READ: The Great Resignation in the UK – how can you stop your best employees from leaving?

The pressure is mounting! Leaders are busy dealing with massive economic uncertainty, managers are stretched due to lack of staff, and people are putting in longer hours. For many this is creating a toxic workplace culture and a perfect storm which means that people are deciding to vote with their feet.

If you are asking “What is the Great Resignation?” or “What is causing the Great Resignation?” or “What can I do about the Great Resignation?”, here are some useful statistics that quantify the problem.

A survey of 6,000 workers by Randstad UK in November 2021 found that 24% were planning to move jobs in the next few months. That is more than double the percentage normally expected to move jobs every year.

The financial implications of this movement for businesses are quite severe. According to the CIPD it can cost £7,000 – £15,000 to replace a team member and as much as a year’s salary for a manager or leader, due to the impact on team and business performance.

So, what are the factors driving this ‘Great Resignation’?

Identifying the root causes – a shock to the system

The sudden impact of the pandemic and the enforced lockdowns were a massive shock to the system. The UK Office of National Statistics reports a doubling of stress and anxiety as a result. The experience of being locked down, remote working and home schooling has made many people reconsider the way they work and live. The substantial increase in deaths in 2020 (the deadliest year since 1918 at the height of the Spanish Flu pandemic) meant that many people were affected by bereavement. This has prompted many to reconsider what is most important in their lives, creating what is also being referred to as ‘The Great Reprioritisation’.

Fatigue and the need for empathy

Leaders, managers and people are all feeling fatigued by the relentless pressure of the pandemic and its aftermath. Research shows that fatigue reduces performance and feelings of inclusion, and it leads to people leaving. Fatigue also leads to lack of empathy. According to a study by Businessolver, only one in four people felt that their employer or manager was sufficiently empathic.  This is a major issue because 87% of younger people and 76% of older workers say they will leave if their employer is not empathic enough.

It’s becoming more personal

By 2025 Millennials and Gen Z will be 64% of the working population. They are very focused on personal growth and career development. According to recent research by the CIPD, feeling valued and access to personalised learning opportunities are more important to employees than salary, and the 2020 LinkedIn Workplace Survey confirms that over 75% of all age groups are now expecting personalised learning.  And they will consider leaving if they don’t get it.

The result is a severe labour shortage, with managers struggling to find good people to replace those leaving, or to support business growth.

The cost of the vicious cycle of recruitment

Managers are frustrated with the amount of time they are spending sifting through CVs and arranging interviews – often with high numbers of ‘no-shows’. Sadly, many managers are not very skilled at interviewing and selection. They do their best, while stressed by the pressures of mounting work as they lose time to the recruitment process. Ironically, this stress increases the risk of unconscious biases coming into play, resulting in poor recruitment decisions.

So, the wrong people are hired, and then everyone is too busy to make sure onboarding and probation are effective. New team members consequently feel that they are not valued, getting engagement and motivation off to a wobbly start. After a huge investment of time and money, the highly-prized new recruits are set up to fail from the outset, and may decide to move on again.

There are several serious implications from the issues mentioned above. If businesses don’t address the expectations of their people, they will vote with their feet. This has severe consequences with regard to productivity, customer service, and continuous improvement, due to the stress on the managers and people left behind.  In many businesses it is creating a vicious cycle because people are losing faith in their manager’s ability to change the situation. The costs of replacing people also dent profits, putting more pressure on resources.

Is your business struggling to retain top talent? Your managers are your secret weapon

Managers frantically recruiting replacements is like pointing a hosepipe at a leaky bucket. If we can work to reduce the leaks, then we need to pour far less management time and resource into costly recruitment.

If people want to feel valued, and to know that their employer is committed to supporting their individual career aspirations and development goals, why not focus on these factors in a concerted effort to shore up the leaky bucket? A manager investing their time in having a well-timed, meaningful and personal conversation has potentially much higher returns than allowing that person to feel under-valued, disengaged, so that they look elsewhere to meet their needs, creating another vacancy to fill.

The high number of people moving jobs is evidence that managers aren’t routinely having these meaningful and purposeful conversations with their people. This is often because they don’t know they should, and they don’t know how to go about it. They don’t know the type of questions to ask, and many managers are not very good at listening to responses in a way that builds trust, engagement and excitement about working in the organisation. Finally, they don’t know how to make the engagement conversation one of mutual benefit and mutual responsibility.

The highly challenging post-pandemic context is sapping people’s motivation, and this matters. It matters because when our motivation is low our engagement falters and we don’t give our best, undermining performance.

We believe the key to breaking the vicious cycle is in equipping and empowering managers to have powerful conversations, so they become your secret weapon to neutralise the dangers of losing good people.

That is where the unique approach developed by Talent4Performance (T4P) comes into play.

Motivation matters for managers

This innovative programme equips and empowers managers to have powerful conversations. It highlights the importance of the relationship between manager and team member and how motivation, engagement and retention can be improved with the  5 C’s of Post Pandemic Management:

It provides practical tools managers can use right away, including a structured approach for having powerful conversations with their people, to unlock their motivation and engagement.

Exploring tensions and paradoxes

The programme explores four key paradoxical tensions that exist when engaging team members. A behavioural paradox has two opposing or contradictory traits that are in fact complimentary, and synergistic. The four paradoxes are:

  • Equity Mindset – being both assertive and helpful – for mutual benefit
  • Respectful Candour – being both frank and diplomatic to communicate a concise message that is mindful of its impact on others
  • Insightful Curiosity – being confident in one’s opinions while being open to the opinions of others
  • Coaching Mindset – being warm and empathic while supporting accountability.

Personalised learning in a group setting

The programme includes a highly insightful report for each manager, showing their personal strengths and blindspots. All managers will receive personalised independent learning modules to address any paradoxical imbalances. These elements combine to create a highly personalised learning experience, whilst retaining all the added benefits and reduced costs of group training.

The personalised approach is highly effective in motivating managers to shift their mindsets, habits and behaviours and yet it is very cost effective because it can be delivered for cohorts of up to 20 participants.

T4P Academy

The programme is delivered through the T4P Academy, our online learning management platform. This approach incorporates a variety of learning resources and activities, addressing different learning styles and supporting hybrid working arrangements.

The Academy provides independent learning before, during and after the live modules, including those specifically selected to address personal learning needs. Live modules can be delivered online or onsite.

Small improvements, big rewards

At Talent4Performance we value creating clarity, inspiring people and driving performance. We believe that improved performance is the acid test of any learning interventions, so we are committed to delivering a return on investment from our programmes.

‘The Great Resignation’ is clearly a critical business issue having the potential to significantly increase the costs associated with employee turnover. A very small improvement in employee retention can pay massive dividends. When people stay longer in your organisation and grow with it you can save tens of thousands of pounds.

For more information on how to protect your business from unnecessary costs by empowering your managers to motivate, engage and retain your people, please click on the link below:

Motivation Matters for Managers Programme



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David Klaasen


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Talent4Performance help business leaders clarify complexity. We inspire people and drive continuous performance improvement, so they can convert thinking into action and results.


©David Klaasen – 2022