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The Real Fix for The Great Resignation

Dramatic language describes the current state of the workplace. It’s described as The Great Resignation and The Turnover Tsunami. There is a mindset of desperation among business leaders, prompting strategies such as outsized sign-on bonuses and gifts of expensive technology in an effort to find and keep workers.

Running toward quick fixes is understandable when a crisis hits, yet few, if any of these reach the root cause of the problem. If the underlying reason for corporate despair goes unaddressed, the issue remains unresolved.

What is this root cause?

Simply put, employees are fed up… They’re fed up with:

  • Lack of appreciation

  • Overwork

  • Disconnected mission, vision, or values

  • Obligation to the company ahead of self or family

The list goes on - and employees march out in unprecedented numbers.

Which of these issues are solved through large bonuses that are quickly spent, or a shiny new iPad that rapidly becomes old technology? None, of course.

What, then can fix the situation that we’re in? Let’s start by considering what’s behind this litany of employee laments.

Numerous studies indicate that workers leave because of their leaders (because of what they do, or more often, because of what they fail to do). Experts also tell us that it’s the rare person who feels comfortable enough to speak openly of issues in the workplace. And other studies show that most employees believe that their leaders don’t communicate or listen very well.

A culture of openness and connectedness will stem the Turnover Tsunami. Here’s how it’s done:

· Redefine leadership.

o Reward behaviors that build trust over those that build the bottom line.

· Educate for, encourage, and reward genuine respect and connection.

o Teach leaders to really listen – meaning listening to connect, to understand, and to learn what matters to each individual. Then, show leaders how to act on what they discover.

· Make it safe to speak up.

o Start at the top to ensure that candid and open feedback is encouraged and rewarded, becoming a way of life.

Notice how often “reward” is mentioned. A key to success lies in the organization’s reward systems. Align your organizational culture aspirations to the outcomes that you encourage, measure, and manage.

Creating an open and connected culture takes more than a one-time training program, a policy change, or a jazzy mission statement. It happens only when senior-most leaders fully commit to and model respect, connection, and caring, ensuring that these behaviors cascade through the entire organization.


Hambert, T. Balancing Head and Heart HR Magazine, Fall 2021

Herway, J. How to Create a Culture of Psychological Safety The Gallup Organization, December 7, 2017

Goler, L., Gale, J., Harrington, B, Grant, A. Why People Really Quit Their Jobs Harvard Business Review, January 11, 2018

Schwantes, M. Survey: 91 Percent of 1,000 Employees Say Their Bosses Lack This 1 Critical Skill Inc., August 10, 2017

Lillian LeBlanc, MBA, PCC, SHRM-SCP, SPHR is a Principal with Ibis Coaching, LLC. She is an experienced leader with more than four decades in HR and extensive experience in organizational culture. She is an International Coaching Federation professional certified coach (PCC), and has served as a Global Board Member and officer of the International Coach Federation’s Coaching In Organizations Board. Lil is passionate about improving the work experience for every employee, by enhancing the quality of every leader.


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