The Covid aftershock? A tsunami of resignations

With the anticipated ending of Covid-19 restrictions towards the end of June, many leaders, businesses, and teams are asking themselves what they want the ‘new normal’ to look like. As restrictions on working in offices and commuting are lifted, the only thing it seems everyone can agree on is that things will look very different indeed. While many of our clients are asking questions about hybrid working styles, flexitime, and how to support their staff adjusting to new routines having worked remotely for 14 months, others are asking a much simpler and more significant question – do their staff still want to work there at all?

The pandemic has been a time of uncertainty and upheaval. Many people, regardless of their level of job satisfaction, may have felt content to coast, feeling it was not the right time to make a move. This, in conjunction with those individuals finally feeling able to pause and take stock of what they have learned about themselves, their priorities, and what they may want in the future, is likely to lead to a ‘tidal wave’ of resignations as we move back to normality. This is backed up by recent research from Prudential in March suggesting that almost 25% of workers were considering leaving their current role. Reasons vary from individual to individual and range from wishing to pursue a complete career change, to believing they have better opportunities elsewhere, to seeking out roles with greater flexibility.

This will only serve to ignite this latest front in the ongoing War for Talent, which will see fierce competition for top talent across all sectors. Businesses seeking to put their best foot forward to take advantage of the opportunities of a newly growing economy could be severely hamstrung if they fail to consider flight risk within their own workforce. It is more important than ever to understand how to protect high-performing talent, engage with them, and understand their priorities as you plot your return to ‘normal’. Clear communication of expectations on both sides can help limit some – but not all – of the casualties.

Those career-shifting, pandemic epiphany-driven, and pent-up resignations will still occur –  however it is vital for the ongoing success of any organisation that their leadership gets ahead of this expected wave. Development, succession planning, and talent pooling/pipelining are all tools which enable leaders to be prepared against future uncertainty. Developing the people you have acts as a shield against dissatisfaction and resignation, allowing you to put the best people in the best possible place for them. Succession planning enables leaders to plan three steps ahead, having guards and fail safes in place, should they be needed. Talent pooling and pipelining ensures you have a pool of warm, engaged talent available to you – vital when there is high competition for the top talent. Your talent pool should be warm, engaged and understand your EVP automatically, making you their preferred place to work. Norman Broadbent’s suite of tools in these areas enable our clients to not only be prepared for the unexpected, but also offer data- and fact-driven insights, de-risking the development, planning and hiring process.

For more information on this subject or to see how Norman Broadbent can help plan for turbulent times ahead contact Angela Hickmore at