How Companies Should Be Responding to the Great Resignation

The Covid-19 pandemic brought what many now refer to as the Great Resignation of 2021. During the Great Resignation, a record number of employees resigned from their positions. Instead of a short-term rise in resignation, the Great Resignation continues the trend of rising quit rates that started a decade prior. In this article, we’ll discuss the contributing factors and events of the Great Resignation, how to boost employee retention, how to respond to employee resignation, and how to respond to a resignation letter due to job dissatisfaction. 


The Great Resignation of 2021

People continue to feel the effects of the pandemic, which brought with it a churn in the US labor market. This unprecedented churn included widespread job losses, even in the early months of the pandemic. This job loss led to tight labor markets in 2021. The “quit rate” in the US also reached record highs, and this quit rate soon became known as the “Great Resignation of 2021.” This quit rate continued to rise, reaching a high as of November 2021.

Many attribute this high quit rate to a few key factors. A survey from the Pew Research Center cites that for 63% of surveyed employees, low pay majorly contributed to resignation. The same percentage of people overall stated a lack of advancement opportunities. The top contributors were low pay, a lack of advancement opportunities, poor treatment, and feeling underappreciated. Covid-19 effectively played a far smaller part in encouraging employees to resign.


How to Boost Employee Retention

In response to the Great Resignation, companies must understand the ripple effects of the pandemic and re-evaluate how they retain employees. You as an employer may have already faced a record number of resignations. Going forward, you’ll want to be better prepared to handle this risk and decrease your employee turnover. Some of the top strategies for boosting employee retention during Covid-19 include incentivizing employee loyalty, elevating your purpose, providing growth opportunities, prioritizing connection and culture, and investing in employee and family care.


Incentive Employee Loyalty

Compensate people enough to remove the issue of money. In addition to updating compensation, consider helping pay down student loans, offering one-time bonuses, and providing work-from-home stipends. Re-leveling your pay allows you to also detect and fix pay inequities within your organization.


Elevate Your Purpose

Purpose is the primary reason your organization exists. It’s the motivation for people to join and continue to stay. In turbulent times, a belief in the organization’s purpose and overarching goals is shown to be more important than in quieter times. Prove to your employees there’s a greater purpose than the bottom line. Use it to shape your actions and tactics.


Provide Growth Opportunities

How would you change the minds of your best people if they gave their resignation? You might ask what their dream job with the company would be if they could shape it. With this in mind, consider concrete ways to make this happen. Forward-looking organizations do retention interviews of their existing team members. In other words: don’t assume you know what people want. Find out what it would take for employees to stay.


Prioritize Connection and Culture

Putting your work aside and committing time to connect with your employees and build relationships is highly impactful. It will solidify their relationship with your company and positively impact their productivity. Covid-era surveys show that employees around the world place a high priority on good relationships with their coworkers.


Invest in Employee and Family Care

Another way to boost employee retention and reduce turnover is to invest in the care of your employees and their families. Acknowledge the personal sacrifices your employees continue to make throughout the pandemic, provide mental health resources, provide more paid time off, and provide or subsidize daycare for employees with small children.


How to Respond to Employee Resignation

There is an increased likelihood of resignations as a result of Covid-19 and its after effects. However, with tips to boost employee retention, you can decrease your losses. Once you do experience employee resignations, there are specific ways to respond that can help you retain more employees in the future and grow as a company. Your response should include providing a professional reply, officially acknowledging their resignation letter or requesting written notice, informing them of final wages and benefits, providing guidance on offboarding, expressing your appreciation authentically, and giving your best wishes.


Provide a Professional Response

If the employee resigns in person, you want to be calm and professional. Express regret, thank them for letting you know, and refrain from negative, judgmental, or offended responses.


Acknowledge Their Resignation Letter

If the employee first resigns with a letter, provide a written acknowledgment, including the date of receipt, the employee’s role, and the employee’s last working date.


Request Their Written Notice

If the employee doesn’t provide a letter, be sure to request one. They can email, handwrite, or type and print it so long as it has the date, resignation, and last day.


Inform Them of Wages and Benefits

Whether they first resign in person or through a letter, direct them to HR for information on their final paycheck and benefits.


Provide Guidance on Offboarding

Inform the employee of your company’s official offboarding process, including returning any keys, gadgets, and badges. 


Express Your Appreciation Authentically

Whether you respond in person or with a written response, express your appreciation for their contributions. 


Give Your Best Wishes

At the end of your in-person or written response, and on their final day, express your best wishes for them.


Resignation Letter Due to Job Dissatisfaction

When responding to a resignation due to job dissatisfaction, consider how you can address their concerns and possibly still retain them, or otherwise apply their feedback and adjust your working practices. Determine the roots of their dissatisfaction and see how you can adapt to prevent other employees’ similar dissatisfaction and potential resignation. 


Responding to the Great Resignation

For how your company should respond to the Great Resignation, consider these top tips from Brightwing. With these tips, you can boost your employee retention and properly respond to resignation when it arises.

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