Culture Human Resources Purpose Reflection Self awareness

When people start quitting, you’re already too late!

The Covid pandemic has caused people en masse to leave their jobs looking for a different career. It was the crisis people needed to open their eyes and seek new opportunities.

Three immediate and crucial actions to stop the bleeding.

By now, you must be familiar with the term The Great Resignation.

The Covid pandemic has caused people en masse to leave their jobs looking for a different career. It was the crisis people needed to open their eyes and seek new opportunities.

Did they make this decision all by themselves?


But the real question is why so many people have resigned at the same time and left their corporate roles? People have left their jobs in such numbers that it caused us to call this trend the great resignation.

So, why are people leaving their jobs?

Clearly, something has dramatically changed in their minds regarding what matters most in their (working) life.

It doesn’t mean that people were suddenly clear about what they DID want. They likely became first clear about what they did NOT want.

No more wasting time in the office for five days in a row.

No more sitting in meetings without ending or concrete decisions.

No more working for a boss who doesn’t show any interest in you and is primarily concerned about his bonus.

No more sitting in traffic twice per day to get to the office while still participating in Zoom or Microsoft Teams calls (yes, this happens more and more).

No more, no development.

No more doing work that doesn’t provide you any sense of purpose.

No more of all the stuff that doesn’t make you happy.

And that’s the key point. What they DIDN’T want provided direction about what it was that they DO want.

Yes to more happiness at work.

Yes to more meaning.

Yes to doing what you love.

People want something different from their jobs than what they had been used to. I’ve had several conversations with people about leaving their job, and each of the above reasons came up. In some cases, multiple times.

I’m one of the examples.

I did leave a corporate role last year after 70 days. Because I never felt that I was in place at that company. I felt I was wasting my time contributing to somebody else’s bottom line. I didn’t grow and I didn’t feel I was doing meaningful work.

So… people are quitting.

And when people start leaving, they talk to their colleagues about the reasons why. When that happens often enough, other people start quitting, and a domino effect you don’t want in your company starts taking place.

When this happens, you’re already too late. The exodus has begun. But that doesn’t mean you just late fate run its course.

Here’s what you can do, to prevent this from happening or to stop the bleeding.

Advance warning: there’s no instant magic pill.

First, review your culture and assess whether people have a genuine sense of belonging in your company.

Do they feel they’re part of the bigger picture and what you’re trying to accomplish in your company?

Are they ‘just’ a banker, or do they feel they’re helping people manage their lives better financially?

Are they ‘just’ selling groceries, or do they feel they’re contributing to the lives their customers are trying to live?

If your people want ‘it’ more than your competitor, you have a chance of ‘winning.’ Teams who want it more have a bigger chance of winning. You need to get clear about what it is.

Second, do everything you can to remove barriers for people to do their work.

I’m still amazed at how much trouble people have to go through to do their jobs.

Make it easier, not harder.

Listen to them if your people tell you they want to work more from home and suggest a hybrid work environment. Figure out what they need and then give it to them or find a good compromise.

Third, help them to grow.

And the number one tool to help your people grow is you.

YOU have the ability to create fun stretch assignments for your people.

YOU can let them apply for a conference or training that helps them and the company.

YOU are the one that should provide them with honest feedback and guide them in the right direction.

Don’t sit and hide behind others or HR to do YOUR job.

Remember, people leave managers, not companies.

They want to work for leaders who care, who are able to create a sense of belonging, and who demonstrate flexibility in their ways of working.

It’s not that hard.

Your turn: are people quitting?

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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