What Is the Great Resignation and What Does it Mean for Your Business?

The Great Resignation is what many are calling the recent phenomenon of people leaving their jobs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. In September of 2021, 3% of employees voluntarily left their jobs (about 4,253,000 workers). That percentage hasn’t risen above 2.4% in over 20 years.


Almost every industry is feeling the strain of the Great Resignation, leading many to reconsider how they approach employee retention and recruitment. But what can businesses do to keep their employees around and attract new ones to the ranks?


Before we get into that, let’s first discuss when the Great Resignation started and what is causing this mass exodus.

When Did the Great Resignation Start?


Most people estimate the Great Resignation started between March and April of 2021. According to SHRM, 2021 saw the most employees quitting for 10 out of the 12 months in a year compared to the previous 20 years of employee resignations.


January and February are the only two months that were lower than previous years—but not by much. Resignations in January 2021 were exceeded only by 2020 and 2019, while February’s resignations were exceeded only by 2019.

What’s Causing the Great Resignation?


There are numerous variables why the Great Resignation is happening at this very moment, but most of them are related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delayed Resignations

Many employees would’ve likely left their jobs in 2020, but the pandemic’s effect on the economy caused them to delay their departure until the job market became more stable. 


With this reason in mind, it makes sense that March/April is when the Great Resignation started to pick up steam. The United States rolled out an extensive vaccination program that allowed every citizen over 18 to receive a vaccine against COVID-19. This helped normalize the job market, making it the first opportunity for many to leave their jobs.

Opportunity to Continue Remote Work

The pandemic forced many workers to their homes, working remotely for months. However, many embraced this change, finding they could have a better balance between their work and life commitments. 


Many employees even found themselves more productive while working from home—a recent study found that remote work may increase productivity by up to 13%.


However, many employers forced their workers back into the office. Those who enjoyed working from home were inspired to look for work opportunities that allowed for remote or hybrid work schedules.

Reevaluated Life Priorities

COVID-19 and the ensuing shutdowns and quarantine periods gave many people time to reflect and reevaluate their priorities in life. This likely led many people to realize their current job role didn’t align with those new priorities.

Mistreated Employees

Some employers simply didn’t handle the pandemic very well. Those employers simply weren’t as empathetic as they could’ve been during an incredibly harrowing time for many people. This resulted in employees who felt underappreciated, which led them to consider other jobs.


The Great Resignation Statistics

Not convinced that the Great Resignation is a big deal? Whether you like it or not, here’s the truth: throughout 2021, the Great Resignation gained even more momentum. Here are some Great Resignation statistics that show the real weight of this new trend:

  • In almost every month from April to December, over 4,000,000 people resigned from their jobs.
  • Resignations peaked in November 2021 when 4,510,000 people resigned.
  • Between March 2021 and January 2022, over 45,000,000 people left their jobs
  • 41% of surveyed employees around the world are considering leaving their jobs
  • 55% of Americans plan to search for a new job this year


What Does the Great Resignation Mean for Businesses?


You’re likely alarmed by these stats as a business owner. You may be worried about what the Great Resignation means for your business. But instead of worrying, you can use this information to fine-tune your business processes:

  • Hybrid opportunities: Since many workers are looking for remote or hybrid work, consider how your company could work with this model. Would a hybrid workforce be feasible? If the answer is yes, consider the logistics and opportunity costs.
  • Employee experiences: It’s an employee’s job market right now. Does your business offer high-quality and rewarding experiences for your employees? For example, at ClearSource, we strive to help our employees align their life goals with their jobs, producing much more rewarding and productive work.
  • Emphasis on well-being: Employees want to feel safe at work, both physically and mentally. How does your business promote well-being? What health benefits do you offer? Could you offer more robust healthcare packages?


Solve Staffing Shortages with Business Process Outsourcing


While you’re looking for solutions to how your business can conquer the challenges of the Great Resignation, you may want to consider what a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) service could do for you. 


A BPO can help you outsource certain processes, like customer service, email handling, and other services that may be hard to maintain within your company. These departments will always be fully staffed with very little management or overhead required from your employees.


Contact ClearSource BPO to learn more about how a BPO can help you through the Great Resignation.

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