The Great Resignation, also known as the Big Quit, is an economic trend in which large numbers of employees voluntarily resign from their jobs. The phenomenon is mainly in the US albeit there are suggestions in some quarters that micro versions of this trend are happening elsewhere.
According to Robert Sheffield, managing director, Greater China with Morgan McKinley, people leave companies for a number of reasons – poor leadership, lack of development or potentially geographical relocation.
“Sometimes people resign not because of the job, the people or the management, it is more of negative factors that impact them and have done so for a period of time,” he added.
A new Gartner survey reveals that HR leaders’ number one priority in 2022 will be building critical skills and competencies, with diversity, equity and inclusion now in the top five priorities in 2022.
Leadership is a vital management function that helps to direct an organisation's resources for improved efficiency and the achievement of goals. Effective leaders provide clarity of purpose, motivate, and guide the organisation to realise its mission.
Sheffield concedes that leaders today have broad T-shape skill sets, as well as very strategic and specialist subject matter expertise, high EQ, integrity, ability to create autonomous environments, empathy and in current environments, compassion.
“In terms of the work environments, all leaders should have an understanding and an interest in diversity inclusion. They should also embrace collaboration, accountability, technology, employee development and consistency,” he continued.
Evolving leadership behaviour
He recalled that before the pandemic, leaders focus their energies on executing the business plan. “Now, the good leaders that we see are concentrating more on the broader plan and the outcome and are more flexible on how they get there. They have adapted and improved their communication,” he continued.
He added that good leaders have a more behavioural mindset to prevent overreaction to developments and allow them to look ahead.
“We saw more focus on communication, agility and mental health. Most of the businesses and the leaders within companies that really excelled created a sense of purpose. On the contrary, we have seen leaders having fixed mindsets, not listening to employees, and failing consistently,” he added.
Asked what lesson from 2021 can be carried forward into 2022, Sheffield suggested putting people first regardless of the size of the organisation.
“Invest in them both from a skillset and moral perspectives. Most of them have never worked through a crisis so my suggestion is to be consistent, be empathetic and compassionate but also data-led and rational,” he added.
Challenges ahead in 2022
Sheffield believes that challenges will largely depend on local government responses to Covid. He acknowledges that digital economies in Asia, in particular Southeast Asia, are expanding.
“Wage inflation and retention of people in all geographies are going to either enable or prevent businesses from growing. We will see a lot of banks continue to push the digital agenda for growth and remote working may create challenges for leaders to attract talent,” he added.
Click on the PodChat player and listen to Sheffield share his perspectives on how leadership is evolving to adapt to the changing environments.
- What does it take to be a leader in Asia in 2022?
- Describe for us how leaders behave prior to 2020?
- For much of 2020, how did they respond to the pandemic?
- Can you name three leadership lessons in 2021?
- How do / should leaders lead in 2022?
- What is your prediction for 2022? (Forrester work from anywhere)
- The Great Resignation and what it is like in Asia