Are your resignations going viral?

We’ve taken a deep dive into the drivers of resignations in order to answer the question: Are resignations contagious?

Victoria May 20, 2022
Reading time: 5 minutes
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Resignations can be painful when they come as a surprise. Often you might find that a few people hand their notices in together. This has made us wonder… are resignations contagious? 


We’ve taken a deep dive into the drivers of resignations in order to answer the question: Are resignations contagious?


‘Spate’ or Coincidence?


A recent survey found that 38% of respondents planned to quit their job in the next six months to a year. More people are setting off to pursue their dream jobs, or are quitting working life altogether to spend more time with their families. 50% of employees say that they’d sacrifice their salary for a job they enjoyed more.


When deciding whether or not to change jobs, employees don’t just take into account their own career development, pay and benefits. They take note of how their colleagues feel about the team culture. When one employee leaves, it signals to others that it may be time to weigh up their options. This has been named “turnover contagion”.


The strength of turnover contagion depends on which employees leave, and the kind of circumstances they leave under. So, especially in today’s uncertain labour market, it’s critical to be focusing on employee engagement & retention, to avoid being left captaining a ship without a crew. 


When are people most likely to resign?


Understanding why an employee has chosen to leave their position is undeniably valuable information. Knowing when an employee is most likely to quit can be equally helpful. 


Research by Gartner has revealed there are key moments in an employee's life that are likely to spur them into resigning. Identifying these moments in advance can help an organisation preemptively act to retain its talent.


1.Work Anniversaries


Work anniversaries are significant milestones in a person's career, but they often aren't met with the enthusiasm that they should be. This can prompt an employee to consider what direction they'd like to take their career in. 


Gartner’s data shows that job-hunting activity rises by 6% around the anniversary of when someone first joins a company. It increases by 9% on the anniversary of when they first assumed their current position. 





2.Social Events & Networking


Job hunting spikes by 16% after major social gatherings and networking. 


Hearing peers discuss their careers can be the catalyst for an employee to take stock of their own progress and goals. Often, the connections that their peers have can help employees obtain their new roles. So you might want to keep a close eye on any employees who are attending a school reunion! 


3.Birthdays


Birthdays are a time when people reflect on their lives and jobs. They prompt a 12% rise in job hunting around this period. It seems that the big 40th and 50th birthday milestones are especially inspiring in this aspect.


Any event that can cause an employee to reflect on their career can be a career risk trigger. Whether this turns into an actuality depends on the employee’s personal circumstances, engagement, job fulfilment and career progression. 


How do you overcome the risk?


It’s not really practical (or ethical!) to ask employees to limit their social engagements to reduce your resignation risks! 


So the best way to combat the risks, is to make sure that your employees are highly engaged. So the consideration of leaving your organisation isn’t a factor for them whether they’re nearing a big birthday or not. 


Here’s a model we use at Space HR, to break down engagement and provide areas of focus to limit resignation risks:


  • Connection - Ensuring that your team are bought into your vision, know key goals and how they can contribute. Sharing your organisations “why”, mission statement and values can provide powerful ways for your team to super charge your team. A huge area here is communication and employee voice. Ensuring employees feel informed, have a voice and influence on the organisation.


  • Leadership - Employees are looking to their leaders to keep them informed, updated, supported & inspired. Ensuring leaders are maximising individual and team performance, are fair and provide great recognition are also key elements for relationships between people managers and their teams. 


  • Fulfilment - Employees want to feel personally fulfilled by the work that they do. This can come from challenging and interesting work, great work-life balance, career development and a sense of pride in the work they are doing and the organisation they are working for. 


  • Wellbeing - Employees need to feel safe, secure and supported in the workplace. This can be about job security, feeling that the organisation truly cares about them, or feeling a true sense of belonging in an inclusive culture. 


Employee feedback is the critical element to employee engagement, understanding how teams are feeling about all of the above factors, so that you can celebrate strengths and close gaps is key. 


We believe in regular, anonymous feedback, to really get to the heart of what is happening in a workplace. It can help identify resignation risks before they take hold, or to understand further how to prevent more of the same. 


Get in touch with us to see how can help.

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