There is a lot of discussion about “The Great Resignation,” coined by Professor Anthony Klotz, Texas A&M. Why is it looming on the horizon, and how should companies respond?

The WHY revolves around the – you guessed it – pandemic. The last 16 months have been a challenge, but the pandemic also brought some positive changes. While stuck in their homes, many professionals discovered that they were more productive than at the office, and eliminating the commute gave them more time. Parents who were suddenly helping their children with e-learning instead of dropping them off at school/daycare discovered that they were building stronger family ties despite the challenge. Work-life balance became an obtainable goal rather than a dream. Being home allowed time for reflection, self-evaluation, and career contemplation. Though they wanted our country to open, many do not want everything to return to the status quo. Hence, the Great Resignation.

Understanding is only the first step. It is time (in some cases, past time) for companies to take action to –

  • Retain your current talent – they are your number one asset.
  • Proactively Engage talent that may be fleeing in droves from other companies.


Turnover is costly. We know it. You know it. These stats from the employee engagement firm Sparkbay put it in perspective.

They broke down the employee replacement costs by job level.

  • Entry-level – 30% – 40% of annual salary
  • Mid-level – 150% of annual salary
  • Highly skilled – up to 400% of annual salary

In fact, estimates that, on average, organizations can pay six to nine months of a worker’s salary to replace them. Their research suggests that replacement costs can be as high as 50%-60%, with overall costs ranging from 90%-200%.

For example, if an employee makes $60,000 per year, it costs an average of $30,000 – $45,000 to replace that employee and roughly $54,000 – $120,000 in overall losses to the company.

7 Keys to Transform Turnover into Retention

If you want to retain your staff, then give them a reason to stay. Create and continue to build an attractive, engaging culture –

  1. Set a standard of peer-to-peer respect. From the highest-paid C-suite professional to the newest entry-level employee, everyone deserves to be treated as an equal, with respect. We may be in different stages of life, have attained different levels of education, and are at different levels financially, but we are all people with personal values, dreams, goals, ideas, skills, etc. Encouraging and sustaining peer-to-peer respect across the board is an essential pillar to building a winning culture that retains talent.
  2. Lay a foundation of gratitude. Acknowledge the way everyone pulled together and carried their weight throughout the pandemic. Express your appreciation. Be personal and specific in your thanks. Include tangible thanks when appropriate. Your employees need to know that you know they are not “returning to work.” They have been working – from home.
  3. Embrace remote work and flexible scheduling. The combination of remote work and flexibility is high on the list for many professionals.
    • Consider all the roles accomplished during sheltering days and quarantines. If they could be successfully and, in many cases, more efficiently performed remotely, maintain that position as remote. If you need to connect in person at least some of the time, create a hybrid role. Four days/week remote and one day in the office or whatever formula works best. Allow for flexibility. If Susan prefers to work four 10-hour days, give her the freedom to make that decision.
    • Enhance the “remote” attraction by supplying the necessary tools, such as high-quality Bluetooth earpieces, laptops, tablets, etc. If you are saving by reducing office space (and the cost of utilities), those funds may be well-spent investing in equipment.
  4. Encourage professional growth. Support your professionals and workers in furthering their education or upskilling.
  5. Avoid micromanaging. Whether employees are working remotely or onsite, ensure your actions demonstrate that you trust them to make good decisions and get the job done right.
  6. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Transparency, honesty, and keeping your employees in the loop encourage trust.
    • Ensure everyone knows what they need to know. Do not spring surprises.
    • Establish a policy for giving and receiving feedback across teams, departments, supervisors, and management. Then, respond –express your thanks for the input and follow through.
  7. Get involved in your local community. Giving back and making a difference matters to your employees. Operating from a give-back philosophy builds an attractive culture.

To sum it up in one sentence. Give your employees a reason to stay by being a transparent, ethical business involved in your local community that encourages peer-to-peer respect, values and appreciates your employees, keeps communication channels open, and accommodates the demands for flexibility and remote work.

Mastering retention is one prong in your response to the Great Resignation. Be sure to return for Part II, where we will discuss keys for engaging talent fleeing from other companies.

Global Technical Search (GTS) is a strategic recruiting firm focused on working with companies that value their most important assets –their employees. We believe the foundation for a company’s success comes down to the people—that’s why we provide our clients unparalleled value by recruiting the right professional for every role.