The Great Resignation

6 reasons behind the Great Resignation

The Great Resignation is a process occurring on a large scale in the U.S. labor market for the past year or so. We could define it as the resignation of many people from their jobs, often without alternative employment, driven by job dissatisfaction and the desire to experience their professional project more healthily and enjoyably. In a report by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, research shows that 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021.

Do you see yourself doing something like this in your current job situation? Let’s take look at why or why not you would resign from your current position, even without a replacement position, because you believe this is no way to work and it is something you may want to do.

What is behind the Great Resignation?

Undoubtedly – and imitative or impulsive mechanisms aside – there is a whole complex set of needs, motivations, and aspirations that we develop throughout our professional careers and explain collective decisions of this type. At a certain point, all of this can lead us to utter that often dreamed-of “See ya”. 

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Whether we are comfortable in our current company or considering joining on the Great Resignation, it is interesting to ask ourselves this question: what motivates us to stay in a job? The answer can be found in what we have just said: what motivates us is whether the job satisfies different needs.

The Great Resignation

As Maslow’s pyramid famously shows, these may have to do with a particular hierarchy ranging from the most basic and concrete (paying the bills) to the most abstract and subtle (feeling fulfilled and cared for by our work)

However, it is never a good idea to assume what needs are essential for each employee at a given point in their life cycle as a worker. Not everyone will go down the predictable path of prioritizing money over time or prioritizing free time over self-fulfillment. What drives people (the satisfaction of different needs reflected in the values that will influence their decisions) varies significantly from one person to another.

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Personal motivations for switching jobs

1. Money

Sometimes we are very idealistic – or reasonably demanding – about our personal satisfaction with our work, our perceived sense of fulfillment, or the desire to have more time to spend on what really motivates us. 

However, we all have expenses, sometimes too many, and we need a certain amount of income to meet them. That amount should be proportional to our responsibilities and achievements at work, if possible. 

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No matter how much times change, the salary factor will always be our first motivation before considering supporting phenomena such as the Great Resignation. 

2. Having free time

Although we often forget, time is one of the most valuable resources people have (along with money, relationships, and, of course, physical and psychological health). 

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We need and want quality time to dedicate it to those activities outside of work that satisfy us, fulfill us, or help us to transit better between one workday and the next. 

As a result, many people feel that working excessive hours is a burden and greatly value jobs that are less demanding in terms of the amount of time they require to be performed. 

3. Flexible schedules

Sometimes people can be okay with the number of hours we have to work, even within a full working day, but we need greater flexibility and freedom to distribute them on a schedule that suits us, not just the company. This can have a significant impact on the psychological well-being of employees as it allows them to balance their work with other aspects of their lives, reducing stress and the feeling of being tyrannized by a rigid schedule. This is supports many examples of people joining the Great Resignation trend.

4. Autonomy

Some people, for different reasons, find it incredibly motivating to work without a high degree of supervision or networking with other colleagues. This can be burdensome for them, and they find that their performance improves when they are on their own rather than having to report too much on what they are doing or being dependent on others’ performance. 

5. Professional development

Many people give great importance to their professional development in the form of improvement in terms of tasks and rank, level of responsibility and influence, salary, and professional prestige. The perception of working for a company in which they have reached a ceiling or that does not allow them to acquire the skills to move up in their profession progressively is experienced as one of the most influential factors when considering leaving their job and migrating to other companies where they have more room for development. 

6. Professional fulfillment

Along with the perception that working conditions undermine their health, the absence of professional fulfillment is behind many decisions by people who have joined the Great Resignation. 

Some are motivated by money, and others want more time, some relentlessly pursue their way up the career ladder, and, of course, those who greatly value (sometimes above all else) the chance to work on something meaningful and exciting. Employees want projects aligned with the values that shape them as employees and – and above all – as a person. 

Not all jobs provide this experience to their employees, and many of them, if they have room for maneuver to do so, resign from their positions –sometimes with critical economic implications– in search of satisfying their need for personal fulfillment. 

Other issues that can spare you from the Great Resignation

In addition to the strictly individual aspects that we have just discussed, such as salary or personal fulfillment, some factors influence our commitment to the company we belong to, for better or worse. That has more to do with the corporate culture and the work methodology followed in the company. 

It is clear that if there are essential aspects of the company that fail, and the person has alternatives, it will be difficult to avoid joining the Great Resignation. However, assuming that no job is perfect and leaving the one you have without having an alternative at hand is quite scary.

Factors supported by the company can dissuade its employees from leaving and, therefore, should be taken into account by the HR department. We refer to enjoying a pleasant working environment, having the ability to establish good relationships, making contact with colleagues from whom it is possible to learn, and, above all, having a social benefits program that promotes psychological well-being. This is the only way for the employee to discard the idea of the Great Resignation in exchange for an uncertain future. 

The Great Resignation

Emotional well-being program for companies

At ifeel, we know that work should not disrupt people’s well-being. Our team of psychologists, experts in well-being at work, has created an emotional well-being program for companies that positively impacts talent retention, reduces absenteeism, and combats employee stress. 

In our Resources section, you will find helpful material, such as podcasts, HR guides, or interviews with HR managers. In addition, we have a Psychosocial Risk Factors Template, which you can use to comply with the requirements of the Labor Inspection.  

Thanks to our emotional well-being program, your company’s HR managers can receive personalized, data-driven advice on improving the psychological well-being of their teams. In addition, this program offers employees a 360° mental health care service structured at different levels according to their needs. Try our program today to see how it could help you.

We hope you found this post about the Great Resignation interesting. If you would like more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, request it, and we will contact your team as soon as possible.

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