Report Finds Companies Are Underestimating the “Great Resignation”

There is a very palpable employee turnover threat but employers are underestimating it, according to new research. 

This article was originally published by Allwork.Space.

A new study from integrated communications agency Zeno Group found that companies are underestimating the employee turnover threat. The study found that even satisfied, contented workers are open to new opportunities, with almost half (48%) actively searching for new roles.

The findings should be a wakeup call for companies. News about the “great resignation” has focused on dissatisfied and unengaged employees, as well as employees unhappy with post-pandemic remote work policies. The findings from Zeno’s study are important because they bring to light the fact that even satisfied and engaged employees are willing to leave their current employer.

Zeno’s study “A New Mindset at Work: The Evolving Workplace in 2021” surveyed more than 4,000 workers in four markets – the U.S., U.K., France, and China – to explore the changing relationship between employees and employers.

Unfortunately, the study found that the majority of organizations are not aware that their employees are looking for new opportunities. Zeno Group found that only 21% of respondents believe their employer is aware that many workers are actively searching for new career opportunities.

Key Findings

  • 48% of happy employees report being open to new opportunities.
  • Respondents said interesting work (79%), opportunities to grow (78%) and the ability to move within the company (73%) ranked high among their expectations for a workplace that would engender their loyalty.
  • Across generations, US millennials reported they are far happier with their jobs and “work life” than any other US generation. While in China the opposite is true: 69% of people 55+ rated “work life” highly compared to 47% of Gen Z respondents.
  • 54% of all employees believe that now is the time for a company to consider making major changes for their employees.
  • 72% of employees do not want their “work life” to go back to how it was before the pandemic.

New Work Environments, But On “Our Terms”

The study found that not only does today’s workforce demand a new working environment, but they also expect it to be on their terms.

According to Zeno Group, employees want the flexibility and policies they’ve come to value as a result of the pandemic:

  • Flexible schedules
  • Company-sponsored technology and tools that allow them to work remotely
  • Mental health awareness
  • For their policies to be accommodating to parents.


Because workers want to spend more time with their families, according to the study. Across all 4 surveyed markets, Zeno Group found that protecting the family has become the top rising value for employees.

Values are important because they could be the deciding factor for an employee to stick around or search elsewhere for career growth.

In the US, 76% of Gen Z workers would be willing to accept a job earning less money if it was for an employer that shared their personal values and had a strong sense of purpose. Similarly, across all markets, over 80% of employees would be more likely to work at a company that lives by a clear and strong purpose.

While purpose and values are important to the modern workforce, it is lacking for many. Only 50% of respondents felt their company lived by a clear and strong purpose and over 70% of respondents believe they would perform better at their jobs if they had a clear understanding of their company’s mission and values.

Opportunities for Employers

“Leaders risk losing top talent if they don’t take a hard look at the opportunities they provide for meaningful work and growth as well as their workplace practices, such as flexible work arrangements,” said Mark Shadle, Zeno’s Managing Director of Global Corporate Affairs.

Companies need to wake up and realize that there is a very palpable employee turnover threat.

To reduce the probability of losing talent and increase their chances of attracting new hires, companies need to connect with employees on a deeper level—by sharing a clear mission and vision, and by taking steps that make that mission and vision come to life.

Take, for example, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I).

Zeno’s study found that DE&I and company purpose are deeply intertwined. In the US, the UK, and China, 50% of employees ranked DE&I as one of the most important elements of a purposeful company. Unfortunately, employees are hesitant to give their current employer strong marks on DE&I efforts.

Beyond purpose and shared values, employees want to have more and better growth opportunities if they are going to stay with their current employer. Professional growth and career mobility remains the top priority for employees. Unfortunately, a significant number of workers are dissatisfied with growth opportunities and advancements available to them.

Companies hoping to attract and retain top talent need to put career mobility at the center of their brands. Click here to read 5 effective retention strategies for the post-COVID world.

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