The Great Resignation: Its Causes, the Problems Faced & Solutions for the Future

Workforce Exit Great Resignation

Photo Attribution: Aleutie/Shutterstock.com

While the world is dealing with the pandemic, companies are dealing with a unique epidemic of mass resignation from employees. As per the end of July data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record-breaking 10.9 million positions were lying vacant in companies, with 4 million job resignations in July 2021 alone. This phenomenon of mass resignation is termed "The Great Resignation". But what is the driving force behind this great resignation of employees, whose motivations were mortgages or loans that made them work even in the worst working environment?

What Caused The Great Resignation?

To understand this issue, we should first identify the root cause of this phenomenon:

  1. Inhumane Working Environment

    Many incidents were reported before the pandemic about inhumane working conditions where workers were denied sick leaves, overworked and underpaid, even incidents where workers were denied bathroom breaks and were advised to urinate in a bottle to save time

  2. Feeling Underpaid

    Over time, when inflation has risen to a record number and the price of everything is being appreciated, the only thing that has depreciated is the hard work of an employee. For example, a study showed that while the price of real estate appreciated by 10 times, an average employee's salary remained the same or even decreased, leaving an employee unable to afford even a home. This is one of the major factors that has encouraged an employee to switch for better-paying alternatives or even consider switching careers.

  3. Compensation Provided by the Government

    Many companies reported their employees did not want to report back to work because the compensation they received from the government to comply with stay-at-home orders was enough, and that they did not feel the need to rejoin the workforce.

  4. Work from Home

    During the pandemic, this was the most-searched-for question on the internet. When the companies started firing employees at the start of the pandemic in the name of cost-cutting measures, people started exploring different options to earn money working from home. This made the work-from-home industry a billion-dollar one during the pandemic. In fact, the pandemic created new millionaires and billionaires working from home through digital marketing and cryptocurrency.

  5. Vaccine Mandates

    To western society, which has always championed the right to freedom of choice, the vaccine mandates imposed by the government brought a cultural shock to the people whose minds were etched with the idea of freedom of choice since childhood.

    The sector most affected by the epidemic of The Great Resignation is the tech and healthcare sectors. After the vaccine mandates came into effect, the healthcare workers who were projected as saviors during the pandemic had no other option than to resign from the healthcare sector as vaccine mandates came into effect.

  6. The Feeling of Betrayal

    In countries like India, where most of the workforce comes from rural regions, employees were fired without compensation or travel allowance. This forced the employees to travel on foot to reach home, which was hundreds of kilometers away. During their forced journey back home, an estimated 8000 workers died when they were sleeping on roads and railway tracks out of exhaustion. Most of these deaths remain undocumented and are not entitled to any compensation from even the government.

    Similarly, temporary visa holders who formed the major workforce in many developed countries contributing heavily towards the growth of the economy were excluded from any relief packages provided by the government to get through the pandemic. A sense of betrayal has since prevailed in a vast majority of these employees, which stopped them from obtaining new employment.

What Problem Did Companies Face Due to The Great Resignation?

Running a successful company is not a one-man show. It requires a great idea by the founder and hard work by its employees. The mass exodus of workers forced many businesses to either close or sell out. Those few institutions that are finding workers are being forced to pay high wages. For example, a business had to pay $90/hr to dishwashers in a restaurant in Australia because of a shortage of temporary workers.

What Problems People Might Face Following The Great Resignation?

The Great Resignation has reduced the number of tax-paying citizens and increased the number of grant-taking citizens, thus burdening the already-indebted U.S economy. It is estimated that the loan taken by the U.S government during the pandemic accounts for 35% of the total loan, and this could be the reason for a potentially upcoming financial crisis in the world.

Have you ever questioned how these emerging AI technologies that were developed in the guise of convenience, like driverless cars, delivery drones, or surgical robots, will replace human workers? What about unemployment? What about family needs?

Now, with people resigning of their own free will, the answer looks clear: Companies can easily find a better and cheaper human alternative, a company's ideal worker, the AI employee.

As noted above, The Great Resignation has burdened the healthcare system, along with the supply chain, which has caused shortages of essential commodities and services. All these factors will contribute to a perfect recipe for a fresh disaster if the issue of The Great Resignation is not solved, and the victims of this calamity will be the working class and their families.

What Can Employers Do to Position Themselves As Best As Possible to Attract and Retain Talent?

  • Motivation

    Motivation should be the driving force for a worker that should help them get out of bed on Monday mornings. Sufficient pay, appreciation for hard work, providing incentives, setting practically achievable goals and deadlines go a long way in keeping an employee motivated.

  • Empathy

    Understanding an employee's problems by placing yourself in their circumstances can help an employer better understand their situation and needs. This can create an emotional connection between an employee and the organization.

  • Reducing the Workload and Being Considerate

    Spending quality time with family is an essential requirement in human life. By increasing the workforce in a company, it can lower the workload on an employee, which helps them achieve a healthy work-life balance.

  • Treating the Employee as an Asset and Not a Liability

    An employer should understand that their idea of a successful company was materialized by employees, and hence they are that building block of the company which should be considered as an asset, not a liability.

Conclusion

The Great Resignation should serve as a great awakening for corporations. It showed the world the growing discontent and dissatisfaction among the working class, who were struggling to maintain their work-life balance beforehand. When a company's profits are inversely proportional to an employee's salary, and when employees in a company are treated like a liability instead of assets, then employment will always feel like servitude for an employee. As long as this toxic mindset and working conditions exist in a corporation, it will make an employee realize they are being subjected to conditions causing them to feel trapped, which can lead them to try to break out as soon as they find the perfect opportunity. The pandemic has offered that perfect opportunity for the employee to escape what they viewed as a depreciating cycle, which has made them realize what they had been missing in life, leading to The Great Resignation.

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