Employee retention

Finding Opportunities to Turn 'The Great Resignation' into 'The Great Recognition'

Connie Du
August 4, 2021
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We’ve been hearing a lot about “The Great Resignation,” lately (along its derivatives—”The Great Reshuffle,” YOLO Economy, etc.)! Not gonna lie, it freaked us out a bit. 😳

Employee retention and turnover continue to be a struggle for many companies. We often talk about epiphany moments on the blog, and in our opinion, there’s no larger epiphany than living through a global pandemic.

“As pandemic life recedes in the U.S., people are leaving their jobs in search of more money, more flexibility and more happiness. Many are rethinking what work means to them, how they are valued, and how they spend their time,” says Andrea Hsu in an article for NPR. “It's leading to a dramatic increase in resignations—a record 4 million people quit their jobs in April [2021] alone, according to the Labor Department.”

It’s a turning point for many employees—but it can be a turning point for your company, too.

Evaluate what matters

If you’re still thinking about “getting back to normal,” we advise you to reframe this as “The Next Normal.” A lot has changed in the 1-2 years, and the “normal” we want to be returning to… might not exist anymore. But that doesn’t mean The Next Normal can’t be rewarding, productive, and purposeful.

To create an engaging environment for your employees post-pandemic, what you need to do right now is gather feedback. Don’t make assumptions—the folks who hated WFH in the beginning of social isolation may have found their remote work groove, or there may be some teams that want to congregate in the office regularly.


The pandemic has changed so many ideas about workplace flexibility, productivity, and collaboration, and meeting people where they’re at is the best way to eliminate friction points and keep productivity high.

Employers will have to recognize that workforce needs and desires have shifted due to the pandemic. They need to understand the concerns of their employees and work with them to build policies and approaches. The return to work will be effective only when employees are on board. If they’re not, companies should be prepared to lose talent.
PwC’s US Remote Work Survey

In a dispersed workplace, the best way to get a complete picture of how your employees are feeling is through regular surveys. Here are a few great questions to get started:

  • How are you doing?
  • On a scale of 1-5, how burnt out are you feeling?
  • If you’re feeling burnt out, what would be the most effective way to address that burnout?
  • PTO
  • Rewards
  • Visible recognition
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Opportunities to work on a project of your choice (hackathon, etc.)
  • How is remote work going? What’s your favorite part about WFH? What’s your biggest challenge, and how can I help?
  • If you could change one thing about the organization or your team, what would it be?
  • What's something I should be doing more of? What's something I should stop doing? 

Continually soliciting and acting on feedback communicates that you recognize your employees’ values, and are listening to them.

Put a plan in action

“63% of people who are “always” or “usually” recognized at work consider themselves “very unlikely” to seek a new job in the next 3-6 months, whereas only 11% those who are “never” or “rarely” recognized feel the same way. 43% of the unrecognized group are “extremely likely” to seek work elsewhere—but only 9% of the happier cohort would.”
SurveyMonkey and Bonusly

Employee recognition is always a good idea, but the value of making it a habit is in retaining your current high performers. If you’re already seeing the effects of The Great Resignation at your organization… it may be too little, too late to the employees that are on their way out. But instead of seeing it as a negative, reframe it as an opportunity to truly appreciate the employees that are sticking with you.

That’s why we like to reframe The Great Resignation as The Great Recognition.

The Great Resignation might be happening now, but we guarantee that the effects of The Great Recognition will be much more long lasting.


It’s never too late to start nurturing a culture of recognition at your company. The sooner you start actively giving recognition, the sooner it becomes a habit, and the sooner you can start seeing the benefits. Here are a few ways to start:

  • Dedicate a space for shout-outs at your company, whether that’s on a bulletin board, in a Slack channel, or even an email thread!
  • Dedicate time during weekly team or all-hands to publicly recognize high performers
  • Allocate space in your budget for fun rewards and gifts, and send out surprise packages when someone does something awesome
  • Include a recognition or positive feedback section in your next round of performance reviews
  • Survey your employees on how they’d like to be recognized
  • Celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries!
  • Encourage and create space for peer recognition, not just top-down recognition
  • Introduce a recognition program like Bonusly

Like we mentioned—it may be too little, too late for your employees that are on their way out. But when the next epiphany moment or Great Resignation movement happens… you’d have already laid the framework for an excellent retention rate.

How do you plan on beating The Great Resignation? Give us your ideas in the comments! 👀

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