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Retaining talent in the era of Great Resignation

With more companies offering remote work opportunities that don’t require people to relocate, losing talent has never been easier.

Since the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in employees switching jobs or leaving the workforce completely. In many cases, employers play a significant part in their departure, as employees are taking decisions to leave based on how their employers treated or didn’t treat them during the pandemic. Employees who may already been considering quitting their organisation with poor company culture saw themselves pushed to a breaking point, choosing to leave unsupportive employers and transition to jobs where they feel more cared for.

The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation, also known as the Big Quit, is the ongoing trend of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs, from spring 2021 to the present, in response to the pandemic. According to a recent McKinsey study conducted in five countries (Australia, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States), 40 percent of employees are at least somewhat likely to quit their job in the next three to six months. 18 percent of the respondents said their intentions range from likely to almost certain. In addition, 53 percent of employers said that they are experiencing greater voluntary turnover than they had in previous years, and 64 percent expect the problem to continue, or worsen over the next six months. The top two reasons employees cited for leaving or considering leaving were that they didn’t feel their work was valued by the organisation (54 percent) or that they lacked a sense of belonging at work (51 percent).

While nearly 60 percent of employees in the McKinsey survey said they were unlikely to look for new jobs, it doesn’t mean they won’t start, and to address the problem, it’s essential to identify the root cause. Exploring metrics such as compensation, time between promotions, size of pay increases, tenure, performance, and training opportunities can help to identify trends and blind spots within the organisation and start focusing on areas where gaps are present. This approach can help leaders identify not just which employees have the highest risk of resigning, but also which of these employees can likely be retained with the right approach.

Improved employee engagement

To counteract the incoming wave of employee turnover, leaders more than ever need to focus on cultivating employee engagement. According to analytics by Gallup, highly engaged employees tend to produce substantially better outcomes at work, deliver better service to customers and help attract new ones, remain with their organisation longer than their less-engaged colleagues and experience less burnout in their roles.

To drive engagement, leaders need to demonstrate how an employee’s work is related to the organisation’s purpose. A purposeful mission is not enough to establish feelings belonging - employees need to see a connection between their day-to-day work and the organisation’s greater purpose. Leaders also need to spend time to understand their employees’ motivations and ambitions and identify where opportunities might exist inside the organisation to help them fulfil their ambitions. Assuring employees that their work and opinions are important is essential to enabling them to perform at its optimal level and delegating important tasks and projects is a highly useful means of demonstrating trust and empowering employees.

Managers account for 70 percent of variance in employee engagement, highlighting how critical it is for organisations to ensure that they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to bring out the best in themselves and their teams. At Acumen, we pride ourselves in offering development that gives managers practical tools to help solve real-life challenges. We offer an extensive menu of courses, workshops and coaching programmes, ranging from communication skills through to executive leadership development. In most cases, we design the interventions specifically for each client, but we also offer a wide range of off-the-shelf programmes for those who prefer this approach. For more information about our programmes please contact Simon at


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