What makes the Great Resignation Great?

Sarah Dawson, Managing Director at CSM shares how forced reshuffling of the workforce can help businesses

It’s hard to escape talk of the Great Resignation.

At the end of 2021, Microsoft released a survey that suggested as many as 40% of respondents were planning to change jobs within the next six months.

The idea that four in 10 employees, could be on the move within six months, sounded terrifying for employers. But should it?  

The impact of the pandemic has been wide reaching on businesses and the work force at large. It has led many to re-evaluate what they want from their careers and their lives.

Whether in search of the dream job, roles that afford better work life balance, reduced hours to explore other opportunities or a role that fulfils all three, this recalibration of career goals presents an unexpected but welcome reassessment of the make up of businesses.

Whilst there is undeniable sadness in witnessing valued colleagues and friends move on to pastures new the forced reshuffling causes us all to think differently about the composition of teams, individual needs, breadth of skill sets and how we will harbour and foster talent of the future.

What starts as a challenge, swiftly becomes an opportunity as our workforce comprises of people who have made the positive step to address a few key questions;

Can I achieve here? Does this type of work and role interest me? Will my role allow me space to grow and give me time to explore other areas of my life that are important to me? Does this business care about me? 

flexible working

As an agency this is extremely beneficial to us. It means the people who are in the business are here for the right reasons – our agency culture and working pattern fits with their lifestyle, and the sport and entertainment client base we have excites them.

It’s deeply important to me that people work on properties or in industries they are passionate about and feel cared for by their employers. After all, we work in passion marketing and that should apply to our own people not just the target audience of our clients.     

As an agency who has seen retention rates remain high for well over a decade, the change in pace in this area has admittedly been challenging. Yet, as we look back at 2021, whilst some good friends and loyal CSMers have moved on, we have benefitted enormously from our new recruits.   

It is a truism, that greater diversity of thought brings better results. Rather than standing still, the Great Resignation or better entitled the Great Reshuffle is furnishing us with new personalities and perspectives. 

I’m not too proud to admit that our competitors and other businesses operate in different ways and do brilliant things. How are we going to continue to improve our own offering if we don’t listen and learn? And how better to hear that than from the people who have experienced it first-hand. 

That fresh thinking is directly benefitting our clients, our people, and the business, bringing new approaches to partnerships and the business challenges they are facing as well as allowing us to recruit new people with the skillsets we need in the current market. 

According to the ESA Sponsorship sentiment tracker, confidence in the sponsorship industry is at its highest since pre-pandemic levels which is buoyed in part by the driving forces of people energised - perhaps evidence of the great reshuffle taking hold.

As people seek to reconnect with what they love the most – be that sport, music or the arts – there’s been a surge of activity amongst brands wanting to re-engage with audiences across the world. That’s a fantastic landscape for us as an agency, and one I think we are better equipped to meet than ever before. 

The Great Resignation does not have to be a phenomenon couched in negativity. Instead, let’s look at it through bright eyes. We all need to assess if our businesses are giving people what is needed in today’s landscape – culturally, financially, ethically, logistically, and developmentally – and if they are then we will embrace new ideas, fresh thinking, enhance skillsets and foster an environment where the people around us want to be here for all the right reasons.

Collectively, more people will be doing more of what they love, with focus and balance. I think that’s a reason to celebrate change! 


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