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10. 2. 2023

Staff Health

The Great Resignation Is The Great Revelation

| 2 min read

Written by Dr. Allan Love
Mar 18, 2022 11:39:09 AM

Leaders Need to Be Awakened


Thanks to Dr. Anthony Klotz (associate professor at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School), originator of “the Great Resignation,” we are proliferated with articles, research studies, podcasts, and, soon-to-be, books, on all things “Great Resignation.” In many ways, it has become a movement - of people leaving their jobs en masse over the past year. It’s even being called “The Big Quit” and the “Employee Exodus.” And based on a recent Forbes article, this movement will be around for a while, perhaps years.


Here are a few key data points to give you a sense of what’s up:


  • In 2021 68.9M work separations took place, 47.4M were voluntary (CNN); these are record-breaking numbers - check out this Quitters Market Interactive Chart that has tracked this data since 2001. In both November AND December 2021, over 4M people quit their jobs. 
  • In 2022 60% of employees plan to leave their job (WorkVivo) - some are calling this the “second wave” of the Great Resignation. 


Why is this happening? Many studies provide data and insights to answer this question (just Google, Great Resignation Why People Are Quitting). There are many reasons why people are leaving their jobs, but the majority can be captured under this header: Disengagement. Employees long for the “human experience” where well-being is attended to and addressed in the work context. Employees are not feeling empowered and equipped and valued and appreciated. And because of this, they feel marginalized and withdraw, resulting in an unhealthy work and staff culture - leading many to quit their jobs. 


What may be more disconcerting is a disconnect between leaders’ and employees’ perceptions of what’s happening and how to address it. And this may be the Great Revelation.  As Microsoft states in their Work Trend Index, “leaders are out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call.” (McKinsey & Company has created a tremendous visual demonstrating this disconnection, check it out Here - scroll down to Exhibit 5). For example, leaders will tip their hat to, “if you want buy-in, people need to weigh in.” Yet, according to Future Forum: “Most executives (66%) report they are designing post-pandemic workforce policies with little to no direct input from employees.” And Forbes discovered that “about 72% of executives, vice president and higher in rank, report their overall organizational culture has improved since the beginning of the pandemic. Only 21% of HR and 14% of Americans agreed with the executives’ assessment.”


Though the data is not as comprehensive, every indication from the research available and our work (at Chemistry Staffing) with pastors throughout the U.S. is that churches and church leaders are just as impacted by the Great Resignation (download our The Great Resignation PDF). Most recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled, “Houses of Worship Face Clergy Shortage as Many Resign During the Pandemic,” and earlier this year, Dr. James E. White stated that we need to “add pastors to the Great Resignation.” Similarly, the Resignation has also revealed the disconnect between church leaders and their staff, along with their congregation (what’s unique about the church world is not just that pastors are leaving their jobs, but members and attendees are leaving their church). Whatever your leadership structure is (board-led, pastor-led, staff-led, or congregation-led), we all have a ‘team leader-team participant’ dynamic in play.  What is critical is that the leader and participant relationship be aligned around each other’s needs and expectations, and this starts with the leader.  So as a pastor (or whatever your leadership role is), what are some steps you can take to bridge the gap that may exist (and has been intensified through all things, Covid and Great Resignation) between you and your team? Here are some key ones to consider:


  1. Integrate a holistic, well-being approach into the work climate - where you attend to people’s mental, emotional, physical, material, and relational needs. It’s about caring for the whole person, not just certain parts - and in doing so, we reduce significantly burn-out, stress, and conflict;
  2. Provide growth and development pathways for team members to expand their skill-set and work knowledge, and that tap into their passions;
  3. Create a safe and collaborative environment where people can provide input and receive feedback, and process conflict in a healthy and honoring manner;
  4. Allow for flexible workspace - giving people the freedom to work from home or a coffee shop. Some once said that the future is hybrid or ‘phygital’ (using both physical and digital spaces);
  5. Ensure people have the resources and guidance they need to succeed in their role, that there is clarity about their goals, how to achieve them, and where to go when they get stuck - that at the end of the day, they feel valued and championed!  


Perhaps this Great Resignation/Revelation could lead your team to a Great Reimagination, a re-architecting and redesigning of how you work and operate together - let the brainstorming and ideating begin! This kind of work environment is what people want to be a part of. If you’re going to retain and expand your current team, you cannot neglect these steps discussed.


As a recruiting and search organization working with pastors in the church space, we at Chemistry Staffing know first-hand how the Great Resignation has and continues to impact the church, especially in the area of staffing. As experienced guides, who are continually learning, we would love the opportunity to serve you whatever your staffing needs are.


To connect with Allan about finding a long-term healthy fit or to talk about church health, reach out to him via email here 


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