How Your DEI Programs Can Help Reverse “The Great Resignation”

Categories: Diversity & Inclusion

“The Great Resignation” is upon us. And it is huge.

In America alone, 4.3 million people left their jobs in August (a record). Going back to April, 20 million people have quit. There are nearly 11 million job openings throughout the country. The reasons are many. There’s been a significant shift in life priorities during the pandemic, perhaps driven by things like health care, child care, and other options. Many workers in the retail or restaurant sector are leaving due to health and safety concerns, along with stagnant wages, mistreatment, and a host of other elements (just witness the numerous “help wanted” signs on nearly every restaurant in the country).

There’s another, deeper, underlying issue to “the great resignation,” as well: employees just won’t put up with an organization that doesn’t align with their values anymore. Frankly, it’s just not worth it for them to stay in a place where they feel they don’t fit in. If they were thinking about quitting before, the robust job market and the new mental landscape of the pandemic may have prompted them to close their eyes and take that leap. 

How a DEI Program Can Help You Keep Your Valued Employees

So, what can an organization do to ward off the spread of “The Great Resignation” within their ranks? As noted in this landmark Atlantic piece by Derek Thompson, one of the foundational aspects of “The Great Resignation” is the idea that “We can do better” is at its core. Employees are looking for companies that “do better” – better wages, better salaries, better opportunities for advancement, and a better, more diverse, and more inclusive workplace.

To that end, one of the more proactive steps for an organization to help retain its employees is to institute a robust DEI program (if one does not exist already within your organization). Think of a diverse, inclusive working environment as a fundamental piece of the “We can do better” philosophy.

The statistics back it up. Companies that put a priority on diversity and inclusion are ones that retain their employees.

  • A staggering 57% of employees want their company to be more diverse, per Glassdoor
  • Corporate Leadership Council piece showed that diverse and inclusive organizations have employees that are 19% likelier to stay.

Oh, and if you’re actively recruiting new talent for a role, diversity and inclusion programs can also be a key differentiator.

  • Per Glassdoor, 70% of active and passive job seekers look at the diversity of an organization before applying to or accepting a job
  • Companies that posted about diversity on LinkedIn got over 25% more female applications, per LinkedIn.
  • In a PWC survey, 86% of women and 74% men stated, “an employer’s policy on diversity and inclusion is important to me when deciding whether or not to work for them”

The bottom line? In a turbulent era for human resources departments and organizations when it comes to retaining (and hiring) the talent in a robust economy, the right DEI program can prove to be a huge difference-maker—retaining the talent that has brought you to the top and, if necessary, helping to bring on the new minds that will keep you there.


Looking for organizational support to develop your own Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program?