Are U.K. Businesses About to Experience the “Great Resignation”?

Following a recent study, which found almost one in four employees in the UK are considering quitting their job (38 per cent of those surveyed), one leading behavioural scientist says UK business need to be prepared for the great resignation.

Lindsay Kohler, Lead Behavioral Scientist at employee engagement consultancy, scarlettabbott, says many people are reevaluating what they want in life following the pandemic, which is ultimately leading to them questioning their job. She explains;

“The pandemic separated us all from many of the things we love in life –  travel, friends, family, all those things that may mask any dissatisfaction we feel with our work. Collectively, people in the UK and all over the world have gone through and are still going through what is ultimately a traumatic experience – and that has flicked a switch in our minds to think about where we are and what we are doing in life, what do we want from it?

“The behavioural elements at play here are like a sense of loss. In general, there’s a feeling that people have lost a year of their life, which leads them to thinking, there’s got to be something more or I want something more.

“There’s been so much uncertainty during the last 18 months and people have felt somewhat out of control of what’s going on around them. So where can they exert control? One thing I can control is my job and how I make money. I think this is why many people will see their job as the first place to reevaluate and make a change.”

For UK businesses, recovery is key to growing out of the pandemic, yet plans could be hampered if key talent decides to look elsewhere. Lindsay says she is already working closely with businesses to ensure they double down on purpose to help encourage people to progress their career where they are. Lindsay continues;

“Purpose led organisations will have a retention advantage over those that don’t. If employees are brought into the collective purpose of the business they are much more likely to be loyal and happy. Of course there are many factors that can influence when someone is thinking about finding a new opportunity, but it’s not just about pay rises and perks.

“Business leaders need to figure out how they can connect an employee’s individual drivers and values with those of the business – it’s about a sense of fulfillment and many people in the UK don’t feel fulfilled at work, whether that’s down to a lack of appreciation, poor management, a disconnect with the culture or a mix of all these things. People want to be passionate about their work.

“I also think the impact of the pandemic on the way we work is playing its part. Those employers who don’t offer flexible working or allow their teams to work how they work best going forward, may find it hard to retain top talent.

“Businesses need to carefully consider their people strategies moving forward, including what they and their people want their culture to be, how their culture will work in a hybrid working world and how teams connect with it. The businesses who get that right, are less likely to be affected by the great resignation.”

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