Skip to main content

Forget About the Great Resignation. Focus on the Great Realization

Organizations pursuing pre-pandemic remedies for post-pandemic realities will underperform.

We are in a different place than we were two years ago. Our world has been turned upside down: our offices, our family dynamics and our priorities. And just as we are getting a handle on all those things, companies are asking us to return to the office while the pandemic continues to evolve.

Inevitably, there has been pushback from those who would rather quit than return to their job as it once was. Employee attrition is at an all-time high as workers are leaving to retire early, explore entrepreneurship, or find a better fit at a different company.

This phenomenon has been labeled the Great Resignation, but that only describes the symptom. The root cause is the Great Realization, a broad change in how people look at their lives and their livelihoods. Organizations that address the Great Realization will thrive. Organizations pursuing pre-pandemic remedies for post-pandemic realities are going to underperform.

Right Management works with thousands of individuals through our leadership, career and coaching work annually. From this experience, we have identified the following themes that characterize the employee sentiment of today. Organizations that understand and address these themes will emerge as the most attractive employers, because individuals will feel like they belong and want to bring their best every single day.

Setting individuals up for success from day one

There is an unprecedented number of job openings across the economy. That means that each successful hire – internal or external – is critical to success. How individuals are welcomed into a new team sets the stage for success or failure.

High-performing companies invest in new hires with comprehensive onboarding programs starting with assessments to ensure fit, pre-hire to post-hire learning, networking, and coaching that fits with the needs of the role.

When new hires know that their new manager and company are investing in their success, their willingness to learn, adapt and stay increases.

Balancing flexibility and effectiveness in the hybrid work model

Flexibility in when and where you work used to be a special perk for the select few with enlightened managers or gig-like business models. There was no precedent to show that it was possible at scale. The sudden exodus from corporate offices has taught us that we can work remotely and in many cases be more productive. As a result, more jobs are offering remote options and technology is making it even easier for us to collaborate.

Successful employers will have to accommodate flexible work arrangements that address individual needs while also being mindful of equity and fairness in defining where and how work gets done.

Alignment of company values and employee careers

People seek meaning in their work and are increasingly looking for companies aligned to their own values. They want to understand how their day-to-day work links back to a broader impact and how they can develop as individuals and progress their careers.

The bar is higher for companies to have a compelling vision and to help individuals see how they fit into that vision, both in their roles today and in their career progression. Managers need to be enabled to have these conversations and create the optimum environment to guide careers.

Creating belonging through inclusion

We have all felt the sting of being excluded at some point in our lives. We feel the need to fit in by outwardly adapting to an established culture. Flipping the script, however, can be far more valuable to organizations. When people feel a sense of security – safety in being able to express their perspectives and needs without censure — they will pay less attention to how they are perceived and more attention on value-driving work.

Equipping organizations with the tools to foster a sense of inclusion will create an environment where all individuals can bring their full selves to work. This will increase capacity, focus, and creativity and lead to stronger business performance.

The Great Realization as an Opportunity

While the prolonged uncertainty around the pandemic has been challenging, we believe there is also a silver lining in that it has offered us a sense of possibility. The Great Realization represents not only a broad change, but also a great opportunity.  We have raised our standards for how we want to spend our time.  We have learned that we can handle a lot more than we thought we could. Successful companies will recognize this shift in priorities among their employees and embrace it by investing in their employees and creating a sense of belonging.

Right Management has been helping organizations evaluate, develop, mobilize and transition their talent for over 40 years. Let us help you thrive in the new next.

About the Author

Lindsay Chim is the SVP of Product and Advisory Solutions at Right Management. She leads a team of highly experienced talent development professionals in developing and deploying solutions for companies to unleash the potential of people for business results. Lindsay’s career has centered around elevating organizations through transformational change. Prior to joining Right Management, she was a Partner at the Boston Consulting Group and a leader in the North America People and Organization Practice. She holds an MBA from Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University and bachelor’s degree in Business and Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley.

Profile Photo of Lindsay Chim