Employees Are Quitting And It’s Not Always About Pay

Employees Are Quitting And It’s Not Always About Pay

Jan 06, 2022

#thegreatresignation, we all have heard this term or seen this hashtag on LinkedIn posts. The phrase, the Great Resignation, went viral after a news article with a professor from Texas A&M, Anthony Klotz, predicted that employees would quit their jobs in droves because they were dissatisfied with work based on a myriad of reasons. 


And his prediction came true.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics- 4.3 Million workers quit their jobs in August (more than at the beginning of the pandemic in December 2020). So, Klotz's phrase did become a reality. Employees are quitting, but surprisingly, pay was not the top reason why people are leaving their jobs. 


In this article, I share data from working professionals on why people are quitting their jobs and how companies can turn this saying around from the Great Resignation to the Great Re-Imagination of what work life could be for their employees to stay and thrive in the workplace. 


Let's start with the data. Why are employees quitting? 


Why Are Employees Quitting? 


A 2021 Q4 poll by CareerArc/Harris Poll Study asks over 2000 working professionals why they plan to resign from their current workplace. The #1 reason was better working conditions, followed by burnout and then better pay. 


And in a survey conducted by HubSpot, they asked 500 professionals what the leading causes for turnover in their companies were, and pay wasn't even mentioned in the survey. The responses ranked in this order: 


  • Lack of work-life balance
  • Lack of flexible work schedule
  • Lack of remote work options
  • Career change/ pursuing passion projects
  • Lack of career opportunities or growth
  • Employee burnout


In reviewing several surveys across the board, the common theme for why people are leaving their jobs is that employers are not meeting the employee's current needs at work to perform at their best, causing them to question their next move.


Which Employees are Quitting? 


Before the pandemic, the age group with the highest quitting rate was usually younger, early-career professionals at 20-25. But according to a 2021 Viser research report, mid-career professionals (40-45 years old) saw a significant spike of resignations at a 38% increase in 2021 vs. 2020, and professionals with 5-10 tenure had close to a 57% increase of resignation. And in the same poll, women especially are resigning at a higher rate than men at 55% vs. men at 45%.

And as previously mentioned, early career professionals typically had a higher rate of resignation pre-pandemic, but now post-pandemic, they are at a higher risk of quitting due to the lack of networking opportunities in the virtual workplace. 


Without any in-person interactions in the breakroom or hallways, Gen Z finds it more challenging to survive in the workplace. According to the latest survey from Microsoft, their report revealed 60% of Gen Z employees out of the 32,000 in total employees were merely surviving or flat out struggling.   


So, we can safely assume employees across the board are questioning the workplace and where they stand with their companies post-pandemic. If employees are reimagining the work, maybe it's time for companies to start reimagining the employee experience.  


What is Employee Experience? 


Employee experience (EX) starts from when they apply for a role to when they have their exit interview. There are vital touchpoints with how the employee learns, feels, and interacts with the company at every stage. These moments make up their experience as employees representing the company and its brand. 


An employee's positive or negative experience will ultimately translate into how they work, collaborate, and show up for the company in their performance.

A company has an opportunity to retain talent if they can master the employee experience by identifying each stage, listening to what is essential and important to the employee, and taking action to make them feel supported. 


A 2020 Mckinsey EX report found that a positive employee experience has 16x the engagement level than employees with a negative experience and are eight times more likely to want to stay with the company.


What Are The Key Employee Experiences? 


There are vital touchpoints that an employee has with a company during their time. Here is a general breakdown of these moments: 


  • Recruitment/ Hiring 
  • Onboarding  
  • Understanding the role
  • Building skills
  • Being recognized
  • Personal life growth
  • Making transitions internally 
  • Exit transition 


Every touchpoint is an opportunity for the company to make the employee feel supported, seen, and heard for a successful employee experience.


Looking Inward- What is Your Employee Experience? 


Companies can go to great lengths to learn, identify, and invest in customers' experiences. Understanding the customer's buying journey with the brand, product, or service has become a vital business practice. It can significantly impact sales. 


And on the flip side, internally, to retain talent and sustain a more robust workforce, companies will need to adopt the same type of focus and investment in their employee's experience. To achieve an excellent customer experience, companies will need help from the employees to build trust, create loyalty and deliver customer satisfaction. 


And the only way to ensure the customer's experience is safeguarded is by looking inward at their employee's experience and journey.


  • Identify each key touchpoint at every stage of an employee's journey
  • Customize the journey by segmenting employees (by department, professional, and management levels)
  • Recognize the working conditions both at the office and home 
  • Conduct a survey to gather information 


The Final Takeaway- Employees are Quitting


The Great Resignation isn't just about people quitting their jobs. They are quitting work altogether that doesn't meet the essential needs of their daily lives post-pandemic. People want more out of work and an experience that makes them feel supported, heard, and seen. 


Does your company create an experience that makes an employee want to stay? 


Want to learn how to provide the tools and resources your employee needs to build an impactful personal brand within your organization. Learn more about our services.  

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