Is There a Crisis in Leadership
That’s Fueling the Great Resignation?

Ann Piccirillo
May 17, 2022

Is there a crisis in leadership?

The Great Resignation, a term coined by Anthony Klotz, an organizational psychologist at Texas A&M, highlights the 2020 “quit statistics” which are the highest recorded since this data started being collected in 2000. And, as we all know, the story is in the data. But where can we find the solution? 

Here’s one thing we do know: this migration we’ve been calling the Great Resignation is likely here to stay for employers who are unwilling to do some serious reflection in order to discover the root cause and action change. Why? Because the Great Resignation represents a fundamental shift in the mindset of employees and how they view the workplace. Mainly, do they want to fit their lives into old established corporate rules that mandate when and where they show up, how they are promoted, and how they are rewarded? Do they want to subscribe to policies written and adopted in the previous century? Do the historically underrepresented want to continue to have their stories told by leaders who have no real understanding of the struggles that are attached to their daily living? You could call this change the Great Transformation, and learning how to respond to it is critical to the future of your business.

How JDA TSG Avoided the Great Resignation

No matter what you call the Great Resignation, the solution must include the voice of the employee. Leaders must provide opportunities for employees to give feedback and then act as change agents for action transformation. Successful leaders are the ones who are catalysts for change, and coaches, rather than line managers. Successful leaders are the ones who lead with empathy and provide purpose by sharing a strong, compelling vision of the future that has a people-first focus.

At JDA TSG, people are at the center of all that we do. So, of course, our focus is on our people and what we can do to support them both at work and in their personal lives. We’ve worked hard to establish a people-first culture that responded early to the Great Transformation by being those catalysts for change and coaching our employees through some very difficult and uncertain times. Despite the uncertainty during the early months of the pandemic, we made sure that our employees and their families were safe. We made sure that our employees were secure in their jobs despite the uncertainty that the business world was mired in. We continued to find opportunities to develop people and give them the tools to lead from wherever they were. This, I believe, helped us avoid the fallout from the Great Resignation. As I have shared in other posts, learning and development are the anchors for keeping employees engaged. Not just skills training, although that is critically important, leadership development and providing opportunities outside of a person’s role or title to grow and develop. Here are some examples of the most recent initiatives we’re working on:

We Provide Opportunities for Personal and Professional Growth

We’ve built a culture that encourages growth—both professional and personal. Our focus this year is to work with our employee-led diversity team to create and deliver professional development programming such as:

  • How to Lead From Where You Are
  • Nonprofit Board Service Training
  • The Difference Between Coaching and Feedback and the Importance of Both
  • The Art of Making Decisions: Yes, It’s a Process

We also invite external speakers to deliver monthly wellness talks centered on topics such as “Caretaker Burnout” and “Managing Stress When You’re Always On” as well as monthly lunches and learns that include a variety of topics recommended by our employees. 

We Offer an Employee Assistance Program

To support our employees’ emotional and mental well-being, we encourage them to take advantage of our Employee Assistance Program. Services include free counseling sessions, techniques for managing stress, taking care of your mental health, overall health and wellness, child and elder care support, special needs help, and financial tools and planning support.  

We Help Employees Serve Their Communities

We partner with non-profit organizations to make a positive and lasting impact in our employees’ communities through JDA Cares. Our “Nonprofit Board Service” leadership development program will support our employees who want to take their service to a higher level and extend the arm of JDA Cares through stewardship. Our goal in offering programming like this is to meet our people where they are—at the intersection of work and life.

We Plan to Keep Our Managers

Managers are resigning in record numbers during the Great Resignation, but we avoid that problem by implementing strategies to retain our managers—primarily by treating them as leaders first and working to continually provide professional development opportunities. JDA TSG believes in investing in their growth and development in a meaningful and committed way. 

In our experience, there are three essential elements to transforming the manager experience into a meaningful leadership development experience:

  1. Help managers connect to other leaders across business units:  Schedule introductory meetings, and encourage a cadence of meetings to help managers understand the business of the organization, and help them create a cross-functional peer network.
  2. Develop managers’ competence in learning new skills: Address both hard and soft skills based on market demand and provide them with both a mentor and sponsor. A mentor to help them wade through new waters and a sponsor to provide them with opportunities to utilize these newly acquired skills.
  3. Help managers establish trust and credibility: Arrange opportunities for managers not just to meet with senior leadership, but to work on projects that give them exposure to senior leaders. It’s also important to provide opportunities for them to interact with associates in other parts of the organization and let them accompany you to meetings with clients and other stakeholders. 

These three crucial actions equip managers to achieve their goal—which is to contribute value to the purpose of the organization. Helping them to build connections, increase their levels of competence, provide them with meaningful exposure to senior leadership, and establish their credibility early on is not only inclusive and foundational for their future success, but it makes them feel like a valued member of the team. 

Final Thoughts

Is there a crisis in leadership? While a failure in leadership played a leading role in the Great Resignation, the roots of that phenomenon extend back several decades through one-size-fits-all policies, and lack of diversity, keeping women from getting back on their career track after taking time off to raise children…the list is endless. We know that the pandemic served as a microscope through which people evaluated their priorities and took control of finding meaning and purpose in their personal and professional lives resulting in a movement that led people to collectively question their career choices. The result is that many didn’t just resign –they walked away. We understand the importance of listening to people and partnering with our employees to help us grow into a world-class organization and, along with them, lead the way through this Great Transformation. Our success in this space positions us to help other companies who are struggling with the challenges of recruiting and retaining top talent to put an infrastructure in place to help solve these challenges quickly, efficiently, and successfully. 

We recognize that business process outsourcing is an important part of workforce planning. For smart leaders, it’s the transformational key for many companies that are faced with today’s challenges.

Contact JDA TSG to learn more about how we can work together to help your company become agile, flexible, and ready to continue growing.