Millions Joined the ‘Great Resignation,’ Why Did This Worker Stay?

No one was ready for the “Great Resignation,” a pandemic-triggered phenomenon that drove businesses worldwide to rethink the way they manage people. Now that the dust is slowly settling, we get a clearer picture of why it happened and why businesses need to commence the next phase –  a “Great Retention” revolution.


Why quit when I’m loving it?

When millions of people across the globe decided to take their talents to other organisations in 2021’s “Great Resignation” phenomenon, Manila-based Ryan Rivera chose to stay with his job, doing application support for a US-based mortgage firm as a member of an offshore outsourcing provider.

happy employees at EmaptaThough working as an outsourced employee, Ryan never felt like an outsider with the way their American managers treat them. Even from miles away, he feels like he is part of the core manpower of the client he supports.

“Even before the pandemic, our managers would visit us here in Manila quarterly. They join us in meetings, take us through training, and even bond with us outside work, eating out for lunch or just hanging out to play bowling,” Ryan recalled.

One thing that really surprised Ryan was when no less than the CEO of the US-based mortgage firm visited them in Manila. He said it was his first time talking with a high-level business executive, so he made the most out of it and tried to learn as much as he can.

When the pandemic came, their managers would continue to be hands-on, checking on them every week through virtual catchups, and letting them join company-wide events during special occasions, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Ryan also takes advantage of the outsourcing provider’s perks, such as free access to gym and fitness coaches, which helped him remain in shape physically and mentally during the stretch of the pandemic. He even won a prize in a fitness contest sponsored by the company.

“Working out before taking my shift keeps me productive every single day. It pumps my blood up, I feel ready to work,” Ryan shared. “I even gained new friends because our coach would introduce me to the other employees working for different clients.”

READ MORE: A Multibillion-Dollar Problem That Outsourcing Solves: Workplace Well-Being


In the pursuit of balance

The empowering culture Ryan gets from both his US and local employers allows him to find the balance he needs to live a fulfilling life while being successful in his chosen career, which is one of the top things that employees were looking for when they joined the “Great Resignation” bandwagon.

The Big Quit was a manifestation of how a lot of managers from all over the world failed to establish a good working relationship with their people, said Vince Castano, head of Philippine-based offshore outsourcing firm Emapta, the company where Ryan works.

It was a long time coming, he added, and the pandemic might have just been the final straw that pushed people to leave. After all, when the pandemic came, there was an air of uncertainty, and people were able to rethink their priorities and muster enough courage to act on them.

work life balance

The old structures of work finally showed some cracks, and many businesses were forced to reevaluate their process as well, with many organisations adopting a more people-oriented approach when it comes to employment and retention.

Multiple studies show that more than fair wages and empowering benefits, people want work-life balance, solid company culture, and belongingness – things that enable them to dream bigger and not feel like they are just a warm body hired to do some work.

The question now becomes this: How willing are organisations, especially the old and established ones, to let go of the traditional frameworks and adopt a people-centred approach to doing business? How willing are companies to invest in this shift of mindset?


Starting with the small, doable changes

Now that the curve is flattening for the “Great Resignation,” businesses should expect more people to look at their portfolio, trying to see if that’s the environment they want to be in. This is a big opportunity for companies to restart and prepare a management structure geared towards a “Great Retention.”

But how can one begin? Changes, after all, can be disruptive, and not everything can be done all at once. While it is true that changes can be turbulent, it is also true that there are small doable tweaks every business can do without having to halt important business processes.


Retrain your managers

Like the adage says, people do not leave their jobs, they leave their managers. Clearly, the “Great Resignation” was a huge sign that there is a need to reorient how people management is done, especially in terms of establishing working relationships.

Surveys would show that a lot of managers around the globe lacked the empathy needed to connect with their staff. This means the training for managers must be geared towards soft skills, mentorship, and building a sense of community among the workforce.

More than technical skills, the training should put focus on listening, problem-solving, interpersonal communication, motivational speaking, and other similar soft skills. Having a manager with solutions-based empathy would take your organisation to new heights.


Craft a great retention model

Clearly, what managers failed to work in the last few years was retention. Old models have a complacent concept of retention, where managers would only step up in times of crisis. But retention is not just convincing people to stay, it’s proactively establishing relationships.

Retention starts the moment you onboard an employee, which is a great way to communicate the role a new hire will play in the growth of the company. From the onset, new hires should feel they belong and it’s always a matter of how good you can communicate with them.

Part of retention is setting up structures where you can provide health, wellness, and career growth support to your people. Establish open channels of communication and foster a culture of transparency to empower everyone to express their ideas, thoughts, and feedback.

READ MORE: Improving Employee Engagement with a Fool-Proof Plan


Review compensation packages

A big part of retention is the compensation and benefit packages. When the pandemic came, people started to look for companies that offer health benefits that extend to their families. Maybe the organisation can make post-pandemic benefit packages to support the people.

A fair and empowering compensation is not just a way for you to attract employees, it is a non-verbal means of communicating to your people that they are important to you, and you are willing to go beyond the average salary to help them achieve their dreams.

Aside from compensation, you may want to reassess the career paths for the roles you need. When people join your organisation, it is important to remember that they did not accept your offer to do the same job for the next decade, as they want to climb up the ladder and grow.


Assess hybrid capabilities

The hybrid work setup is the child of the pandemic. Whether you like it or not, hybrid work is here to stay, and the majority of the people looking for jobs are looking for companies that have already adopted the hybrid model.

Of course, shifting to a hybrid model is not something you do in a snap, so you may want to begin by assessing your current capabilities. Check your physical and IT infrastructures, the equipment you have, and the things you need to improve.

In these cases, you will need help from experts in hybrid work solutions, especially those in the field of IT security, cloud computing, human resource, and others. A quick research online would show you a lot of successful hybrid models from which you can take some inspiration.


Experts and providers are ready to help

Outsourcing providers are among the early adopters of the hybrid work model because most of them have already developed and well-equipped remote work structures. They also happen to be experts in helping businesses in times of scaling and transition.

Many businesses have leveraged outsourcing to cut costs and focus on core business functions — a strategy that enables them to reach targets faster and in a more efficient manner. Outsourcing also gives companies access to global talent pools, which is important in a time of talent shortage.

One way outsourcing can help businesses that are trying to adapt to the new world of business and people management is by providing human resource services. Outsourcing providers offer services from sourcing, screening, to onboarding.

Businesses can also benefit from outsourcing employee benefits and compensation management, coaching, training, professional development, and performance management, as well as culture and transformation management.

Outsourcing providers have access to professionals in handling people management, as well as the latest technologies to support them in their tasks. Because providers source talent from countries with lower costs of living, like the Philippines, businesses can save labour costs.

If you are interested in how to successfully build a team through outsourcing, we have listed down a few trade secrets to help you start your journey. Outsourcing can be an untapped strategy that can help you thrive in the new normal of work and rebuild from the ruins of the “Great Resignation.”


Emaptais an Australian-owned and managed knowledge-based staffing platform operating across the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Vietnam. For over a decade, we have helped companies resolve their pain points and adapt to ever-changing market needs by providing access to a wide range of talent, office solutions, and more.