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The Silent Saboteur: Understanding and Overcoming Employee Resignation for Enhanced Engagement

Employee engagement has been the focus of numerous studies and discussions over the past decade, but what happens when employees are not engaged? The typical term used is "disengagement," but a deeper look suggests that the real issue might be resignation—a state of passive acceptance and submission as defined by the dictionary. This mental state of resignation, if left unchecked, can lead to the act of resigning—a voluntary departure from one's position.

The phenomenon of the Great Resignation that swept across industries can be traced back to a buildup of this sense of resignation. The COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for many to reassess their lives and opt-out of jobs where they felt resigned, leading to an actual resignation.

A Lesson from The Great Resignation

The key takeaway from the Great Resignation is clear: when individuals feel resigned and have a choice, they will likely leave. This understanding provides a vital lesson for leaders and organizations looking to retain their talent.

Crafting the Formula for Engagement

We propose a straightforward formula for fostering engagement:

Engagement = Aspiration + Empowerment

This formula encapsulates the need for a compelling purpose—be it a vision, mission, or goal—that energizes individuals and propels organizations toward exceptional performance. Coupled with empowerment—the permission and ability to utilize one's talents and creativity—this formula ensures that employees are both motivated and capable of contributing meaningfully to their organization's objectives.

The Dual Pillars of Engagement: Aspiration and Empowerment

To truly engage employees, they must be on a mission that excites them and have the authority to execute their roles effectively. Without empowerment, even the most passionate employees can feel stifled and robotic. Conversely, empowerment without direction can lead to disarray, with individuals chasing personal comfort rather than a unified goal.

The post-pandemic era has seen a shift toward self-care, sometimes at the expense of organizational missions. However, balance is crucial, and this post aims to guide CEOs and leaders in cultivating a culture that prioritizes both aspiration and empowerment.

Replacing Resignation with Engagement for Better Results

Our discussion underscores the importance of replacing resignation with engagement by:

  • Energizing employees through aspiration: Inspiring your workforce with a clear and compelling purpose.

  • Empowering employees: Granting them the autonomy to use their creativity and judgment in service of the organization's goals.

By focusing on these two pillars, leaders can transform their organizations, encouraging accountability, providing support, and recognizing contributions, which in turn can lead to increased productivity and satisfaction.

Understanding the subtle dynamics of resignation and its impact on employee engagement is crucial for organizational leaders. By embracing the formula for engagement and addressing both the need for aspiration and empowerment, organizations can navigate the post-pandemic landscape with a reinvigorated workforce. The path forward is not just about attracting talent but cultivating an environment where resignation is replaced with a thriving culture of engagement, leading to better results and a more fulfilling workplace for all.

We dive into our Engagement Formula in our bestselling book, The Great Engagement, available on Amazon.


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