Should I stay, or should I go? Contemplating the Great Resignation

Andrew Fisher, Head of Talent Services UK, AKKA & Modis Posted 04 May 2022

The Great Resignation may seem something of a buzzword, but the data speaks for itself, with the total number of resignations hitting a 20-year high at the end of 2021.

Indeed, many people are experiencing the phenomenon for themselves, as their colleagues leave for greener pastures. Such turnover often inspires employees to evaluate their own position, prompting many to consider: should I stay, or should I go?

While there’s nothing wrong with changing roles, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on what your motivations may be. To make an informed decision, you need to understand what appeals to you about a new role, or what puts you off the current one.

If you don’t take the time to really consider this, you may well find yourself disappointed with whatever decision you do make.

Identifying the problem

The first question to ask yourself is: why are you thinking about leaving? It could be that you’re looking for a change of pace, or perhaps you’re striving for the next rung on the career ladder.

Whatever the reason (or reasons), when looking for the ideal solution, you need to know where the ‘problem’ lies.

In some cases, the cause for leaving is apparent – relocation is a prime example. However, if you’re struggling to pin down a reason for your ‘itchy feet’, here are some things to think about when contemplating your next move:

Is now the right time?

Consider your CV. Professionally, is this the right time to be moving on? If there are new challenges and opportunities you have yet to experience at your current workplace, it could be a could reason to stay.

However, if you feel you have exhausted development opportunities in your present role, or there are no progression opportunities, then leaving might be the best bet. As the saying goes, "there is a huge difference between 10 years' experience and one year's experience ten times over".

Notably, the job market is currently witnessing a fierce demand for talent, offering candidates more options than usual. So, if you do want to try something new, the demand for skills is such that now is a good time to take the plunge.

The battle for talent and the transition to remote working has changed expectations of what an employer should offer – especially when it comes to work/life balance.

What are your ideal working practices?

For many, the reality is that remote/hybrid working provides you with more options. As such, established policies that enable you to determine your working practices are increasingly attractive.

Whether it’s a paid sabbatical, a four-day working week or flexible start times – evaluating your ideal working preferences can be helpful. If you want more flexibility than your current employer is offering, voting with your feet might be the best option.

Yet, for some, unpredictable working hours are par for the course. When you have a client paying for your time, it can be hard to prioritise flexibility. In such cases, it comes down to workplace culture – does your workplace value your time and effort?

What is your preferred workplace culture?

Workplace culture plays a big part in how you feel about your job. From feeling empowered to be yourself, to the support provided when you lose someone you love, our professional environment undoubtedly affects how we feel.

You can get an indication of the type of workplace culture a company has by looking at what behaviours it cultivates. Do they celebrate a weekly ‘win of the week’? Or do they support you to learn from your mistakes? What about facilitating diversity and inclusion?

According to a recent report, a toxic workplace culture is the main driver behind the ‘Great Resignation’. The main components of a toxic culture include failure to promote diversity, equity and inclusion; workers feeling disrespected; and unethical behaviour.

Companies with positive workplaces actively implement measures to facilitate such environments. Such mechanisms include encouraging employees to share feedback on how they’re feeling. This could range from staff surveys to regular managerial check-ins.

The learning and development programme implemented by a company also says a lot about organisational culture – are they committed to your professional progression? The investment in the upskilling and reskilling of employees – from both a time and cost perspective – has a huge impact on morale and motivation.

The question to ask yourself is whether you would miss the workplace culture in your current role, or are you leaving to find a better one?

What if the ‘problem’ could be fixed?

It’s worth thinking about whether you’d want to stay in your job if the problem was solved. You might be able to get your employer to put things right without having to resign.

Ultimately, it’s not really a case of should I stay, or should I go? It’s more about why should I stay, or why should I go?

For more information about how we can help you, when contemplating your next move, click here.