How to deal with the pandemic of quitters

Three reasons your staff might be quitting and what to do about it

Reading Time: 3 minutes

David FullerA pandemic of quitting seems to be rolling across the nation.

This has compounded the difficulty many organizations have faced over the past year finding and retaining good staff. Every week I hear a new story of companies losing what they thought were loyal staff and struggling to find quality replacements.

There seem to be several reasons contributing to the disenchantment of employees.

In early October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 2.9 per cent of workers quit their jobs in August. And the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation reported in 2021 that 42 per cent of Canadian employees say they’re considering changing their job or entire career in the next year. Here’s why:

Burnout

After almost two years of the pandemic – filled with fear, panic and worry – your team members are tired. They’re tired of worrying about their jobs, tired of being fearful of getting sick, tired of worrying about their families.

Click here to downloadThey’re fatigued by never-ending requirements to do more isolation, social distancing and jabs when they’ve done everything required by health officials and yet are asked to do more.

They’re sick of having to enforce rules and laws that were never part of their jobs before, to people who are tired of complying.

On top of that, restrictions, supply-chain issues, workloads and accountability issues have pushed the stress to new levels. Of course they’re burned out, just like you are.

Solution: Tackle burnout head-on by starting to bring it up in conversations in your workplace, team meetings and one-to-one sessions. Find out who’s burned out and start working on a plan to support them.

Lack of social interaction

A recent study by recruitment specialist Hays found that 43 per cent of respondents are dealing with a lack of social interaction at work. This is a key reason why many people go to work – they want to be around people who energize them.

If you’re an extrovert – and 49 per cent of the population are extroverts according to the Myers-Briggs personality test – you get energy from being around people. If your interactions are now online, or you’re isolated from hugging, talking or contacting people, you’re in trouble. The pandemic has changed how we work, and this isn’t what many people signed up for.

Solution: Get your team doing what they love. Use some psychometric testing like Extended DISC (email me if you don’t know what this is) or Myers-Briggs and ensure that you have the right people doing the right jobs.

If you have staff who love people doing task-oriented work, you’re in for trouble. Also, if you have task-oriented people serving the public because their jobs have changed, be prepared for more resignation notices on your desk.

Lack of purpose

The pandemic has caused many people to take a step back and re-evaluate the purpose of their lives and their jobs. If your staff members are unsure how they’re making a difference and fuzzy about the purpose of your organization and their role in fulfilling that purpose, you may be in a bind.

Solution: It’s our job as leaders to inspire them to fulfil the purpose of their department but it starts with you.

More advice on running your business

Your staff wants to know that what they do is meaningful and contributes to something important. When people have purpose in their work, they’re less likely to burn out and more passionate to come to work because it’s more like play.

Finding the passion of your team members and finding ways to revitalize that passion will go a long way to supporting them and showing them that you care to support them through this hard time.

Your organization doesn’t have to be part of the wave of resignations.

But to prevent the stress that comes with finding, onboarding and getting replacements up to speed, you need to be proactive. That means you must be supportive of your existing staff to prevent burnout and the ultimate demise of your business.

Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award-winning business coach and a partner in Pivotleader Inc. Feel like quitting your leadership? Stop and email dave@pivotleader.com and explain your reasons why. For interview requests, click here.


The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the authors’ alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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