The 'Great Resignation' - has the pandemic impacted employee loyalty?

The ‘Great Resignation’ – has the pandemic impacted employee loyalty?

As the ‘Great Resignation’ looks set to continue into 2022, people are debating whether the pandemic has had an impact on employee loyalty.

Lucy Hopwood Marketing Administrator at FMC Global Talent

With 74% of UK professionals apparently planning to look for new work next year and more than half looking to reskill, the ‘Great Resignation’ looks set to continue into 2022. You might think that the uncertainties presented by the pandemic would make people lean into the jobs they do have in a bid for job security, but it appears to have had the opposite effect.   

So, the question is, has remote working and the impact of pandemic affected employee loyalty? 

Disconnected = disloyal? 

Given how much time you spend with your colleagues, there’s little wonder relationships can form a key part of job satisfaction. The pandemic has certainly had an impact on this; from never meeting new colleagues in the flesh, to feeling disconnected from other teams, there are a lot of challenges that remote working has brought to light. When people are missing out on interaction with their colleagues or longing for the company culture they experienced in an office setting, it can often get them thinking about if the grass could be greener elsewhere.   

Time to reflect 

The pandemic undoubtedly has given people time to reflect. Anthony Klotz (who coined the term ‘Great Resignation’) stated that these new perspectives have caused people to consider what they want from their future, and it would appear that sometimes this doesn’t include their current employer. From reflecting on future career goals to considering preferred ways of working, the space to think has undoubtedly caused some people to look for a new role.

This, coupled with less of an emotional attachment to the people they work with as a direct result of remote working, could go some way to explaining why we’re seeing a huge increase in resignations.

Easier to leave 

There’s also the argument that it’s simply easier to leave when you don’t have to face your boss or your colleagues. The majority of people feel at least a little nervous when it comes to handing in their notice but according to the results of our Future of Work Survey so far, 62% of people believe that it would be easier when working remotely vs. being in the office. 

Recruitment trends 

As a recruitment company, at FMC we’re seeing an upward trend in the amount of roles companies are actively recruiting on, as well as an incredibly active candidate market across the globe. This comes as no real surprise, in September alone, a record 4.43 million Americans quit their jobs according to the Labor Department’s latest  Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey and this is a trend we’re also seeing in other countries. 

So, what can companies do to retain their talent? 

The sheer amount of people choosing to leave their jobs may be alarming to some companies, but there are ways to avoid staff attrition. CV-Library’s study also asked their respondents what they think businesses should focus on to ensure they don’t lose their best staff in 2022; with over half saying offering top salaries and 41.9% saying investing in training and upskilling is important. 

It’s also essential for businesses to foster connection and engagement even when teams are working remotely, with 64% of the people we’ve surveyed so far saying that employers should work harder to engage remote employees. It can be tough to achieve a strong company culture in these conditions (which we’ll discuss more next week), but it’s key to keeping employees engaged and loyal.  

For a lot of people happiness is ultimately the most important thing, and companies that are managing to keep their employees engaged despite external circumstances are seeing far more employee loyalty as a result.  

The FMC Future of Work series aims to explore what the future holds for our professional lives. During the project, we’llbeprovidingweekly updates where we’ll be discussing different aspects of how, where and when we work. 

We’re also researching what the future of work may look like for us all, and will be sharing our findings with you in the new year. We’d love to hear your thoughts – fill in the Future of Work Survey here.