4 factors driving the great resignation (and what you can do to help). With the U.S. in the middle of a mass-employee exit, it’s vital for employers to look at the root causes. 

An estimated 1 in 4 employees quit their job in 2021, according to data from analytics firm Visier, with more expected to leave by the end of the year. This is the highest number the Bureau of Labor Statistics has recorded in two decades of data tracking. 

Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, coined the term “the great resignation” to describe this unprecedented period. Here are 4 key factors driving this great resignation — and what you can do to keep your employee retention high.

1. Widespread and long-lasting employee burnout

For many, the pandemic has led to increased workloads and longer working hours, all while people are dealing with the external stressors of a health crisis. Employees who work from home have found their professional and personal lives blurred. Plus, without a physical office space to leave, it can be difficult to “log off” when there still may be work to be done. For those in healthcare or service industries, smaller staffs and increased demands have led to grueling hours and more work.

In a June survey from Monster.com, 95 percent of the U.S. workers polled said they were considering leaving their jobs, and one-third of them listed burnout as the top reason. To combat this, employers can commit to regular mental health check ins, offer increased time off or consider more flexibility when it comes to work hours.

2. A decreased feeling of employee belonging

With longer and harder hours has also come lower employee engagement and a decreased sense of belonging. Per a recent report from BetterUp, belonging is a leading indicator of both intent to stay and performance. The isolation of the pandemic, though, has made it more challenging for employers to feel connected to their colleagues and to their work. 

The report recommends that employers focus on providing strong leadership, listen to employees’ needs and desires and think about which groups, such as parents or underrepresented minorities, may require more support in order to feel a strong sense of belonging.

3. Major work environment changes

The pandemic has brought about a whole new way of working for many of those who previously worked in an office. Some have grown to prefer work-from-home setups and have left their jobs out of an aversion to returning to an office, Klotz, the researcher credited with the term “the great resignation,” previously said. 

To avoid losing employees over work environments, employers should aim to be flexible with their workers whenever possible. One solution could be to create a hybrid set up, which allows for a combination of remote and in-person work.

4. Increased financial stress among workers

COVID-19 has also undoubtedly led to higher levels of financial stress — in the American Psychological Association’s 2020 Stress in America report, 63 percent of adults said their finances were a significant source of stress. This is a major jump from the previous year, when just 46 percent said the same. With stress being a leading cause of resignation, it’s essential to tackle financial wellness within the workplace. 

Adding financial wellness to employee benefits’ packages is one way to both lower overall stress and increase retention. Last year, Prudential found that 6 in 10 workers said they were more committed to their employer and more productive when their employers demonstrated a commitment to their financial wellness.

When it comes to actually implementing such benefits for your employees, programs like Best Money Moves can help. Best Money Moves uses artificial intelligence to power a mobile-first platform that measures employee financial stress, then dials it down with a unique content-mapping system that helps solve your employees’ pain points. Our triggers and alerts system, as well as budgeting tools, personal finance resources and more, guide employees to make smarter financial decisions and reduce their overall stress, which in turn, can help improve your company’s retention rates.

If you want to learn more about how Best Money Moves can bring financial wellness to your company, download our whitepapers.