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The four main reasons your employees are thinking of quitting

Qualtrics has published its 2022 Employee Experience Trends report, after speaking with 14,000 employees worldwide to learn about how their experiences at work have changed. You can download this here.

In this report, they rather helpfully list the top four reasons our “employees are teetering on the edge of quitting”. These 2022 trends are as follows:

  1. There will be “an exodus of leaders”, with women the first to go.

  2. Our people will “demand better physical and digital workspace”.

  3. A lack of progress within Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) will not be tolerated.

  4. Poor employee wellbeing is “a countdown to disaster”.

There will be an exodus of leaders, with women the first to go.

The report shows that, from 2021 to 2022, male senior leaders’ intent to stay in post dropped from 81% to 72%. For female senior leaders, it fell from 86% to just 68%.

Changing responsibilities and demands on leaders as the pandemic hit are blamed for this in the report. Leaders have had to become mental health champions and peer protectors, offering emotional support in an ever-changing and uncertain world. They have also had to become tech’ support as new (digital) ways of working were enforced on us all. Additionally, leadership roles have evolved to include driving diversity, ensuring people enjoy a sense of belonging (regardless of changes to work patterns), and supporting social justice issues. This is emotionally draining and demanding work. And let’s not forget that those expected to offer advice, guidance, reassurance, and support are usually going through the same challenges, heartaches and uncertainties as those they are supporting.

“As the pandemic persisted, employees’ expectations shifted – and keeping up with employee demands has caused many leaders to burn out and leave.”

- Qualtrics report

The advice given in the report is:

  • to give leaders the resources (in terms of technology and talent) to “better listen to and act on employee feedback”,

  • to provide training and resources to facilitate more inclusive behaviour and practices, as well as with the tough conversations that can come with inclusion and wellbeing,

  • to reassess targets and productivity to avoid burnout across teams.

Our people will demand better physical and digital workspace.

We know that hybrid working, to some degree or other, is here to stay. 35% of employees surveyed said that “going back to the office full time would make them more likely to look for a new job”.

The shift for many employees is that they now see the office as a place that’s available for them for “intentional collaboration and socialisation”, rather than somewhere they are expected to be during working hours. This means that they want technology that facilitates communication and collaboration, and support in transitioning to these new ways of working.

“34% of people did not agree that there was open and honest communication at their company.”

- Qualtrics report

A review of tech (hardware and software) and updating our internal comms are fundamental if we avoid losing talent from our organisations.

A lack of progress within Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) will not be tolerated

There was, quite rightly, a focus on DEIB within organisations long before the pandemic hit. But with the changes that were imposed upon us, and with “the great resignation” looming large, the emphasis on these considerations has only grown more. The Qualtrics report states that 70% of employees think their organisations have made sufficient progress towards greater DEIB. That doesn’t sound too bad, until you consider that it means almost a third don’t. In fact, 33% believe their senior leaders are not genuinely committed to building a diverse and inclusive company. Perhaps unsurprisingly (but still rather worryingly), those most likely to face discrimination, such as transgender or non-binary colleagues, view their employers’ DEIB efforts much less favourably.

It's vital that DEIB is a part of our listening programmes and a focus in our employee surveys, meetings and townhalls. Senior leaders must commit to real and tangible change, as empty promises will lead to empty desks.

Poor employee wellbeing is a countdown to disaster

Across the board, wellbeing and resilience have taken a hammering since the turn of the decade. On top of the personal worries, stresses and unease that came with the pandemic, working hours have bled into homelife as the boundaries that separated home from work disintegrated. Some also found themselves taking on additional work for colleagues on furlough or let go for cost-saving purposes in the uncertain new world.

“People are also burnt out from a workplace that doesn’t support, sustain or restore wellbeing.”

- Qualtrics report

The report claims that 29% of those surveyed won’t always take a sick day when they need one, with 61% of those citing a heavy workload as the reason.

Their advice is:

  • To practice what you preach, with leaders seen to be working reasonable hours and treating their mental health as a priority, whilst encouraging everyone else to do the same.

  • To open-up. “Employees say the number one thing holding them back from taking care of their mental health is that leaders don’t talk about it enough at work.” Leaders sharing their own struggles and survival tips can be incredibly powerful in removing that stigma and creating a culture that is more focused on mental wellbeing. It’s also great for building trust in leadership.

  • To encourage a culture of wellbeing by “creating the structure around how, where, and when work gets done” and encouraging all employees to follow this and treat themselves more kindly.

From Covid to war in Europe to political turmoil at home and a spiralling cost of living crisis… our resilience is being tested like never before. Our priorities are changing. Our employees’ willingness to tolerate an experience at work which doesn’t support them or doesn’t feel good is shrinking. They don’t want a return to pre-pandemic ways. It’s up to leaders to listen and act, or face that mass exodus of talent.


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