Embrace the Great Resignation and just let people quit


It appears no firm is secure from the Great Resignation. The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed that greater than 3.6 million people quit their jobs in Might. And there isn’t but an finish in sight: A report by Monster.com signifies {that a} whopping 95% of employees are contemplating leaving their jobs.

Freshworks is my ninth Silicon Valley tech firm and it’s clear that our give attention to workers has a really constructive impression. We’ve got a demonstrably robust tradition with excessive worker satisfaction scores, a popular, inspiring CEO, and robust ratings on Glassdoor. We’ve carried out “Fri-yay” days off each six weeks and introduced our #AndIt’sOK program to assist workers deal with the further stresses of juggling stay-at-home life. We’re doing all the things we are able to to encourage and retain our expertise.

And but, we nonetheless have attrition. It’s not excessive, it’s definitely not any worse than another of the myriad firms in our trade, but it surely’s actual and it’s one thing we discuss as a management crew. We all know the value of dropping nice expertise and the value concerned find, hiring, and onboarding new expertise. In my thoughts, expertise is the single most necessary think about firm success. Dropping key gamers slows work and adjustments the tradition—and that’s hardly ever a superb factor.


Turnover is nothing new, nor are company retention methods. However the Great Resignation and excessive turnover that’s occurring at this time throughout industries is a special phenomenon that requires a special strategy.

What if as an alternative of combating towards the Great Resignation, we embraced it? Our CEO Girish Mathrubootham has a mantra about management. He says we should always “optimize for happiness.” It’s a stark departure from optimizing for effectivity, or productiveness, or hours clocked. The idea is that assuming you’ve employed the proper expertise, they are going to thrive if they’re glad of their roles. Put merely, glad workers carry out. Oxford College’s Saïd Enterprise Faculty found that glad workers are 13% extra productive.

A lot of at this time’s job seekers usually are not sad with their present firms. They merely want a change. Throughout the globe, we’re approaching sixteen months of Zoom calls, homeschooling, and confinement. We will’t see our groups, can’t be with clients, and our eyes are blurry. Zoom theme gatherings and beneficiant trip insurance policies aren’t sufficient for many. And for others, transitioning to WFH has been a hit, and the prospect of transitioning again into the workplace is just not reasonable. As of late people are reflecting extra deeply on what actually issues and many are realizing they want new inspiration. We’re not sad with our firms, we’re just burnt out.

Sadly, we attempt to battle these new and totally different emotions from workers with our previous methods. When somebody is prepared for a change, the commonplace response is “What’s it gonna take to make you keep?” If I’m flat burned out, the phrase “keep” is a dialog ender. It additionally assumes that extra money or a promotion is what they search when no quantity of comp improve can repair burnout. In actual fact, throwing cash and titles at a resigning worker typically produces extra hurt than good. You’re rewarding a demotivated participant who might keep for a number of months however remains to be prone to go away. At the similar time, you’re setting new comp expectations for these remaining, to not point out exemplifying the fallacious conduct in learn how to acquire a increase.

Welcoming the Great Resignation means actually listening to our workers who’re checked out, drained, or just want to combine it up a bit and serving to them discover new inspiration. After all, we should always do what we are able to to continually encourage our groups, however fairly than icing people out once they give their discover what if as an alternative:

  • We rolled out the crimson carpet?
  • Acknowledge that careers are lengthy and cheered them on as they transfer into larger positions that will not be accessible to them at their present firm, hoping to someday work with them once more?
  • Have a good time that their departure provides us the probability to advertise somebody inside, optimizing for the happiness of our broader workforce?
  • Perceive what they search and maybe assist them discover new inspiration in a special function inside the firm?

After we hearken to our crew members with an empathetic ear and optimize for worker happiness as an alternative of our personal profit, we’d come to a way more mutually useful answer. As an alternative of asking how we are able to make them keep, if we ask, “What are you seeking to do subsequent?” and actually hearken to the reply we are able to be taught loads. Typically the dialog results in a brand new function in a special a part of the firm that reinvigorates them. I’ll lose their skills from my very own division however retain them at the firm and unfold recent and educated contributions throughout groups. A win for each.


And when the dialog ends with the worker merely being able to go, we are able to nonetheless optimize for worker happiness with an excellent consequence. I got here to my function at Freshworks just a number of months in the past. I cherished my former firm the place I had spent a decade, however I wanted a brand new problem to develop. I do know they’d have appreciated me to remain, however they have been gracious and respectful, and we parted on wonderful phrases. I didn’t get iced out. I used to be celebrated for the contributions I’d made. In consequence, I nonetheless root for his or her success and now that I’m in a brand new function and hiring like loopy, I’ve resisted trying to tug key expertise from their groups.

For them, there have been additionally silver linings. A girl on my crew whom I’d mentored for a superb a part of her profession moved into my government function. She deserved it, and my leaving made room for her upward mobility. I couldn’t have been extra thrilled for her, and I knew that she would add worth in ways in which maybe I hadn’t. Even higher, the firm celebrations in assist of her promotion outshined any feelings about my departure and her totally different management traits injected new enthusiasm throughout the group. Worker happiness abounded, and the enterprise doesn’t seem to have skipped a beat.

If we embrace the alternative the Great Resignation presents to reap the benefits of widespread trade turnover, we are able to add recent, new expertise to our personal groups. In the final 5 months, I’ve made 5 (!) management hires which might be already including phenomenal experience to the crew. All of those new hires got here from nice roles at stellar firms however have been prepared for one thing new. Their impression is rapidly being felt throughout the groups, and they’re respiratory recent concepts and inspiration throughout the group in impactful methods, perhaps even serving to to retain extra expertise on their groups.

In a dialog with my CEO final week we contemplated, “If each firm optimized for worker happiness, think about what a greater world it will be.” As an alternative of combating the nice resignation by focusing solely on learn how to retain workers who’re able to go, we have now a golden alternative to guide with empathy and have fun new chapters. We will proceed our commonplace retention practices, however people will nonetheless go away. So maybe we shouldn’t battle so laborious and as an alternative attempt to see the new methods our people and our enterprise may each prosper, to not point out the broader world.