What does the Relaxation of Covid Regulations mean for the Great Resignation Crisis?

Tony Riley 02 February 2022 5 min read
Redundancies 2

As Jersey and the UK (especially England), introduce major relaxations of Covid regulations and guidance, many commentators are postulating that in these jurisdictions at least, the pandemic is becoming endemic. What might this mean for the growing and critical phenomenon of The Great Resignation?

What is The Great Resignation?

The Great Resignation describes the unprecedented numbers of people leaving their jobs over the  last year and the dearth of recruits to replace them. Research, initially in the US but increasingly in the UK and Western Europe too, shows some startling trends. US companies are reporting their highest ever vacancy factors and longest ever drag between leavers being replaced by starters. Just recently, the BBC’s lead article was titled “Where have a million workers gone?”

Resignation rates are highest in mid-career staff in healthcare and technology. Other sectors severely affected by Great Resignation attrition rates include, hospitality, retail, travel, food production and logistics and even, to an extent finance. One of the most visible and tangible examples in 2021 was the HGC driver shortages that closed petrol stations for weeks causing absolute chaos.

Here in Jersey, local community groups representing our Portuguese and East European communities are reporting large numbers of workers and families who left the island in 2020/21 and have not returned. This is undoubtedly a factor in the recruitment and retention challenges facing farming, hospitality, and retail and, here too, to an extent, finance.

Why are people resigning?

One powerful piece of US research identifies why 1,000 new starters in various industries left their old job and what attracted them to their new one:

  • 40% identified burn-out as the main reason for leaving – unreasonable management linked to unreasonable volumes of work
  • 40% reported that the old employers lack of commitment to working from home was a factor
  • 28% left without having a job to go to!
  • 24% noted that the old employer’s insistence on rigid working patterns was unattractive
  • 22% recorded a lack of attention to staff wellbeing and a negative attitude towards mental health

The “job switchers” shopping list for their next job, not surprisingly reinforces these issues:

  1. Ability to work from home to personal preference 40%
  2. Better compensation and reward 37%
  3. Better leadership and management 32%
  4. Positive company reputation as a “good employer” 29%
  5. Better work-life balance 26%
  6. Flexible work schedule 24%

A frequently mentioned quote in the free text section was from entrepreneur and international best-selling co-author of ‘Rework’, Jason Fried. “The main obstacle to effective productivity is M&Ms …… managers and meetings!” It was accompanied by the plea to not return to that paradigm.

So perhaps those companies and sectors struggling with The Great Resignation have opportunities, as we emerge from the pandemic, to learn from the last two years and from this growing body of research.

What you should do now

If you want to be competitive and successful in retaining and recruiting talent, consider the following steps (insofar as they can be applied in your industry):

  • Review and reboot your approach to leadership and management
  • Engage with your employees now, to understand how your organisation can be the employer of choice and take heed of their feedback. Retention is easier than recruitment
  • Recalibrate your reward and compensation models – it’s a seller’s market in 2022/3
  • Be as open as possible to hybrid models of working from home
  • Enable flexible work schedules where you can
  • Increase your focus and investment in staff wellbeing
  • Be a place where staff can be comfortable and confident in talking about mental health issues

It has never been more important to be, and to be known as, an employer of choice.

It has never been more important to remember that candidates are interviewing you too!

With the right strategies and commitment, maybe the year of The Great Resignation will be replaced by the Great Year for Recruitment and Retention!


If you would like support with understanding how to achieve successful retention and recruitment in your organisation, please get in touch with us at HR Now. We provide flexible, tailored HR support to enable your business success. Contact us now