The Great Resignation was coined by Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at May Business School at Texas A&M University. According to Klotz the past 18 months have changed how people think about life, work, and what they want out of both.

Industry commentators have added that the pandemic is more than just a pause before returning to normal, but a complete reset of what constitutes work, workers, and the workplace on a global scale.

During September 2021, LinkedIn tracked the percentage of members worldwide with recent job changes on their profiles. With a 54% year-to-year increase, LinkedIn CEO, Ryan Roslansky commented on the Great Reshuffle, noting that job increases by generation showed that younger employees were leading the way out.

After passing the milestone of a year in lockdown, more than half (59%) of employees admitted that they will start looking for a new job if their work values are not accommodated by their employer, according to new research from MetLife UK. The MetLife’s Re:Me report also found that well over half of employees are considering leaving their current role in the next 18 months.

Key findings in the MetLife’s Re:Me report include:

While pay continues to rank most important, employees’ values, priorities and basic needs have evolved. As such, employers are now required to take a much more hands-on approach to support employee wellbeing.

So why has this Great Resignation occurred?

Resignation rates were higher among employees who worked in fields that had experienced extreme increases in demand due to the pandemic, leading to increased workloads and burnout.

And what are the risks and challenges?

This Great Resignation also comes with major organizational risks, including cyber and corporate security, reputational, and increasing demands on corporate governance. Now is the time for business leaders to re-assess their risk profile and invest in internal frameworks to identify, measure, and respond to these risks.

Loss of skills

When employees leave an organisation there is often a loss of key skills and resources. The remaining teams often find themselves without the necessary resources, which negatively impact quality of work, timelines, and ultimately bottom-line revenue.

Loss of data

There is also a substantial increase in the loss of data as many employees take this with them as they leave

A Tessian Survey found that the Great Resignation was increasing security risks. It revealed that 40% U.S. and 29 U.K. employees admitted to having taken data with them when they resigned.

Studies have shown that 70% of employees can still access some level of company resources in the days, weeks, and months after their termination, because there is not a solid process in place for deprovisioning unnecessary user access when employees leave an organisation.

Cybersecurity

In rushed, burned-out states-of-mind, people are less likely to ask questions or thoroughly investigate the legitimacy of phishing e-mails or other attacks.

Overworked staff may try their best to gain efficiencies, which often results in circumventing secure process controls.

In addition, employees working from home pose a significant cyber risk, such as when they leave their computers unattended, store sensitive data on personal devices, or neglect to secure a workspace that is shared with others.

Finding new talent

Given the shortage of talent, getting a new hire to sign on board as quickly as possible is often the priority. However, attempting to expedite the hiring process can be very risky—especially if you are sacrificing security or quality for speed.

As employees are onboarded, they may be rushed through the process, not allowing time for review of corporate policies, and corporate awareness training—causing significant risks to an organisation.

Those that are hiring teams may be tempted to cut corners on conducting proper due diligence on potential candidates to gain a competitive edge or hire someone who can start work immediately. Assessments of education, technical competencies, practical experience, and even cultural fit are suspended as teams are desperate to fill vacancies.

Hiring the wrong candidate causes significant risk to the business including poor productivity, poor customer service and toxic behaviuor towards other employees.

Employee fraud and misconduct

Employees who engage in misconduct, including fraud, are typically repeat offenders. By conducting proper due diligence, you can avoid hiring an employee who has committed inappropriate acts or fraud at a previous employer and prevent them from doing it again to your business.

Employee management

Businesses should always follow strict onboarding and offboarding as employees join and leave a company to ensure access is only given if needed and revoked immediately as employees leave.

Retention

Once you have identified the scope of your retention problem, it is time to conduct a detailed data analysis to determine what is really causing your staff to leave. Ask yourself which factors could be driving higher resignation rates?

Exploring metrics such as compensation, time between promotions, size of pay increases, tenure, performance, and training opportunities can help to identify trends and blind spots within an organisation. You can also segment employees by categories such as location, function, and other demographics to better understand how they work

Adopting a retention strategy is not easy, but it is worth the effort to do it right, especially in the current market.

After implementing a targeted retention campaign based on a detailed analysis of key metrics, the trucking company I worked with saw a 10% reduction in driver resignations, even in the face of fierce competition from other employers. With greater visibility into both how serious your turnover problem really is, and the root causes that drive it, you will be empowered to attract top talent, reduce turnover costs, and ultimately build a more engaged and effective workforce.

There is also a tremendous opportunity offered in terms of the Great Realignment for employers to understand and adjust and realign expectations with employees. The changes businesses are making to attract and retain their workforce are innovative and exciting.