Why you shouldn’t be resigned to the Great Resignation

Speak First Avatar

29 September 2022
Written by Speak First Linked-in icon

Young businessman leaves a meeting while other people stay in office

This article is from our new series 'One small step for Management: The L&D guide to the giant leap in employee expectations.' We've been publishing  all the articles but if you don't want wait, you can read them all right now by downloading our brand new eBook.

The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly reshaped the landscape for workers and organisations alike. One of the aftereffects is a huge wave of people leaving (or planning to leave) their jobs, with employers scrambling to plug the gaps they’ve left, and to question why they’re suddenly haemorrhaging staff and what they can do about it.

In the UK, 20% of workers say they’re likely to quit their job by mid-2023.1 In America, up to 44% are estimated to be actively looking for new jobs.2 In fact, up to a fifth of the entire global workforce may be quitting their jobs by the end of 2022.3

This Great Resignation is a major issue which needs to see immediate action from organisations if they don’t want to keep losing more and more people.


Why are people leaving?

Before you can work out how to make them stay, you have to understand why people are leaving in such high numbers. In a survey by the CIPD, the main reason people gave for quitting their job was for higher pay and benefits. Beyond that, over a quarter (27%) want higher job satisfaction and 24% want a better work-life balance.4

Additionally, as the next generation enters the workforce, they’re coming with their own requirements and standards. Generation Z have grown up as true digital natives, so they have higher expectations for workplace technology. In a recent study, 70% of workers between 21-24 years old said they’d consider leaving a company due to outdated or difficult to use technology – particularly if it’s too slow, too old or lacks appropriate tools for the job. This is especially concerning when 66% of them say they have better tech at home than in their office.5

This may sound farcical to some, but when many of them had their first jobs working from home, using their own technology, it’s unsurprising that poor technology can be so off putting. Organisations which assume hardware, software, and even processes are acceptable simply because it’s been good enough for years are going to lose a lot of young talent.

And on the topic of working from home, there are strong opinions on all sides of the debate. Recently, Elon Musk wrote to all Tesla employees announcing an end to remote working, declaring: “If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.”6 This is despite 77% of workers saying they don’t want to return to the office full time (with 93% citing the time and cost of commuting as their main reason).7

Considering 49% of Americans would be likely to look for a new job if their preferred work setup wasn’t available, Elon Musk might have to be prepared to lose a lot of people.8


How L&D supports retention and selection

Over the last few years, we’ve written extensively about L&D’s role in employee retention. One of the latest pieces of data says that employees view ‘opportunities to learn and grow’ as the top indicator of a positive workplace culture.9 In other words, the more access people have to high-quality L&D opportunities, the more likely people are to stay at an organisation.

We’ve already explored how people want their employers to take a holistic view of their staff, and to feel part of a community. Through L&D, you can turn your relationship with your teams into a two-way partnership.

The basic model of employment is very transactional – an organisation pays their employees a salary for their time and service. Pay is important, and a large factor in which jobs people want to accept, but it rarely makes one company stand apart from another. When organisations offer their people genuinely useful and interesting opportunities to learn new skills and develop themselves, it shows a level of care and interest in the person, not just the employee.

Workplace learning is also going to be important after you’ve filled the gaps left by resigning employees. With such an influx of new talent, you’re going to want to get everyone up to speed quickly. L&D sessions can level up your new starters, as well as explaining your company culture, values and vision. This gets everyone on the same page, understanding how your organisation functions, and immediately starts them on a path to further development.


No matter if you’re currently experiencing mass resignations, or you’re afraid of the prospect, knowing how to retain staff is absolutely essential. It’s important to show your teams that you care about them as people, listening to their thoughts on the future of the work, and to provide them with opportunities to grow their skills. Beyond this, L&D can quickly develop your newly hired replacements, to keep your organisation running smoothly.


For more information about the future of work and employee expectations, download the full eBook.


1 CIPD (2022) CIPD good work index 2022

2 WTW (2022) Majority of U.S. employees are open to leaving their employers, WTW survey finds

3 World Economic Forum (2022) The Great Resignation is not over: A fifth of workers plan to quit in 2022

4 CIPD (2022) CIPD good work index 2022

5 CCR Magazine (2022) Generation ReZignation: Woeful technology forces dissatisfied Gen Z to quit jobs

6 Business Insider (2022) Read the email Elon Musk sent to Tesla employees about returning to the office before saying headcount will increase

7 Forbes (2022) 26% of surveyed employees don't plan to work on-sight again; most still prefer hybrid arrangements

8 Eden Workplace (2022) How hybrid work will help you attract talent in 2022

9 LinkedIn Learning (2022) 2022 workplace learning report