In The United States, we experienced, from the spring of 2021, a phenomenon of mass departures of workers, called the ‘ Great Resignation’. This expression refers to the “ Great Depression ” of the 1930s. 
The 2020s, for their part, would be the decade of a profound change in the world of work, including the Great Resignation is the first symptom? 
While it is too early to tell, it is clear that professional expectations have evolved. 
Since the pandemic, our entire relationship with work has even changed. 
To understand what it’s all about, let’s take a closer look at the phenomenon of the Great Resignation, its causes… and its consequences for companies:

47.4 million Americans left their jobs in 2021.

In the first quarter of 2022, we identified 10.7 million vacancies in the United States.

The phenomenon of the Great Resignation, however unprecedented, is not without explanation.
First of all, why was 2021 the year of departures?
We analyze this from the angle of a post-2020 boomerang effect.
The appearance of the pandemic has generated global uncertainty, an impossibility to project oneself into the near future and to understand the labor market.
Periods of “lockdown” have put the usual opportunities for professional networking on hold (where new opportunities sometimes open up) and slowed down traditional recruitment processes. All this led workers who wanted to resign to postpone their project.
That said, the postponement of resignations is not the only explanation. Departures are motivated by an accumulation of frustrations. But before looking in more detail at the causes of departures, let’s first look at which profiles and which sectors were the most affected.

Among the resignations, we note a majority of workers from the sectors most impacted by the pandemic: tourism, catering, hotels, but also care for people and health, or transport.
Many of them not only wanted to change employer, but also “branch”, to carry out a professional retraining, sometimes at a forced march.
There is also a significant proportion of women who have had to leave their jobs to take care of their children, as the pandemic has forced schools to close.
Another category that stands out, even if it does not represent a majority: managers.
They experienced a loss of bearings and often felt disarmed in the face of their tasks (in the context of a sudden and unaccompanied transition to massive telework).
The lack of recognition, coupled with the increase in their workload, has led many managers to discouragement and the feeling of not really understanding their role.
They were particularly exposed to the risk of burnout.

There is also a strong representation of young people. This can be partly explained by the fact that they largely occupied positions in the sectors mentioned above (leisure, catering, etc.), but also perhaps by a generational factor: it is easier to resign when is young and has no dependents. In addition, Generations Y and Z are familiar with the notions of agility and professional mobility, so they are more ready to change company if it no longer suits them. They are also very sensitive to the question of meaning, and demanding with regard to the values conveyed by companies.

If the phenomenon of the Great Resignation concerns all sectors, socio-professional categories and age groups combined, the reasons for leaving differ, depending on the working conditions, the position held and the family context. However, there are very broad common factors, all correlated to an unsatisfactory employee experience.
First of all: stress! Too much workload coupled with a low margin of autonomy and too little recognition generates stress, which can become difficult to tolerate for employees.
As a reminder, stress at work has many consequences: lack of energy, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, physical pain, illness (resulting in absenteeism). When stress becomes permanent, it can lead employees to burnout.

Excessive workload — (autonomy + recognition) = stress

A bad relationship with the manager is very often a reason for leaving, ranging from simple lack of recognition to the most serious cases of toxic corporate culture.

In addition to the reasons cited above and the poor grades in terms of QWL, many employees also left the ship because they felt they no longer found meaning in their work, or no longer matched the values displayed by their company. and/or the lack of real application of these values on the ground.
Between 2020 and 2021, the world was somewhat “in suspense”, which left time to take a step back from a sometimes frantic “life before”. This time of reflection has brought awareness to many. Finding or regaining a balance between professional life and personal life, redefining your priorities and life goals, refusing to persevere in a position offering poor conditions, at the risk of losing your physical or mental health…

It emerges from this that an important factor in resignation is the search for meaning.

Indeed, we spend most of our time at work, so everyone has to find meaning in it.

Employees need to feel useful, to know the added value of their work, to know that they have a positive impact on society and the collective, through their job.