The Great Resignation: Lessons for business leaders facing a talent drain

The Great Resignation: Lessons for business leaders facing a talent drain

The pandemic upended all predictions about the future of work, but one thing is clear amid the Great Resignation, talent is on the move and businesses need to engage now to stay competitive.

While identifying and nurturing new talent might now be moving up the C-suite agenda, retaining talent already in the business has become increasingly urgent. Lockdown provided the space for employees to review and reconsider their careers and career plans and now the swathes of people resigning their jobs is affecting business’ growth prospects. 

Beamery’s new ‘Talent Trap’ research, conducted with over 500 C-Suite and VP level business leaders in large organizations in the UK and US, has reported just how precarious the situation is for employers.  

The Great Resignation has led to the highest number of job vacancies in the UK in 20 years, with many workers deciding to switch careers or leave long-standing jobs. It is therefore no surprise that, across all sectors, 83% of business leaders in the UK and US are now concerned about losing talent whilst almost half (45%) say they are now not confident in being able to attract the right talent to fulfill their business’ growth potential. 

However, while this time is daunting for many, it also offers an extremely unique occasion for businesses to also reassess their thinking, work to boost their employee engagement and enhance team productivity.  Employees have made it clear that they aren’t looking for hollow promises or short term tactics, they want a commitment to a talent first strategy that will prioritize the creation of a future fit, fair and progressive workforce.


This shift in thinking is in parallel to an inability to attract the right talent, which is creating an increasingly significant skills-gap. Whilst it is not just skills that businesses  are concerned about, with leaders divided as to whether skills (53%) or mindset (47%) present the bigger issue in their organizations, the matter is certainly not something that can be ignored.

Businesses know they must do a better job of upskilling employees yet 79% of business leaders are concerned about the accessibility to key skills in their organization to make an improvement. Over a quarter (27%) of leaders admit that  up to  49% of their employees are holding back their organization, with over half (58%) saying that critical thinking and problem solving is most lacking. 

Employees are not just looking for financial recognition of their efforts. They want employers to push them forward in their career, by providing clear paths and training plans. Companies are evidently aware they are lacking in the right skills yet they still are not responding in a productive manner, they are not investing sufficient time or money in upskilling their workforce.  To be smart companies need to find ways to reward their workforce by providing new opportunities, expanding existing roles and tracking the team members best placed to transition into new positions as the business demands it.

Employees are on the hunt for more, the sheer number of those quitting and moving elsewhere demonstrates that they are prepared to embrace uncertainty, and less security, rather than tolerate what they currently have. Businesses need to embrace the proactive role they need to play in engaging their workers. 

What sets the best businesses apart 

Despite the scramble to secure stability, some organizations are already proving to be successful at managing and developing their talent at an advanced level.

In response to an evolving talent market, business leaders are calling on HR to manage and promote systemic change and to do more in building future-fit workforces, as well as finding more effective ways of identifying and filling skills gaps. A key component here is using data to establish employees’ capacity for change.

86% of business leaders have now stated that attitudes towards talent management need to progress and it’s no longer ‘business as usual’.  In fact, one in four businesses are now expressing that they are more focused on investing extensively in talent than ever before, with it becoming a key business priority for the next 12-18 months. Support for talent must begin to reflect the lifecycle that employees experience, there needs to be an end to end development strategy that ensures talent is able to flourish at every stage of the career journey.

One of the factors to ensure success here will be to embed HR into every part of the organization; consulting CHROs on every major business decision as opposed to letting HR function as a siloed department at the edge of your business. 

To seize the opportunity to define a truly competitive edge in talent, businesses need to listen. 

Companies with a progressive mindset not only already have ambitious targets in place around expanding their talent goals, but have already begun to introduce the processes needed to achieve them. Adapting to different working styles and creating an environment that promotes talent mobility, in which people want to stay, grow and develop is what will see the best engagement and retention of talent. For those moving too slowly the consequences will be dire.

Abakar Saidov
Abakar Saidov

Share via
Copy link