What does The Great Resignation mean for companies looking to expand?

What are the catalysts for the great resignation and how might companies react to this new era?

The Great Resignation has been generating buzz recently, but most still aren’t sure if this phenomenon should simply be treated like a passing fad. ‘The Great Resignation’ was a term coined by Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University. He predicted that as life gradually returns to normal in the post-pandemic era, more and more people would turn their backs on the 9-5 office grind. In this article, we’ll be delving into the catalysts for the great resignation, as well as how companies might react to this new era.

The Great Resignation in Numbers

When the pandemic began, the job market was shaken with mass layoffs. But now that we’re on the road to recovery, many of those who were able to retain their positions are now seriously considering resignation. In fact, the percentage of US workers looking for a new job significantly jumped from 36% in May to 64% in August 2021. Additionally, nearly nine out of 10 company executives reported that they are seeing record-high turnover numbers at their organizations, proving that the phenomenon is undoubtedly not to be belittled.

Why Workers Are Resigning

The main driver for the mass job search is, of course, the search for a better salary. However, work culture during the pandemic has spun a more elaborate web of difficulties, and traversing those difficulties has definitely taken a toll on workers all over the world. The disruption caused by the pandemic did not only affect jobs, but also day-to-day routines— creating pent-up frustration. Moreover, a Limeade survey on employee resignation revealed that 40% of respondents left their employers due to burnout, and 24% left to seek a more non-traditional, flexible work schedule.

Reports also show that many employees are leaving to find a company with a more caring working environment and culture. Any added work pressure on top of the stress of the pandemic effectively drives workers to feel irrelevant and disconnected from their employers. There has also been an “anti-work movement” growing in tandem with the great resignation. Employees have been speaking out against long hours, low pay, and the lack of time and space for quality of life.

How Companies Might React

These trends should not cause despair — instead, organizations must leverage this data to determine what can be done to navigate the great resignation. First, companies are to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach and adopt a hybrid or more flexible workforce and operational system. ‘Principles: Life and Work’ by Ray Dalio talks about how a proper teamwork framework requires getting two things right: the culture and the people. This entails cultivating meaningful work and relationships, constantly training your team, and of course, employing the right people.

In our article ‘The Great Resignation, U.S & Global Workforce Trends’, we highlight that companies are likely to attempt to expand their roster. Companies will start sourcing among remote workers, contingent contractors, and freelancers across the world. Global talent today has an edge, after all, thanks to education, language capabilities, versatility, and drive to overcome borders and time zones in order to work. Recruiting highly trustworthy and committed individuals will also allow your organization to transition to a more flexible setting much easier.

Lastly, taking the needs of your staff and business seriously will help your organization avoid the issues brought about by this phenomenon. Rather than seeing the Great Resignation as an unavoidable circumstance, companies can also take this opportunity to change their workplace for the better.


CXC is a global HR outsourcing organization with 30 years of experience in workforce management. Our innovative and cost-effective solutions help companies gain a competitive advantage by improving efficiency while reducing risks.

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Written by Alicia Shane