It’s no secret: The global workforce is restless, dissatisfied, and on the hunt for work that is meaningful, fulfilling and provides maximum work-life integration. As a result, an increasing number of employees are seeking roles and organisations that can meet these requirements.
The Great Resignation is a term that was coined by Professor Anthony Klotz in 2021 to describe the substantial number of people who are deciding to quit their jobs for various reasons triggered by their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic and their organisation’s response to it.
Key Drivers of the Great Resignation
Kumar (2021) proposes non-economic factors are important to understand the Great Resignation. Employees, post-pandemic, have reassessed their priorities and are now in search of a higher level of work-life integration.
Toxic corporate culture is ranked as the most reliable predictor of employee resignations (Sull et al., 2021). In addition to toxic corporate culture, job insecurity, failure to recognise performance and poor response to the pandemic were all factors that contributed to an individual’s decision to quit.
Closer to home, the picture is the same. Remchannel, the rewards management platform of Old Mutual, verified that South Africa’s workforce has also been affected by the Great Resignation, citing that resignations have increased by more than 16% during the Covid pandemic.
Recent studies indicate that both blue- and white-collar employees are leaving their jobs. (Kumar, 2021). Kumar (2021) further asserts that, contrary to popular belief, it is not only highly skilled employees who are deciding to leave their jobs. Employees working in lower-skilled jobs in the construction and hotel and leisure industries are also part of the Great Resignation.
A study conducted in 2021 by Adobe titled “Happiness, Balance and the Future of Time” found that a significant number of their Gen Z respondents were considering a new job soon. What’s interesting about the results of this study was that it was Generation Z – people born between 1997-2012 – who felt that their work-life balance was unsatisfactory and that they were not happy with their current jobs.
Putting value back into the Employee Value Proposition
An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is the balance of the rewards and benefits that are received by employees in return for their performance at the workplace (Deshpande, 2019).
An EVP is unique to every organisation as it is designed to attract and retain targeted candidates to the organisation. It is the promises an employer makes to its employee in exchange for their expertise, skills, and knowledge.
The main elements of an Employee Value Proposition are:
This component is about how satisfied your employee is with his or her salary, benefits, bonuses, and other perks offered by the organisation. However, compensation may not be as important to some as others, and the level of importance may differ depending on the employee’s age, personal preferences and life stages. For example, younger people may view career advancement as more important than compensation, and a working mother may value flexibility over a lucrative salary
2. Work-Life Integration
Work-life integration has become one of the most important factors in the Employee Value Proposition in recent times. Employees are actively seeking employers whose policies advocate and encourage flexible work hours, work-from-home options, and favourable paid leave benefits.
Career stability and opportunities for growth, development and career progression are all offers that can sweeten the deal for a prospective employee. An organisation’s learning and development, coaching and mentoring, and leadership incubators can be attractive for a prospective employee.
This has to do with how the employee experiences their work environment. In other words, is the work environment technologically and physically agreeable? Company culture also plays an important role here. Every company has a unique culture which is a result of the values and behaviours that are instilled through leadership. A positive company culture will contribute to a positive employee experience of the work environment.
Does your organisation promote employee wellbeing? Do the company’s beliefs and values place importance on mutual respect, team spirit, and support for one another? These are just some of the questions that an organisation’s Employee Value Proposition should address.
Creating an inspiring and authentic Employment Value Proposition can be a daunting undertaking, but applying a step-by-step approach can make it easier.
- Evaluate: Start by evaluating what you already offer your employees. Take into consideration current issues that might influence your employee’s decision-making such as leave benefits or flexible work hours.
- Engage: The best way to understand your employee’s needs is to talk to them. This can be done using surveys and focus group discussions. Information can also be mined using data collected from new employee interviews and exit interviews.
- Design: Use the information collected from the previous steps to outline your EVP. Using the basic elements of the EVP discussed above, you can create an EVP that is tailor-made to your organisation and your employees.
- Put it down in words: Your EVP should stand out from the competition. It should be clear, compelling, and inspirational. The purpose of your EVP is to attract and retain the best talent.
- Promote your EVP: An EVP is not just a document or a policy to be hidden away. Promote your EVP using your internal newsletters or town hall meetings. Make sure all line managers understand this EVP so that they can create it as a lived reality in their teams. Use social media to promote your EVP externally, via platforms such as LinkedIn. Your EVP should be the main method of attracting the right talent for your organisation during the Talent Acquisition process.
- Review your EVP: Use people data analytics to measure employee engagement and satisfaction. Regular reviews will ensure that you are keeping up with your employees’ expectations and can make changes to your EVP accordingly.
The Great Resignation is proof of what happens when an employer loses touch with its employees’ needs by failing to listen. Or when an employer is unwilling to change. A unique, honest and authentic Employee Value Proposition is thus crucial in the post-COVID, ever-changing world of work to attract and retain the best talent and beat your competition.
By Shamini Chetty (University of Johannesburg)
Abhinav Chugh. (2021). What is ‘The Great Resignation’? An expert explains. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/11/what-is-the-great-resignation-and-what-can-we-learn-from-it/
Adobe Document Cloud. (2021). The Future of Time – A global study fielded by Adobe Document Cloud. Retrieved from
Amruta Deshpande. (2019). Sustainable Employee value proposition: A Tool for Employment Branding. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331320052_Sustainable_Employee_value_proposition_A_Tool_for_Employment_Branding
Donald Sull, Charles Sull, & Ben Zweig. (2022). Toxic Culture Is Driving the Great Resignation. Retrieved from
Krishna B. Kumar. (2021). The Great Resignation: American Workers Suffering a Crisis of Meaning. Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/blog/2021/10/the-great-resignation-american-workers-suffering-a.html
The Mindspace Team. (2021). Three trends for employee wellness and your company’s bottom line. Retrieved from https://www.oldmutual.co.za/corporate/resource-hub/all-articles/three-trends-for-employee-wellness-and-your-company-bottom-line/
Todd Gerber. (2021). Work-life balance in jeopardy: New Adobe research reveals the impact COVID-19 has on our time. Retrieved from https://blog.adobe.com/en/publish/2021/08/26/new-research-from-adobe-document-cloud-shows-how-pandemic-is-changing-our-relationship-with-time#gs.odne5a