Why Are People Leaving Their Jobs ?


‘ The Great Resignation’ –Why Are So Many People Leaving Their Jobs?  

With attrition in the corporate world at an all-time high, how are employers going to keep or win back their employees? Or are they gone for good?

Since before the start of the pandemic workers across the world have been leaving their jobs in great numbers. Whilst there has been an increased focus on employee wellbeing, the evidence shows that organisations are still struggling to retain their employees, even though certain wellness initiatives have been introduced in an effort to improve their personal health. SOMETHING MORE HERE?  Shining a light on the physical and mental effects of working is no bad feat, of course, but is it enough to bring them back or are they gone for good?  And how do we move the needle?

The way we work has changed

It is evident that after the Covid-19 pandemic the way in which we work shifted dramatically. Workplaces have adopted work-from-home or hybrid structures which has allowed, to a certain extent, a better work-life balance for some. The end of lockdowns signified something bigger though; people started leaving their jobs and the idea of a traditional, life-long career in one particular industry is seemingly not desirable anymore. The US set a personal record for the amount of people leaving their jobs in 2021, with a staggering 24 million resignations in the space of just a few months and numbers in the UK weren’t that much better relatively speaking. This isn’t just happening in isolated countries, either-it is a global issue. Most countries have an attrition rate of no lower than 18%, with Germany leading the charge with 23%. The sudden surge of attrition has been dubiously named by some ‘The Great Resignation,’ and it’s affecting companies in many ways. An inability to retain talented staff will inevitably lead to a brain drain of experience and knowledge, resulting in a loss of productivity, performance and ultimately, profit. A high turnover of staff isn’t a good look for any business and in the long run it can damage your business brand value. Therefore, it is in the best interests of employers to invest in and concentrate on the wellbeing of their employees, even if it is from a profit-driven perspective.

The big question here is ‘why’ are people leaving their jobs

Why Are People Leaving Their Jobs ? Why are people not putting up with their jobs anymore? A big debate is where the responsibility of solving the attrition crisis lies, whether it’s with the employers or employees. In a study conducted by MITSloan, researchers asked employees through a series of surveys what they would like to change to improve their working experience. Whilst financial stability was on the list, it surprisingly wasn’t at the top of their priority list. Instead, they said that the presence of a toxic company culture was the main driver in leaving a job, for example the study found that the state of the culture and care of employees at work was 10 times more important than compensation. As part of this, the participants claimed that a failure to recognise performance, a lack of understanding of peoples circumstance, feeling disrespected and a lack of diversity and inclusion were strong factors in a decreased motivation for work. Second to this, job insecurity and constant re-organisation is what employees are measuring the most to judge whether it is worth it or not. The increased international cost of living has affected everybody, and it is no longer viable to wait for your workplace to become stable or a better employer when there are other options easily available.

Employees leaving their workplace due to perceived neglect of their well-being and personal circumstances by employers was perhaps the biggest concern which is a trend illuminated by research from a number of reputable sources. Studies like those conducted by the Harvard Business Review emphasise the critical role of employee well-being in organisational success. When employers fail to prioritise their employees’ wellness and health, it can lead to disengagement and ultimately attrition. Furthermore, research from Gallup indicated that employees who feel their organisations care about their well-being are more likely to be engaged and committed. Ignoring these factors has detrimental effects on both employee morale and company productivity. Consequently, when employees feel unsupported in managing personal challenges or maintaining their health, they may opt to seek employment elsewhere, seeking environments where their holistic needs are valued and addressed.

Are the existing workplace wellbeing initiatives working?

It is not like employers have been entirely deaf to the evidence. 2022 saw the biggest rise of companies adopting wellbeing strategies and initiatives in the workplace, particularly here in the UK. 98% of the businesses surveyed in a study conducted by People Management have an Employee Assistance Programme in place, which offers free counselling and other health-related services. If we refer back to the MITSloan study, it seems as though employees want deeper organisational changes that will make improvements for everyone in the long run.

Addressing the concern raised in the study by Gallup, adopting a wellbeing-based approach that includes nutrition, sleep, mind, movement and physical health, shows your employees you are actively taking steps to improve their welfare. Just look at ManufacturingCo’s Healthy Cafeteria Initiative; by introducing healthier meals in their staff cafeteria, the company saw a decrease in absenteeism and an increase in productivity. Whilst one-time services are appreciated and can help in the short term, a companywide culture that is employee-focused must be fostered amongst both managers and employees to avoid high turnover rates. This isn’t impossible, and there’s plenty of avenues you can take to begin the shift to a positive workforce culture that secures high performing, well-looked after employees.

Beginning the journey

It is understandable that many leaders may be hesitant about investing in such organisational changes, is this really the role of the workplace? Well, for many employees, particularly Gen Z and millennials, that is exactly what they need – because they don’t have the skills, know-how or in many cases experience themselves. It encompasses many elements and often takes time to see tangible results. In my personal experience, encouraging healthier lifestyle choices surrounding food and exercise has proved effective in tackling the individual and collective needs of the team, and therefore the whole business. This, combined with a good strategy for creating a positive workplace environment, is a great way to start making those shifts to a people-centered workplace. Taking small steps can help the process feel less pressurised, for both you and your colleagues. This could look like a team cookery workshops, activity days, having experts come in to do a presentation-the list goes on. The only absolute here, is that it is in the best interest of employers worldwide to take a stand against poor working conditions in order to protect their business but, more importantly, the health and wellbeing of others.




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