Insights into global expansion & employee retention

Published: October 15, 2021

From ‘WFH’ to ‘WT*?’ The Great Resignation and Global Employment

When you see the word ‘great’ in front of something, it’s a coin toss whether or not the thing in question is actually ‘great!’ - great, or ‘oh dear’ - great. With ‘The Great Resignation’ let’s just say nobody’s reaching for the party poppers.
Remote Employment

What’s ‘The Great Resignation’?

You don’t need to be a rocket surgeon to work out that ‘The Great Resignation’—also known as ‘the Big Quit’—is about people voluntarily leaving their jobs en-mass.

How big is the TGR phenomenon?

If we were talking about a warehouse workforce walkout at Amazon over pay and conditions, it’d be nothing new—but TGR is much more than that.

‘The Great Resignation’ is a global ideological battle between people and their employers about who gets to decide what ‘work’ can and should mean to who.

The consequences of said battle have profound consequences for employers, the nature of future recruitment and multinational-growth strategy.

According to this Microsoft study, more than 40 per cent of the global workforce are considering leaving their employers in 2021.

Yes, more than 40%. That’s a lot of walkouts destined to lead to a gaping talent vacuum worldwide.

What’s Causing ‘The Great Resignation’?

The root cause of the global “I quit” moment is easy to untrue.

Covid the disruptor

Generally speaking, it was the collective flashpoint of the pandemic crisis that set the wheels of ‘The Great Resignation’ in motion.

That said, the shock of “Covid the disruptor” was only the trigger for a deeper, existential set of causes in millions of hearts and minds that opened a rift between employers and their employees.

Covid was just the final domino to fall.

Before Covid the ‘remote work’ debate set the scene for ‘The Great Resignation

Before Covid, work-life balance was already on employers’ and employees’ minds. Covid just put all the chips on the employees’ side of the table. Previously hesitant employers were forced to roll the dice with remote and hybrid work.

Some embraced it fully—how many startups do you see now that are fully global-remote? Others just played along cornered by circumstance.

First it was ‘WFH’… then it was ‘back to work’

Once the worst had passed, many employers revealed their true hand reverting to ‘back to work’ messaging.

Remember the first few weeks of lockdown?

For many, the weirdness of switching the office desk for a cushion, laptop and Zoom calls in sweatpants quickly became normality.

Even top bosses at top financial firms with hardcore, office-based legacy work cultures softened up their stance. For a while, at least.

JP Morgan’s stance on ‘WFH’, March 4th, 2020:

“JPMorgan Asked Thousands Of Employees To Work From Home: This May Start A New Trend”

JP Morgan’s stance on ‘WFH’, July 6th 2021:

“JPMorgan, Goldman Call Time on Work-From-Home. The two Wall Street titans know they might lose some employees who prefer flexibility. They’re OK with that.”
— The WSJ

These U-turns, heavy-handed dictates and mixed signals were the last straw for millions of employees reclaiming a sense of life priorities and purpose against a backdrop of world chaos.

Remote & Hybrid Working Is Here for Keeps

All over the world, ‘The Great Resigners’ have been unwilling to give up their ‘new normal’ (we hate that phrase too) of remote and hybrid work perks.

For many, remote working brought:

  • increased productivity
  • work-space control
  • increased family time
  • life-admin flexibility
  • zero commuting costs.

Imagine a team who has tasted the perks of ‘WFH’ or hybrid working. Then imagine, like JP Morgan, telling them you’re not afraid to lose employees who prefer flexibility.

What JPM are telling their teams is: ‘you’re replaceable. Is it any wonder people are walking?

In a climate of mass resignation and talent vacuums, the market turns in candidates favor. Plenty of opportunities now exist for flexible, hybrid and remote work.

JP Morgan might have the reputation and budget to operate an HR black hole and revolving-door recruitment, but not all organizations do.

What Are Your Teams Thinking (and Feeling)?

How can you prevent your people from becoming ‘Great Resigners’?

There’s a lot of speculation about how far the wave of global resignations will go. One thing is certain. The effect of the ‘I quit’ wave will be exponential in the short term.

The more people hear of others quitting their jobs, the easier the decision will become to do the same.

Those who fight fire with fire—in some cases with ‘work from home’ pay cuts—could find themselves seriously struggling to attract and keep talent.

Especially given that work culture is being rewired to favor and account for quality of living.

‘purpose’ over ‘paycheck’

Even from 2014, it was known that ‘millennials work for a purpose, not paycheck’.

Now, post-2020 it’s not just millennials who are prone to be motivated by more than just the number of ‘0s’ on their salary figure—millions are questioning and redefining their day-to-day purpose.

Global businesses that can’t help teams integrate their work purpose with their life purpose will find themselves struggling to access the right talent in increasingly difficult and competitive recruitment environments.

‘YOLO economy’ (You Only Live Once)

The New York Times wrote a viral piece coining the term ‘The YOLO Economy’. In doing so it captured the prevailing feeling of purpose and the unique opportunity the world’s talent has to capture the moment and quit their jobs in search of fulfillment.

As the NYT puts it:

“burned out and flush with savings, some workers are quitting stable jobs in search of post pandemic adventure”

What would the ‘YOLO’ mindset going viral in your business do to your costs and growth prospects in already difficult times?

It’s a question worth dwelling on.

How Can Businesses Adapt to ‘The Great Resignation’ and the ‘YOLO’ Economy?

The answer is simple. Adapt or fail.

If you’re JP Morgan, if you’re Google, you can afford to dig your heels in. You can afford to change your mind about hybrid and remote work policy as often as you change your home-page logo design.

If you’re almost anything other than that, opening up recruitment globally to source or even relocate the right talent anywhere will help shield business continuity from creeping resignations and ‘YOLO’ “I quit” temptations.

Employers need to learn the lessons and find the tools to align work priorities with their teams’ life priorities.

The problem is, that building global-remote teams brings unimaginable HR, payroll and compliance costs and complexity.

Playroll makes it possible, fun and easy to hire and relocate talent wherever it likes to play

Playroll helps businesses large and small adapt to global employment trends by making it possible, fun and easy to hire and build global teams, without the prohibitive cost of local country compliance and overseas payroll complexity.

Playroll’s fully-owned global employment entities mean you can finally hire, land and expand into new regions, building invested teams as you go—teams who will come to you for the flexibility and purpose you let them retain.

Already have plans to hire, land and expand into a new region?

Create your Playroll account for free. We won’t bill you until you make your first hire.

Just log in, explore your Playroll dashboard and start planning your HR expansion costs in detail—from pension and contribution estimators to detailed country-by-country HR legislation insights. Playroll gives you everything you need to build a flexible, remote work culture and global teams that will stay with you.

Download our Whitepaper - The state of remote work & talent mobility
CTA 01

Contact us

Latest news and updates

How an EOR Platform Helps You Retain Your Talent Pool

How an EOR Platform Helps You Retain Your Talent Pool

In an era of global mobility and growing competition for skilled professionals, South African businesses are faced with the challenge of retaining their top talent. Playroll recently hosted an exclusive roundtable discussion to address the growing “Brain Drain” phenomenon in South Africa. HR experts and business leaders joined forces to explore the rising talent exodus, discuss viable retention solutions, and offer a fresh perspective on relocation.

read more

What Are the Benefits of Working Remotely for Employers?

The benefits of working remotely for employers can’t be overlooked in the modern business environment. Cost savings, increased productivity, employee satisfaction and retention, and giving employees the freedom to work from anywhere and spend more time with their families are just a few.

read more