Turn the big resignation into the big acquisition

Husein Sharaf leads Cloudforcean award-winning DC-area consulting company focused on the deployment, management and security of cloud infrastructure.

Leaders in technology and beyond have been inundated with articles, and for the past year, about the “great resignation,” a phenomenon that threatens to cut their talent base and leave them with massive unfillable holes in their organizational structures. I also fell prey to the fear that the company’s most valued asset, our people, would one day wake up and decide to leave for greener pastures due to the life-threatening effects of the pandemic.

However, what I have experienced has been the opposite. As a company, we have become an unexpected beneficiary of this economic event for one fundamental (and often overlooked) reason: Many “Great Resigners” in technology do not leave the job market entirely; they simply find a better home.

After analyzing the answers to interview questions we asked hundreds of candidates over the past twelve months, I was able to not only examine what brought us here, but also assess what the other organizations that have attracted new talents during this time. the shift has become correct.

After personal contact with every new hire we’ve been fortunate to attract since the big layoff began, I believe the reshuffle comes down to four primary drivers.

1. Trust is earned slowly and lost quickly.

Employers who lost trust in their employees due to knee-jerk reactions to the pandemic or who never really earned it the hard way in the first place cannot recreate or fabricate that trust overnight, especially in a hybrid/external environment.

Leaders should think carefully about the actions that created confidence in their own leadership and think even more carefully about what may have eroded it. If your message and your actions align and are in the best interest of your employees, you can bet they will trust your leadership when the going gets tough.

2. Respect is a two-way street.

While employees are expected to respect their leadership and the organization’s policies, the same respect is all too often not returned to them. Not allowing adults to control how, when and where they worked when offices were forced to close their doors is a good example.

Employees should be held accountable for their work and results, regardless of how (or where) they achieve them. If you feel the urge to micromanage, consider focusing instead on clearly outlining goals and key results and measuring against them.

3. Purpose is the glue that holds teams together.

When a crisis shakes the very foundations of a person’s life and the way they see their place in the world, a sense of purpose is one of the few things that can give them the strength to press forward. Without a shared purpose, individuals and teams were left wondering, “What am I really doing with my life, and why am I devoting half of my existence to this?” Purpose comes in a variety of forms, but usually your product or service isn’t isolated enough.

Look for opportunities to connect your business results directly with positive impact on your community, your customers, and your employees—and highlight those connections regularly. When people truly believe that the work they do matters because it creates a visible impact they can feel good about, they are more likely to intertwine their individual sense of purpose with your organization.

4. Growth is just a buzzword unless it’s made personal.

Almost all organizations (especially in technology) tout “career growth” as a key benefit of their talent development programs. Unfortunately, it’s just another word on a job ad unless employees actually see and experience that growth, and quickly. When employees clearly understand their next career step and, more importantly, how they want to get there, it puts the burden on them and gives them hope that is grounded in reality.

Act quickly to determine and document each employee’s desired next step, and meet regularly (ie not just once a year) to review their progress and provide actionable feedback, ensuring they see their next career move in your company before they look elsewhere.


These fundamental drivers came up again and again, in conversation after conversation with candidates we met through the Great Resignation. They continue in our interviews today and are likely to persist for some time, even as inflation and economic uncertainty threaten to turn the tables on employer/employee power dynamics.

For companies on the wrong side of the road when it comes to these drivers, the unfortunate reality is that the bleeding is likely to continue. For entrepreneurs and startups still at a size and stage where they can consider and take action on the above, you’re in luck: You too could be a beneficiary of the big layoff, or potentially, the big acquisition.

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