The Great Resignation & the role of internal communications

By Darian Mavandad
January 14, 2022
5 min read
The Great Resignation is being caused by lack of communications

A result of this pandemic that perhaps no one saw coming was the Great Resignation. While unemployment skyrocketed in the early months of 2020, what followed was a massive shift in our workforce, with record numbers of employees voluntarily resigning. And this phenomenon shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, a New York Times article reported that November of 2021 was a record-breaking month for voluntary resignations—at 4.5 million in the U.S. 

Many employers are scrambling to keep their workforces happy, however, investing in free lunches, better coffee, and more company events may be missing the underlying reason entirely. And no, that underlying reason isn’t purely salary based, either. 

IC has over two decades of experience in the internal communications space, and according to our experts, there are two main reasons the Great Resignation is occurring: 

  1. Lack of flexibility for remote work
  2. Lack of open communication with management and colleagues

These two issues have one thing in common: both can be easily combated with a well-thought-out and rigorous internal communications strategy. Here’s how and why…

Navigating the Great Resignation means great flexibility for remote work

Greater work flexibility is the main incentive modern workers are looking for.

With remote work being at the top of almost every corporate employee’s wish list in 2022, it’s important not only to give workers the option to perform their tasks from home, but also have a clear strategy for maintaining open lines of communication to digitally lessen the physical boundaries.  

With The Great Resignation, we see both an issue with remote work and with communication, as mentioned above. And the two go hand-in-hand. For an organization to employ a productive hybrid-work model, there must be a strong internal comms strategy for it. 

But what exactly is “strong internal communications”? It’s more than just newsletters and Slack messages (although those can be key tactics in any good internal comms strategy). A solid internal comms strategy is what allows employees to keep up with colleagues and management during remote work, to be aware of internal news and successes, and to know exactly where all their resources are to effectively do their work. 

For example, if your organization does not have a “single source of truth”, then an employee will not always know where the most up-to-date resources are for their tasks. This can not only cause stress but also lower productivity. This may be one crucial reason that employees will jump ship and search for a job in a company with better internal organization. 

 On the flip side, offering remote work options to employees without an internal comms strategy for it would also be welcoming a great resignation. Remote work is more than just the physicality of the work environment, it is about keeping the work environment alive, and keeping connected to your culture wherever your employees may be. If an employee has the option, on paper, to work remotely, but none of the tools necessary to complete their tasks from their home office, then essentially that is an empty promise—and an effective way to drive up employee turnover and burnout. 

Communication: in these trying times, are you trying? 

Strong internal communications are directly tied to employee wellbeing. And when dealing with a workforce that has lived through a pandemic, wellbeing has quickly jumped to the top of the list of everyone’s most–important–workplace attributes.  

If an employee is not feeling like they are adequately informed about the ins and outs of their workplace, what motivation do they have to stay? The role of internal communications should be to tie the company together so that employees feel like they are part of a large community working towards a common goal—not cogs in a machine. 

Pro tip: the best place to store updated resources is on your company intranet.

The yin and yang of communications 

Worker stress is leading to a great amount of resignations.

Work stress is a key factor in why so many people are leaving their jobs. With the average worker showing the highest stress levels in history, it is important that your internal comms strategy balances between consistent communication and not overwhelming employees—which can lead to burnout and ultimately resignation.

To balance the line between creating a connected organization and overwhelming your employees, a mix of different communications tactics is important. Consider when a message needs to be pushed out to employees (e.g., in a Slack thread) and when messaging should be posted on a company intranet for employees to search for themselves. 

What’s more, you want to give as much attention to internal branding as you do towards external. Essentially, you want to create an environment where workers are inclined to stay because it is more than just a job and a paycheck. You want to create a sense of belonging and community. 

Organized communication is the best communication 

When it comes to push communications, you want to make sure they reach your targeted audience in the most efficient way possible. You also want to make sure your messages are reaching your employees on their preferred platforms—whether it be Slack, email, or another messaging service. Giving employees the option is a small way to let them be in control of their communications. Plus, it ensures that your employees are getting urgent/emergency notifications on a channel they frequently check. 

By having an organized push notification system, you ensure workers are kept in the loop on the going-ons of your organization. This again bolsters the sense of community that is so important in ensuring workers stay in their positions as the corporate world is hit with wave after wave of resignations. 

One last note 

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to keeping your employees happy, but, we know that with proper internal comms, you can find out exactly what you need to do to keep employees on your team. 

Furthermore, we know exactly how to help. Our team of experts can guide you through exactly what the most effective internal comms strategy looks like for you, and you can book your demo here to see our internal comms software in action. 

By Darian Mavandad

Darian has a degree from McGill University, and joined IC to empower internal communicators by creating content that inspires. In his free time, he loves traveling, reading, and skiing.