The Great Attrition

The Great Resignation or Great Attraction?

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Changing the Great Attrition to the Great Attraction

The “Great Attrition” or resignation has been a massive blow to a lot of companies. Since April 2021 a shocking amount, more than 19 million, of US workers have quit their jobs. The result has been disruptions across all industries.  Why is this happening, and what can a business owner do to keep good employees? Many well-intentioned managers are throwing money at the problem and not seeing any results.

It is important to understand the problem before trying to solve it.   Some of the numbers can be explained as pent-up resignations.  Now that there is more certainty in the economy, people are ready to make changes. For the remainder, there is no denying that high workloads, hiring freezes and other pressures from the pandemic have caused burnout. People are rethinking their life and career goals. This has been particularly true in healthcare and technology.

Many of the resignations are coming from mid-level and mid-career workers. Dependable and loyal employees who put in extra effort these last few years have been rewarded with a standard 2-3% cost of living increase, and for the really productive people, a greater workload. Meanwhile, they see executives receiving bonuses based on the work done by the front line. These employees are sensing greater opportunities and pay and are actively seeking out better options. The demand for workers far exceeds the supply, giving job seekers quite an advantage.

Changing the Trend

The workforce and the workplace have changed. Compensation and benefits will always be factors in employment decisions, but there is more than money on the employee’s list of wants. Flexible scheduling, the option of remote work, and collaborative environments are no longer pandemic-era options. They are permanent considerations for jobseekers. Still not sure what your employees need from you? Ask.

In a nutshell, every employee at every level wants to work where they feel they belong with their coworkers, do work they feel good about, and be paid a fair, living wage.

Employees are looking for a sense of purpose in what they do.  The employee wants to know that they bring value to the world, that their role has an impact.  They are searching for meaningful interactions and want to see that their customers, managers, and their organization appreciate their efforts.

Employers need to value the physical and mental health of their employees as much as the employees do. Investments in training and development should be a necessity, not a luxury. Knowing there are or are not opportunities for growth and advancement is a key factor for employees who are eyeing the door.

There is a very powerful, yet underutilized phrase in the English language – “Thank you.” Showing appreciation and recognition are simple, effective ways to demonstrate that you truly see and value the efforts of your employees. Practice saying it now, “Thank you!”  Another one to try is “Great job!” Appreciation and recognition should come from all levels of the organization, at all times.  Employers who wait for the year-end awards banquet may be speaking to an empty room.

Take Action

Employers have an opportunity to transform the way employees are treated and become an employer of choice.  Organizations that make a concerted effort to understand the human needs of their employees, who act with empathy are in the best position to capture great people fleeing from other employers.  This requires digging into the wants and needs of your employees.  Armed with this understanding, and in concert with your employees, leaders can then create a culture that is attractive to top candidates and employees.  Yes, pay and benefits will always be key factors.  A culture of value, well-being and collaboration are equally important elements to add for the employer who wants to attract and retain great employees.

Ready to get started? Contact me to set up a free, anonymous Employee Engagement Survey at

Author: Sandy Merritt, Business Coach in Louisville, KY


The Great Resignation or Great Attraction?