Disgruntled Employees Starting to Quit as Economy Improves

By Jude Carter

Thus it begins. Workers are starting to quit. Fed up with wage cuts, furloughs, disappearing bonuses and little or no opportunity for advancement, employees are seeking greener pastures. Bolstered by more positive economic news, they’re feeling confident, even optimistic about new opportunities…elsewhere.

But what’s really going on here?

We’re coming out of a 2-year slog that has had everyone operating in fear mode, waiting for the other shoe to drop. As managers have cut jobs and redistributed responsibilities, most workers accepted it as a sign of the times. Telling themselves that they were “lucky to have a job”, they were secretly seething with frustration and anger, yet afraid to speak up (except of course when they were spewing venom into the blogosphere).

I suppose we’ve all had a “quitting fantasy”. You know, where you find yourself rehearsing your resignation speech, ticking off all the injustices and missed opportunities.

The cynics among us may say, “Great let ‘em go. When they get a taste of the real world, they’ll be sorry they left here!”

Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps it’s more of a wake-up call for us as managers.
When an employee walks out the door for good, aren’t they telling us that on some level they’ve given up hope? Hope that we can emerge from the slump stronger, more nimble, more profitable and become a place where there will be opportunity for growth. They’re looking to us to paint a picture of that future…and to tell them where they can fit in.

Don’t wait until the exit interview to be thinking about these things.

Sharon Toelle
May 28, 2010

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