Why are so many people quitting?

Here are a few reasons.

It's been termed 'The Great Resignation' - and at the end of the pandemic it was a big news story.

The story however, has not gone away.

Personally we are amazed as to how many people have recently made some radical shifts in their lives, either leaving their jobs, or having moved countries in the last year or so.

Quitting is still very hot and continues to be a major factor.

What it is on a deeper level, is a significant change in the mindset of a lot of people - who previously were quite happy to just carry on following the status quo of 'life's path'.

Why are so many people quitting?

We have no scientific proof to point to (nobody does), but having read numerous sources on the topic, and drawing from our own insights, let's hazard a guess:

#1: They're bloody bored

Life is short. We all know that now that we've been thinking about death, almost exclusively, for a couple of years - so why spend it doing something you don't entirely get a kick out of?

People are bored.

Bored of their aimless jobs, pointless lives, mundane existence. They have realised that they can demand a bit more adventure in their lives and are making the switch.

Most jobs suck, managers are incompetent, most companies hire people to do seriously boring work, most businesses have no other reason to exist other than to make money for their shareholders.

It's no wonder that people are frankly gatvol (this is a South African term meaning 'displeased') and are choosing to 'risk' it all on leaving and choosing another path.

Why not, you're gonna die someday anyway?

#2 They're tired of being treated poorly

Business culture is largely dominated by a pervasive mindset of power inequality.

Clients dominate their suppliers, and service providers, through power inequalities. Unreasonable demands, a lack of respect, abusive behaviour are commonplace.

Senior members of staff dominate junior employees by giving the best jobs to those that they personally like, rather than to teams that will do the best work.

Abuse of power is EVERYWHERE in business.

What the pandemic has shown is that these power plays are not essential to the effective working of teams.

People can work from home, rather than having to commute into the office; which is just one example of how company rules are often there to maintain power structures, rather than empower people. There has been a realisation of this and people are pushing back.

#3 They're tired of working

For many - work is life. Companies demand that their staff spend endless hours at work and 'on-call', which is simply not psychologically sustainable.

This is largely the result of poor management and a total lack of  strategy.

When good leadership skills are lacking, a business not only forfeits opportunity, but also mismanages its resources.  

Poor leadership has caused an epidemic of burnout. People simply can't carry on at the pace that is expected of them.

#4 The power balance has shifted

Although they might say otherwise - not many companies truly value the their staff. Business still believes that people should be 'grateful' to have a job.

The company / employee relationship itself has changed.

Technology has put the agency in the employee's hands. It's far easier for people to quickly switch jobs these days on their terms, than it is for businesses to hire and fire people.

Increasingly brands will need to focus on developing their employee offerings to offer work that is unique and of real value if they are going to succeed in keeping people.

#5 Why do we work?

Work itself is an activity that is engrained in our cultural identity. As human we have always performed work and for the last 100 years, work culture hasn't shifted very much.

Why we work is changing. The way we value work is changing. Many are dissatisfied with our traditional definition of work and are rather choosing work that has personal meaning for them as individuals.

So what?

A lot is going on in the world of work. What used to be common practice, is now up for debate.

These uncertain changes will have a significant impact on business in the future and demand that leadership think carefully about how to navigate the road ahead. Attracting and holding on to great people is not going to be as easy as it once was.

Some industries will be affected more than others, but equally all should at the least be mapping out the consequences of these kinds of shifts and have a plan in place as to how to compete in this environment.

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