The Great Resignation: Actionable Insights for People Leaders

The Great Resignation: Actionable Insights for People Leaders

Initially coined in 1997, the term “War for Talent” has gained new significance in a post-COVID reality as the war for talent has truly gone global.


Tech and healthcare attrition are at an all-time high.

The US Bureau of Labour Statistics reveals that nearly 4 million people quit their jobs in July 2021, and more than 19 million people have quit their positions between April and September 2021 alone.

And the picture isn’t any better in emerging markets such as India, where employers lament employees quitting their jobs in droves.

And when you drill down the numbers, two sectors seem to be affected heavily, tech and healthcare.

While the latter is perfectly understandable amidst a raging pandemic, let us address the root causes for tech attrition and how leaders can plug the bloodbath.

What is prompting the exodus?

According to a study conducted post-COVID by McKinsey, here are the top reasons why employees leave their jobs:

  1. They don’t feel valued by their company (54%)
  2. They aren’t respected/valued by their managers (52%)
  3. Lack of a sense of belonging at work (51%)

The reasons professed by the employees are in stark contrast to the opinions held by the employers who cited pay & benefits, work-life balance, and health as the top causes for which employees leave a firm.

This “divide” leads to employers being unable to resolve the burgeoning issue at hand and taking wrong measures that may only add fuel to the fire.

CX isn’t the only thing that counts. EX (Employee Experience) does too.


In a detailed study conducted by LinkedIn in 2020, “employee experience” was rated as the most important trend that will drive recruiting and HR for years to come.

Source: LinkedIn

As we venture into a new decade, empathetic leadership will be at the forefront of world-class brands.

Employees want career paths and development opportunities to help them grow faster, and firms that can grasp this best can hire and retain the best talent.

Edward from DTS had this to say about retaining employees on Forbes.

“Give employees decision-making responsibilities over areas they control, as well as the opportunity to make recommendations for larger, enterprise-level decisions. If employees are involved in the decision process, they tend to be more vested in the organization.”

By not grasping the root cause of what employees want, leaders risk facing high costs, loss of productivity, and a dent in the brand value.

Actionable Insights that you can implement to plug the blood bath:

Avoid micromanagement

Micromanagement is a practice that gets quite a bad rep, and for a good reason. It is a sure-fire way to sap a team of morale, reduce employee engagement, and affect creativity and innovation adversely.

According to Harvard Business Review, empowered employees not only show improved job performance but are also associated with enhanced job satisfaction and commitment to the company.

While micromanaging is a bad idea for any team, it is terrible for remote teams.

But, how do managers who have micromanaged their employees for years get rid of this affliction?

Here is how.

1) Trust, but verify

Set expectations with your team beforehand and agree on the milestones to be achieved. Do hold them accountable for their commitments.

When heading a remote team, ensure that you recognize and praise your team on their skill to execute/get results.

Building a team that is focused on cognitive trust not only helps keep team morale high, it will also enable your team to develop creative and good organizational capabilities that can be immensely useful for your company down the road.

Having an autonomous creative team that can perform tasks independently can also let you take time off once in a while.

2) Practice Transformative Leadership

Getting into a transactional relationship is detrimental to your company in the long run. A carrot and stick model with extrinsic motivators such as reward and punishment can work in industries such as assembly lines, retail, fast food—but none of these jobs are synonymous with the knowledge worker.

The vast majority of the remote workforce are knowledge workers. A transactional approach will lead to micromanagement and kill the creativity and innovation leaders desperately need in uncertain times.

As a leader, you must connect the work to a greater purpose, such as your company’s values and how their effort helps society in an impactful way.

Transformational leadership will not only boost morale and improve motivation, but it will also enhance employee engagement and drive innovation and creativity.

3) Coach employees to become leaders

It is high time executive coaching becomes mainstream.

The leadership world has a strange relationship with coaching. While startup founders and executives move heaven and earth to ensure the success of their initiatives, getting help is still looked down upon or, worse, a sign of “weakness.”

Eliminating the stigma can start with open conversations about well-being between different stakeholders within the company and inviting a coach to talk to your team about what these sessions entail and why everyone has something to gain.

At Peakperformer, we help shatter the taboo and enable teams to address their development areas, talk about their challenges at work and ensure they make the most of that experience, rather than hold back to keep up “appearances”.

Importance of upskilling and promoting your team instead of hiring “outsiders” to fill leadership positions

The importance of promoting insiders and helping them gain leadership skills is often underestimated.

Insiders understand your company better and are used to your culture. Internal hires also receive higher performance reviews and cost less than their external counterparts.

According to HBR, 60% of hiring managers suggest internal recruiting could be improved by better identifying skills in existing employees.

While upskilling internal employees is not a new concept by any means, and many companies have robust mechanisms to develop their existing talent to leadership positions, it is still not as common as it should be.

In many cases, HR management and Company management would rather pay a premium for outside hire, and this practice ought to be changed for the better.

Take a data-driven approach when developing retention strategies

Adopting a pure data-driven retention strategy isn’t easy, especially for startups, but having at least an objective approach to developing a solid retention strategy helps in the current market.

If you feel that people leave a lot between promotions, it is high time that you think about career advancement programs.

After identifying the root causes of attrition at your company, creating programs to correct the issues and plug the blood bath is crucial.

Importance of diversity in the workplace

“Diversity” seems to have been an overused term by HR leaders in recent years and is even frowned upon by a few people who associate it with “wokeness.” But, the importance of diversity is often underestimated.

Take any city, be it San Francisco or Bangalore or London, and it is usually a melting pot of cultures.

If your team consists of a single ethnicity or a race, you are just missing out on many insights that can advance your business. Not only does diversity give you access to a broad talent, but it also helps you get access to a talent that captures the essence of culture and provides insight on what the customer from a community might need or expect.

And studies ranging from Forbes, McKinsey & Co, and other credible sources have shown that diversity only enables your organization to be competitive and more successful.

So take time out to understand if attrition is focused on a few ethnicities/races/genders and resolve it before it becomes too late.

Conduct regular eNPS surveys and devise mechanisms to act on it

eNPS surveys help you gain a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn’t work.

HR leaders should do follow-up surveys and interviews to ask more specific and targeted questions. While employees are usually hesitant to convey their challenges, you can resolve this by making the entire experience anonymous and avoiding personal questions.

Listening to your employees’ perspectives, be it promoters, passives, or detractors, will enable you to view the problem more strategically and help you understand the trends before they become serious. Leaders also ought to develop mechanisms to solve attrition before the issue proliferates.

Get 1:1 advice from experts on how to solve attrition.

At Peakperformer, we provide personalized coaching and help executives resolve their day-to-day challenges.

Our digital coaching platform is used by tech behemoths such as CRED, Groww, MPL, Bizongo, and others.  

We help you transform employees into global leaders in an effective, scalable, and measurable way.

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