Leadership and the “Great Resignation”

Last Updated: Aug 5, 2021 | Executive Coaching, Leadership

As the pandemic recedes and life returns to more familiar routines, something called the “Great Resignation” is trending. Perhaps you’ve heard of it — you may have even seen signs of it at your workplace.

People — by the millions — are leaving their jobs. Some are seeking more money, more responsibility, or more flexibility. Many others are rethinking what work is, or should be.  They are reconsidering their job satisfaction, their personal happiness, the value of their time, and the balance between work, family, and personal pursuits.

Of course, some of this is normal. People want to advance their careers or make lifestyle changes, and during the depths of the pandemic, many people postponed their plans. “But,” as NPR reports, “These are not normal times. The pandemic led to the worst US recession in history, and millions of people are still out of jobs. Yet employers are now complaining about acute labor shortages.”

The Long-Term Impact of the Great Resignation at Your Company

While the big, headline-grabbing employment numbers are likely to fade, the fundamental changes may well persist. Is your company ready?

People have a renewed sense of the value of their time. They want more flexibility in their schedules and in where they live and work. Many are adopting elements of a “YOLO” philosophy — You Only Live Once — that values life experiences, family, friends, and personal development over a work-centric 70-hour per week grind that results in a promotion, and maybe, an annual bonus.

As leaders, we must recognize the long tail of this trend and consider, what type of employees do we want to attract and retain? How are we adapting and making our organizations the type of places that people want to go TO and STAY AT, not leave.

There are many things to consider, including work from home options (and support), mental health and wellness programs, compensation packages — even 4-day work weeks.

Are You Developing Your Company’s Leaders?

With all the buzz about things like letting employees continue to work from home, or mental health benefits, don’t overlook the vital importance of your company’s culture and leadership.

What does your leadership pipeline look like today? If some of your best executives chose to retire, make a career change, or leave for a new opportunity, does your company have new leadership ready in the wings? 

Who are your high-potential employees? Have you identified them? Importantly, what are you doing to let them know you value them? How are you developing and grooming them to help lead the company? For more, read Arden Coaching’s “Leadership and Developing Others.”

Millennials in particular will choose an organization because of their development opportunities — or leave due to the lack of them. And we may still picture Millennials as young adults, but older Millennials are approaching 40 and serve in critical roles in many organizations!

An executive coach will add value to the process of developing and strengthening leadership and communication skills, and will help your organization grow and succeed. Companies thrive when leaders are intentionally developed and everyone is singing from the same sheet of music. For example, when groups of people — such as high-potential employees or recent management hires — join in coaching to improve both their individual leadership skills and, as a group, learn to work from the same songbook, your company will be poised for long-term success.

This approach — at Arden, it’s called the Leadership Academy — brings together one-on-one executive coaching with group work. To read more about the program, see “Executive Coaching in a group Setting Achieves Big Results.” It is also proving to be effective when delivered virtually. Whether you are building leadership scattered across the globe, or developing the leadership skills of people who used to work together in the same building every day, remote coaching serves leaders and employees well. For more, read “Leadership Development for a Remote Organization.”

Get Ahead of the Curve

The Great Resignation goes far beyond the headlines of short-staffed restaurants trying to reopen. Take the initiative NOW to develop your potential and emerging leaders, and create a company that attracts great people.

To learn more about executive coaching, developing emerging leaders, and the Arden Leadership Academy, contact us at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.

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