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Great Resignation & CSR: what future for companies?

How can you miss this phenomenon that has been making more and more headlines recently?

This trend started across the Atlantic, in the United States, with 4 million Americans leaving their jobs in August 2021. Enough to make the corporate world tremble! The main cause? It’s no surprise to anyone: the health crisis & the recovery of economic activity. This impressive phenomenon is the result of a quest for meaning, a questioning of salary conditions, but it is also a generational phenomenon. Indeed, generations Y or Z, who are on the job market, are gradually changing the codes. They will tend to be volatile and leave their job if they are not satisfied with their conditions, whereas the older generations could stay in place for “job security”. Today, change, movement, and entrepreneurship are no longer scary!

How did the big resignation come about?

Staying in a confined space lets your mind work! Indeed, between 4 walls (with or without a garden, in the city or in the country) it leaves you thinking, ideas fly, you question everything, admit that even you have put some things in perspective! And when we are faced with an unprecedented event like a pandemic (and we won’t lie to ourselves about everything that revolves around it), there is a lot to rethink about the future. Everything we took for granted seems to wither and give way to uncertainty. The great resignation is simply the desire for more meaning in one’s actions, the fed up with the cities of everyday life, the call of the forest (this one is easy), a need for recognition, a management that is no longer adapted, these are all factors that have fueled a mass departure.

This unique period of confinements was also a time of new year’s resolutions, taking care of oneself, one’s family, one’s business owners, one’s planet, an unprecedented surge of solidarity. Some found new horizons! Free will being the leitmotiv of the last few years, individuals in Western countries have decided to take their future in hand and have chosen to develop their careers, to reorient themselves, to make a new start.

Is France really concerned by this phenomenon?

While in the United States the phenomenon is well established, in France there are a few signs of this Great Resignation. For example, there is a significant shortage in certain fields: in the hotel and restaurant industry, for example, the number of contractual terminations has increased by 9%. But beyond simple resignations, reorientations are also gaining ground: one French person out of two would consider retraining. If before, career paths were rather obvious -without exceptions- today, the professional horizon is infinite.

The French seem to be questioning themselves, the generations are changing and so is the future of companies. According to a HubSpot/OpinionWay study of October 2021, 71% of French business students have negative feelings about their entry into the working world. The next few years will determine the landscape of companies & professionals, changes are underway or will necessarily have to be made to challenge this Great Resignation!

On a more positive note, let’s note that in France, we have to moderate our remarks because for many of those who change jobs in this “Great Resignation” whirlwind, many remain in the same sector of activity. There is less of a desire to make a big change, to retrain and to go green.

Employer branding & QWL, the cure for the Great Resignation?

Today, and for the past few years, it is imperative to think about the employee’s cycle from integration to offboarding in order to retain talent and employees. Missions and work organization are important subjects when recruiting. Soft skills are also entering the employability market, as hard skills are no longer sufficient.

More broadly, to try to keep their employees, companies have a real need to develop an Employer Brand strategy and more broadly a CSR strategy. Indeed, in France, the permanent employment contract is very popular, so it should not be an excuse for companies to rest on their laurels. There is a need to increase skills; to show a possible evolution, a future, flexibility, a different organization, a QWL. Today, it is necessary to think about well being, new practices and salary evolution of its employees to have a sustainable strategy.

These new practices include telecommuting and the implementation of onboarding practices with support during the first 100 days. Salary is also an advantage, but many other things can be taken into account: the right of an employee to help, the distinction between private and professional life, the right to disconnect. Salary in itself is no longer enough to keep one’s talents.

Beyond the search for meaning, these departures in cascade can also be the symptom of a lack of listening and appropriate responses to the (new) expectations of employees: integration into the company, missions, work organization, recognition… It is necessary to recruit differently & to manage differently.

This experience of the big resignation may still be talked about for some time. It seems unwise to ignore the signs of employees and particularly those of the younger generations, Millennials represent 50% of the workforce, it is necessary to be flexible & agile. If companies do not adapt, they will certainly face many difficulties in recruiting -but not only- in the future! Anticipate and start your strategy now!