The Great Resignation is a labour phenomenon that is keeping business leaders awake, particularly those on the verge of transformational M&A deals. Known also as the Big Quit or Great Attrition, the Great Resignation defines the surge of employees choosing to leave their old jobs behind in pursuit of (perceived) greener pastures. And while sourcing and retaining skilled talent has been a struggle long before this latest mass exodus, this surge in resignations is driving pressure for higher wages and compounding workforce issues for the many businesses experiencing growth.

No industry is immune from the Great Resignation. Based on KPMG in Canada research, Canada's financial services sector has experienced a 9% voluntary turnover, while the fields of professional services (9.9%), public services (10.5%), and healthcare / life services (10.7%) are also feeling the loss.

The threat of the Great Resignation looms large over many organizations. For those undergoing an M&A transaction, however, the timing could not be worse. At the same time businesses are attempting to maintain value and put their best foot forward, they're also contending with skill and knowledge gaps left by critical employees who have burnt out, pursued other passions, or been lured away by competing employers.

As M&A obstacles go, talent churn and attrition are nothing new. Yet, as the stats indicate, keeping teams intact during a major organizational change requires a renewed focus on retaining and engaging critical talent.

Why employees leave

Many employees are finding no shortage of opportunities for higher pay and greater benefits. There is a pressure to drive wages upwards; for example, sign-on bonus packages are becoming more and more expected in this labour market.

Physical and mental health have become a focus over the past two years. Emphasis is also being placed on benefits related to life insurance, vacation times, and pensions. As such, workers are taking a closer look at their basic benefits package to ensure they and their families are well taken care of.

The pandemic made a strong argument for a healthy work-life balance. As such, employees are seeking positions with flexible working hours that allow them to care for themselves and their family.

Rampant job loss and career disruptions in recent years have made talent cautious about committing to any one employer. Our research indicates that 19% of white-collar workers and 16% of blue-collar workers would consider changing jobs if they could work for a company that offers better job security.

Skilled employees have options and are less willing to stick it out at companies that don't align with their values.

Preventative solutions

Preventing the loss of critical knowledge is key. So too, is preventing the loss of talent to start. This is where HR can play an integral role in helping corporations understand why their employees might leave and taking actions to keep them on the team.

First, it's essential to view M&A transactions through a people lens. People are not widgets; they're not emotionless assets to be traded or equipment to be moved from one office to the next. They are individuals with their own values, aspirations, and limits who now have the upper hand in the job market and will speak with their feet if they aren't happy in their roles.

In short: managing and addressing the employee experience prior to a deal can go a long way to retaining teams.

To learn more about the five preventative solutions organizations should implement to retain talent and take care of their employees, read the full article below:

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