer life for most. So it is understandable that some employees will be wary of coming in. But at the same time, they also understand that the ship cannot run from home alone. Compromising can go a long way, and they will appreciate you for it.

Address the issue of fair compensation

While financial compensation remains to be at #4 of 10 factors, importance still surrounds that. Cali*, a designer, shares that while she had the opportunity to spend more time at home, her income decreased. “It lowered because we only got compensated for the days we worked, which meant my salary was lowered.” While she realizes that it is the price to pay, she wonders if it is worth the hard work she puts in. She also highlights good pay as one of the factors to consider when applying for a new company. The core of employee burnout can be credited to working long hours with low pay. George shares that he understands compensation can be hard given the economic situation. But he also says that if companies take too long to recognize top talent, they will pack up and leave.

Respect employee boundaries

June shares that one of the things companies can improve on is to lessen overtime. The lines of work and home are blurred enough, and schedules have encroached towards each other. George seconds this and wishes for a fair culture setup to happen. “A fair company culture is more important now than ever. Employees need to feel like they are cared for.” It’s more than just the webinars, he says. It is about changing the present culture and reworking what needs improvement. You can begin to do this by respecting the bounds of work and home. If it can wait until the next day or is not deemed as urgent, do not impose OT. This can also save you on finances in the long run, as with the case of overtime charges. At the same time, do not disturb your employees on their leaves and breaks. Make your employees feel as comfortable as possible. Most of all, make them feel respected. Furthermore in the case of mandatory OT, this is unlawful unless five conditions under Section 89 of the Philippine Labor Law are met. Namely, when:

  • The country is at war or a national or local emergency has been declared 

  • it is necessary to prevent loss of life or property

  • Work must be performed on machinery and equipment to avoid serious loss or damage 

  • Work is necessary to prevent loss or damage to perishable goods

  • Completion or continuation of the work started before the eighth hour is required to prevent serious obstruction or prejudice to the business 

In this day and age, the gig economy is also on the rise. More professionals are looking for flexible WFH jobs that do not compromise their boundaries at home. Address the issues above and you can look at improving your employee retention by a mile. 

Care for your employees like they are your family. Use Talent Search to access the largest talent database in Southeast Asia and find the best candidate for the job. For more advice and insights on how you can adapt your business to face today’s challenges, visit the Jobs and Resources Hub.

Subscribe to Market Insights

You can unsubscribe from emails at any time. By clicking ‘subscribe’ you agree to our privacy policy