great resignation

In 2021, American businesses were struck by a phenomena that no CEO or human resources director could have seen coming. Historically, whenever economies have been hit by recession, employee turnover has dropped as workers hunkered down and rode out the storm. However, as the crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic rolled on, something entirely new began to happen. Despite great turbulence and insecurity, employees started to quit in droves. Economists dubbed it the “Great Resignation”, and it’s not over yet—so what can employers do to avoid the costs that come with empty desks and deserted office spaces, and how can corporate investigations help?

What Happens When You Lose Your Workforce

Savvy employers know that high turnover rates represent a substantial financial burden for any business or organization. To put a crystallizing figure on this potentially catastrophic drain on resources, research from Employee Benefits News placed the cost of a lost employee at roughly a third of their annual salary. But behind the facade of this issue, there is yet more to consider.

According to a study from Adobe, this workplace exodus—or “Big Quit”, to use one of the media’s other favorite descriptors—appears to be being driven by Gen Z and Millennial workers who are feeling dissatisfied at work. Alarmingly, more than half of the Gen Z-ers that were surveyed reported planning to seek a new job within the next year.

But, business owners and human resource directors alike should know that dissatisfied employees open a floodgate of risk to other potential pitfalls, such as workplace theft, corporate fraud, malingering, FMLA abuse, and more. At this juncture, rather than waiting until workplace investigations are coming thick and fast, there’s a lot to be said for taking proactive action, and getting ahead of the Great Resignation-curve.

What’s Going On Behind the Big Quit-Curtain

To the eyes of any statistician, the Great Resignation is paradoxical. Normally, quit-rates climb when the economy is going strong and better prospects are abundant. But as the pandemic stubbornly sticks around, labor shortages and high unemployment should point to an opposite effect. So, what’s behind this sudden confidence in giving notice en masse?

Time spent under lockdown allowed the workforces’ brightest talent to weigh up what they truly want from life. Working from home and the more-flexible schedule that this afforded made employees see their careers through a fresh lens, while hesitance from the American government to provide worker protections, compounded by a rising cost of living and stagnated wages triggered a strike-like mentality—as dubbed “tang ping” in China, and seen around the world.

How Employers Can Break the Pattern

If dissatisfaction is the disease, then making new strides in employee satisfaction is the salve. Manifesting this means understanding your team’s inner workings—and that begins with eliminating damaging elements within your workforce, assessing corporate culture, and launching initiatives that will transform your business into one that attracts those aspiring to something greater in the post-Covid world, rather than one that employees might hope to leave behind.

If a few bad actors are drawing down morale within your team, turning to trusted investigators to undertake swift and effective corporate investigations will certainly help in turning the tide. However, if there is any doubt as to the retention capacity of your workforce, the place to start is undoubtedly a Corporate Culture Audit. This comprehensive assessment will identify the current standing of employee morale, the many facets that could be undermining work-ethic, and all that may be setting the stage for employee losses tomorrow.

Leadership can stave off the effects of the Great Resignation by investing in their corporate culture via audits and investigations as appropriate. Expert corporate investigators from Lauth Investigations will not only deliver an in-depth assessment of the current corporate culture, but also a clear and detailed plan on how to correct any weak-points, build profitable momentum, and foster the kind of culture that draws, rather than repels, the great innovators that you’ll be counting on tomorrow. Learn more about our broad-spectrum Corporate Investigations offering, as well as our renowned Corporate Culture Audit program—or contact our team today to discuss your unique needs in greater depth.