The term ‘The Great Resignation’ emanated from the pandemic with between 20-40% of employees in the USA and the UK considering leaving their current jobs.  In a recent survey in Ireland of 1,000 employees, 40% of them strongly agree that their future career lies outside their current organisation.  Do you or your employees belong in this 40%?

I am not sure I would call this the ‘Great Resignation’, but rather the ‘Great Reset’ – where people are consciously stopping to think and then reset the direction they want their lives to move in. This ‘Great Reset’ didn’t just happen overnight, the discontent has been building for years and the pandemic was the catalyst which brought it front and center in people’s lives.

But whatever term is applied, there appears to be a growing dissatisfaction with work practices resulting in lack of motivation and reduced employee engagement.  Employees are rethinking the role of work in their lives, not only in terms of things like remuneration, but also things like flexibility, purpose and balance.

This has caused increased pressure in organisations, regardless of size or ownership, to adapt their leadership and management practices to bring about the significant change required to motivate, engage and retain employees.  This is easier said than done, because by and large, leaders and managers are employees too!

“Discontent is the seed to change, because you’ll never change what you tolerate.”

Dr Myles Munroe

One area which now requires great focus is the motivation of your employees and this starts with motivating yourself. 

In the current world of work its important to know you cannot always control what’s going on around you, but you can always control what goes on inside you!  If you’re good at taking care of yourself, acting consciously and with purpose and seeing the good and the learning in everything, and benefiting from it, you will have a much clearer perspective on how your employees are doing. 

When you increase your employee motivation, you will also increase their engagement.

It can be quite difficult to define motivation as it means different things to different people, so when you first understand what motivation means to you, it is crucial that you understand what motivates each of your employees.  Take the time to simply ask your employees what motivates them – they will be surprised by the question, but it is important that you know what drives them!  It will be different for each of them but one thing is certain, they all want to be seen, heard – as in really listened to, and valued. 

Some of the most common motivators are:

  • Purpose
  • Role clarity
  • Feeling valued
  • Being treated with respect and dignity
  • Shared values – those of the organisation being aligned with those of your employees
  • Fairness
  • Having a relationship of trust with their manager.

Before you work on motivating your employees, motivate yourself – do some self-reflection as a leader of people and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do my staff look up to me or feel that I look down on them?
  • How well do I know my employees, their personal circumstances, their professional aspirations, hobbies and interests?
  • Do they consider me a good role model, leading by example?
  • Dow do they feel I treat them in public and do they consider me a good listener?
  • Do my actions speak louder than my words?
  • Am I a person of integrity and can I be trusted?

Whatever steps you take to support the motivation of your employees, make sure they have a direct input into deciding on their work goals for the year and to what extent hybrid working is suitable for and/or preferred by them.  It is important too to engage and consult with your employees about their work environment, their future career plans and to ensure they understand how their goals are aligned with the overarching goals of the organisation.  They need to understand the ‘context’ of what they are being tasked with and where they fit into the organisation.  This gives them a clearer perspective on the purpose of their role and responsibilities and ideally it will motivate them to apply themselves differently.

There is phenomenal change underway in the world of work now and as organisations change, so do people.  As part of the new Hybrid Working Model you may be developing for your organisation and/or team, you need to develop and maintain and environment where each employee can strongly motivate themselves and it is important to recognise that actively supporting employee motivation, is an ongoing process, not a task. 

To help you achieve this, use reliable and comprehensive systems which are established in the workplace e.g. remuneration systems, performance management systems, career path planning, staff development plans etc.  It is important to ensure the various systems and structures in place are clearly understood and they support the equitable treatment of all employees. 

I hope you find this beneficial and that it helps you in some way to motivate yourself and your employees.

If you would like to speak with me about your own ‘Great Reset’ or any challenges you are having in motivating your employees or guiding them through this post pandemic world of work, just email me at and I will be happy to schedule a short call with you.

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