Can the Great Resignation be stopped?

Resignation rates in the UK are at their highest level in 20 years. Last month, recruitment firm Randstad UK surveyed 6,000 workers and found that almost a quarter of them wished to quit their roles. Previous surveys had this figure at a far lower 11%, so what lies behind this ‘great resignation’?

There are a few reasons for this ‘big quit’. The main one being mental health. Whilst the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly ushered in a new way of working and created new pressures that employees now face, it isn’t the sole reason for the spike in resignations. 

The pandemic has stimulated businesses to improve their mental support services, but this news came after reports that 68% of companies had no existing support structure in the first place. This figure has now slightly decreased to 58%, but still presents a problem as individuals re-emerge from the pandemic, and is putting pressure on HR teams across the country.

Over a tenth of employees cite poor mental health as a cause of their resignation, and businesses are increasingly implementing online counselling services and mental health ‘first aiders’ in their employee offerings. These mass resignations should come as no surprise, in fact, they are long overdue. 

Before the pandemic, leaders of the ‘talent war’ competed for skilled employees by offering trendy workplaces, meditation booths, and even office dogs. Covid-19 stripped away these perks and pushed people into solitary work. When people are alone, they have the opportunity to reflect on their experience of work and their job itself. When the work community is dismantled, individuals feel more like cogs in a corporate machine, rather than a valued staff member.

However, it is not just employees who experience this isolation. Directors and other business owners often suffer loneliness or isolation at the top. They mustn’t show any weakness, nor feel they need any advice from anyone, but they need just as much physical interaction as anyone else, to humanise themselves, feel in control of their business, and help boost employee morale and foster a good working environment. 

Mental health is hugely important. Companies and governments are recognising this, and should never be sacrificed in return for company success – and the companies that fail to realise that you cannot have one without the other, the more they repel employees and they resign.

College Green Group Academy offers various support solutions which can help improve your own wellbeing and ways to help build your relationships with your teams, starting with their own mental health assessment tool. It would be wise for companies to start a mental health plan for existing employees, and introduce it whilst inducting new colleagues – it will show that you have the emotional intelligence to assist and improve the work lives of you and your employees

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