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These departures affect your team AND your clients. Here’s why, here’s how.

You may have seen, read or heard about the “great resignation”, the movement where large numbers of workers leave their jobs in what appears to be a coordinated trend? Last July in the U.S., a record of 4 million Americans left their employers, while resignations have remained abnormally high in recent months.

What’s amazing – and unique – is that for the first time, people leave their jobs without necessarily having found another one. This is very interesting because humans are seeking security above all. So leaving without a safety net is a pretty unique phenomenon – especially in a mass movement like this.

  • What motivates people to leave their jobs in such large numbers?
  • What can you do as the leader to ensure that your team members do not leave?

Let’s start with the context…

The pandemic challenged our values and life priorities – we have never seen so many births, divorces, home purchases/sales, moves in such a short period of time in history. The pandemic, and especially the lockdown, caused people to introspect and while they were alone with themselves, they revisited their personal and professional lives.

The basis for this introspection and “great resignation” is not a lack of time or schedule flexibility, it is a lack of meaning.

  • Why am I in this job?
  • What am I contributing to?
  • Am I valued in this organization or in this job? Am I growing, am I evolving?
  • Am I making a difference?
  • Life is short, am I really fulfilled in my work?

These are examples of questions that people are asking themselves, and that they asked themselves during the pandemic. And now, as they gradually leave the pandemic situation, they take action.

They leave their jobs for lack of meaning. Not for money, not for telecommuting, not for (insert other excuses/reasons here)… but for lack of meaning.

Now, as the leader, what can you do?

Often, too often, I meet with teams and they do not really know why “we do what we do”. Business missions are about “bringing peace of mind to our clients” or “financial freedom” or “making more money” but what does that really mean?

The mission, the message that you carry is so much deeper than that…

It’s up to you, as the leader, to shed the light on that mission, communicate it clearly, and continuously, to your team.

Contributing is a visceral need in humans, our role the leaders is to let them know what they are contributing to and that their role is important in making a difference in the lives of the people with whom we live daily (and again… it’s much, much bigger than “financial security” or whatever expertise you use as the vehicle to deliver that mission).

You’d be surprised how much more people are willing to give of themselves when they know what they are contributing to, when they know they are making a difference and that they really matter.

Our role the leaders is twofold: direction and protection.

Direction: where are we going with this business, who are we helping, why and how are we making a difference.

Protection: do employees have space and freedom to be autonomous and creative – without negative consequences.

The pandemic has changed our lives and the quest for meaning is transforming our daily realities.

Do you want to retain your employees? Do you want to build a fully engaged team? Here’s how:

  1. Clarify the difference you want to make
    (working with a coach is essential – since we’re all stuck in our reality, our beliefs, our blind spots).
  2. Share your message with your team.
  3. Let them bring their contributions.

More than ever, people are looking for meaning, it’s visceral, and it’s human. If the members of your team do not find this meaning in your team, they will look for it elsewhere… that’s the “great resignation”.

When you gather an army – no matter how big or small – around a common mission, that’s when you realize that… …


It’s always great pleasure that I read your comments, you can always get to me here and stay in touch via the following media : LinkedInTwitterFacebook, YouTube and now Instagram.

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