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by Uche Agomuo, Senior Partner at Altix Consulting Inc.


In 2021, the COVID 19 pandemic set off an unprecedented tidal wave of resignations in the US and across the globe. 4.51 million people resigned in November of last year, creating a historic turnover crisis that left positions unfilled and supply chains slow or breaking down across every industry sector. That trend clearly continues, and in March of this year resignations reached a new record 4.53 million according to a Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) conducted by the US Department of Labor Statistics.  

The cost of high employee turnover reaches far beyond the financial burden related to recruiting and replacing highly skilled or long-tenured workers. Lost productivity, supply chain issues, lower company morale, and employee “burn-out” causing negative company culture all contribute to lower bottom line with potentially devastating long-term effects. At a time when inflation is pushing cost of goods to new heights, companies simply cannot afford the additional high cost of labor turnover. 


While low pay was listed as a top factor for employee resignation in a survey conducted by the PEW Research Center in February 2022, the pandemic caused many employees to re-evaluate the quality of their lives and cited lack of advancement opportunities, work-life balance and feeling disrespected at work as their main contributing reasons for their resignations. As employees continue to express their desire to be part of high-performing teams, employers will need to shift their focus on people-first, flexibility by way of autonomy, fairness, and transparency to attract and retain their talent.


As companies must respond and shift to a long-term “people-first” focus, here is a list of tools that can help drive employee engagement and retention: 

  • Employee rewards systems (bonuses, PTO) 
  • Team performance reward systems (sabbaticals, bonuses, PTO) 
  • Creating a collaborative work environment where employees are encouraged to share ideas and where their input is considered. (Team advisory boards enabled to provide input to company policies and procedures) 
  • Employee surveys, suggestions boxes.
  • Invest in your employees with a focus on long-term development (training, multi-skilling, customized learning and growth path, mandatory coaching, and mentorship). 


Managers who motivate employees and advocate for their career paths, ensure that their employees are better connected to the company. 

Best Practices and tools to help your management succeed: 

  • Listen to your employees. (Ask for direct input on what is working and what is not)
  • Address concerns and start acting on them  
  • Show your appreciation. Company Slack channels where managers and/or peers and teams are encouraged to share public appreciation and recognition are effective tools to create a positive culture. 
  • Offer growth and opportunity. Outline clear career paths, implement programs for interns and new graduates, offer learning and development programs for existing employees and challenge them to continually develop their own professional paths. Employees who see and understand the possibilities for their own growth have little incentive to look elsewhere. 
  • Encourage a „corporate entrepreneurial“ mindset. Managers should create opportunities for employees to explore their entrepreneurial ambitions within the company and encourage them to express innovative business ideas for the corporation. 
  • Provide Inspiration. Communication and inspiration around the future of the company, the employee’s value within the company, and opportunities for development are key factors for employee engagement. (Ask your employees what would make them consider taking another job – the answers might surprise you and may be easy to address.) 

In conclusion, companies and their leadership must demonstrate the courage, willingness, and determination to develop a long-term vision to tackle the most important and opportunity-rich set of challenges the Great Resignation presented for corporations across all industry sectors: A long-term focus on employees-first, with investment in training, education, employee engagement, and growth opportunities. It is said that the only thing constant in life is change; we are at a pivotal point, where your company’s willingness to embrace your employees’ feedback presents an opportunity to transform your company’s performance and to drive your talent to transition from winners to champions.  

ABOUT UCHE AGOMUO: Uche has more than 30+ years of global engineering, manufacturing operations and supply chain management experience. He served in senior executive level positions for major fortune 50 companies in Africa. Uche began his career with fortune 500 companies in the US, and held several leadership positions internationally, including the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa.

ABOUT ALTIX: Altix is the middle-market international industrial champions’ management consulting partner, providing business strategy, technology and innovation, and operational excellence support, in the world of advanced manufacturing and international supply chain.

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