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In 2021 we saw a 5% increase in resignations over 2019. This phenomenon is referred to as the Great Resignation, a term coined by Texas A&M professor Anthony Klotz. Klotz believes it’s a consequence of pandemic disruptions releasing pent up employee dissatisfaction. As we’re all painfully aware, the pandemic postponed weddings, canceled sporting events, wiped holiday celebrations off the calendar, normalized work at home, made grieving an everyday emotion, frayed mental health and generally upended our lives. Has all this jarring resulted in more of us quitting our jobs? If so, what are the criteria that we now use to determine if we will quit? A 2021 Edelman study identified the three drivers of the Great Resignation. For some, it’s compensation. These individuals left their jobs because they were not satisfied with their pay and perks. Others have left their jobs because they wanted to continue working from home, live in a rural area, parent full time or otherwise change their lifestyle. The number one reason people have left their jobs, however, is lack of purpose (learn more). The relationship between purpose and retention has long existed. For example, pre-pandemic research uncovered that workers with a sense of purpose had 40% higher retention. Klotz’s analysis, however, seems to apply here. The pandemic unleashed record amounts of purpose-oriented action.
Given that purpose is so central for employees, how can employers provide it? Good news! CSR (corporate social responsibility) is one solution. There’s evidence that simply participating in employee volunteering, for example, boosts sense of purpose at work by 33%. What’s more, CSR benefits the company in ways other than retention as detailed in a prior post.
In these trying times, CSR might just save your business from being a victim of the Great Resignation.
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