Leaders must pay extra attention to employee engagement and workplace flexibility, but even the best organizations must also support employees who choose to leave, writes Julie Winkle Giulioni. “Giving people the opportunity to return if things don’t work out is not magnanimous — it’s smart,” she writes.



Texas A&M University professor Anthony Klotz inspired considerable consternation and conversation when he introduced us to the term “great resignation” to describe his belief that, “When there’s uncertainty, people tend to stay put, so there are pent-up resignations that didn’t happen over the past year.”

Since then, countless studies, articles and workplace experts have weighed in on all sides of the brewing war for talent.

While some contend that the trend has been overblown and that the number of resignations will not be so great, it’s hard to refute the record 4 million workers who resigned in April. Or the reality facing the hospitality industry that finds itself woefully understaffed and offering significant signing bonuses for bartenders and baristas.

Whether the 2021 wave of resignations turns out to be great (or not so great,) the reality is that organizations have always faced unwanted turnover and will continue to. But it’s within an individual leader’s ability to at least stem attrition — and keep its negative effects to a minimum — if they practice these ABCs.

Assess your employees’ engagement level — frequently

Ongoing dialogue keeps the lines of communication open and offers an early warning system for leaders who are willing to take advantage of it. Checking in with people regularly strengthens relationships (and helps with retention since, as Marcus Buckingham writes, “People leave managers, not companies”).