“The Great Resignation” requires a "Great" mitigation strategy.

Read Time: 3 Minutes

Adam Loong | November 1st, 2021


Can your business sustain a $6 million + hit to the bottom line?

If we are to believe all the media hype, the “Great Resignation” is dawning as the nation gradually wakes from its COVID induced slumber. According to research by PwC and Deloitte, 38% of Australians are planning on quitting their job in the next 12 months, this is compared to 7.5% of Australians who changed jobs in the 12 months prior to February 2021. If this is true, businesses can expect, on average, that their employee turnover will be in the vicinity of 5 times more than in the previous 12 months.

Employee turnover calculators will tell you that the cost of replacing an employee is between 50% and 200% of the employee’s annual salary. Let’s put some conservative numbers down here to provide some perspective of what we are talking about. Assume we take a business that has 100 employees that all earn the national average of $86,850. The table below depicts the additional cost that the Great Resignation will have, if in fact, the dire predictions come true.


The cost of the great resignation on businesses

The cost of the great resignation on businesses

The “Great” Risk Mitigation Strategy

Whether you see this as a risk mitigation strategy or simply good business, the prudent action that all businesses should be undertaking is to improve their employee engagement. A google search will quickly tell you that lack of engagement is one of the main causes for employees to leave their workplace. Gallup reports that a staggering 80% of workers world-wide are dis-engaged at work. The primary cause of employee disengagement is poor leadership and further Gallup research shows that employers employ or promote ill-equipped leaders 82% of the time.

The great risk mitigation strategy therefore appears simple. Better leader’s equal better engagement, better engagement equals lower turnover, lower turnover equals business survival (plus a few other benefits!). Simple right?

Creating better leaders

Firstly, lets clarify and agree that great leaders are made, not born. Great leadership, like every skill, is developed from a combination of deliberate practice and masterful coaching. Unfortunately, most workplaces are not equipped to provide these two essential requirements for leadership improvement. The following tips will help your business establish and maintain a self-sustaining culture centred on outstanding leadership (and hence high employee engagement and low turnover).

Deliberate Practice

There are many great articles and books that have been dedicated to this topic, so I won’t regurgitate this material here except to offer a suggestion for how deliberate practice can be applied in a workplace environment to improve leadership.

The core element of leadership is communication. It is the bedrock behind all success, and the catalyst of all failings. Typical examples provided by employees for a lack of engagement are:

a.      I don’t know what is expected of me at work.

b.      I have not received recognition or praise for doing good work.

c.       My supervisor does not seem to care about me as a person.

d.      Nobody encourages my development.

e.      Nobody ever talks to me about my progress.

f.        I haven’t had an opportunity to improve.

Each of these examples highlight an employee - leader relationship that is likely void of quality and effective communication.

Leaders can and should deliberately practice effective communication. Effective communication is classified as:

·        Regular

·        Empathetic

·        Balanced between recognition, coaching and support

·        Balanced between all members of the team

·        Focused on behaviour vice outcomes (driven by values)

A simple technique that can be employed in the workplace for every leader is to hold themselves accountable for executing effective communication. Recording simple metadata on when a conversation has occurred, what type of conversation it was, and who it was with, provides invaluable data for the leader to help them improve. Over a very short period, the leader will be able to see how effective their communication is and therefore, which elements need to be focussed upon. Most likely, the elements of their communication that they are not comfortable with conducting (i.e. coaching or supporting type of conversations) will be highlighted as will the individual team members that they are more or less comfortable conversing with. This information will enable the leader to focus their effort with the assistance of their coach.


The second requirement for the execution of deliberate practice is the utilisation of masterful coaching. Seeking and accepting feedback from a more experienced and skilled practitioner fast tracks the development process and ensures the benefit gained from the deliberate practice is maximised.

 Luckily for most organisational structures, this feature is built in. Every leader in the organisation should have a leader themselves – this leader should naturally be the masterful coach. This coach, who is also on their own leadership improvement journey, will be deliberately practicing their leadership communication with the subordinate leader and, in the same manner will be looking to their leader for masterful coaching.

Empowering leaders to be masterful coaches for their subordinate leaders sends a powerful message throughout an organisation. It tells the entire workforce that leadership is important and that, to be a good leader, you need to work hard with a coach.


Organisations that treat leadership development with the focus it deserves enjoy a self-sustaining culture of high engagement driven by quality leadership. These businesses are much less worried about the Great Resignation of 2021/22 and instead will be eyeing it as an opportunity to gain many more great employees looking for their type of workplace.

Taking the first step in establishing a leadership development model that is centred on deliberate practice and masterful coaching may appear to be a daunting task however, with the help of www.debatalk.com.au this culture can be up and running in no time at all. Please contact us to find out more.

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