All Articles Leadership Management Employees are fed up with lousy cultures and bad bosses

Employees are fed up with lousy cultures and bad bosses

Employees are fed up with not being valued, and they're willing to quit. How should employers and leaders respond?

3 min read


Image illustrating that employees are fed up

SmartBrief illustration

Employees are fed up, and they continue to voluntarily quit their jobs at a record-setting pace. More than 47 million US workers did so in 2021, and millions more have since 2022 began.

And they’re not taking any job they see; they’re being selective. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there have been over 11 million job openings available each of the past three months with data.

A recent global McKinsey study found that 40% of respondents are somewhat likely to quit in the next three to six months. Of those, 18% said their intentions to quit ranged from likely to almost certain.

McKinsey’s research also revealed why so many employees are willing to resign. Three factors were reported by a majority of “about to quit” players:

  1. 54% of employees don’t feel valued by their organization
  2. 52% of employees don’t feel valued by their managers
  3. 51% of employees don’t feel a sense of belonging at work

The pandemic has changed what employees expect of their workplaces, their colleagues and their bosses. Employees have learned they have a voice and they have a choice.

What is clear to many business leaders is that employees of all generations deserve and desire workplaces where they are respected and validated for their ideas, efforts and contributions every day.

Old-school command-and-control leadership practices will not meet these new employee expectations. In fact, these antiquated behaviors are what have frustrated employees for decades.

Helping employees feel authentically valued and appreciated by their organization and boss — and to feel like they belong in your work team — will take time and intention. A simple approach? Allocate an hour a day to personally thank players for tasks done well and for creative problem-solving.

A more complex approach might be identifying and closing pay gaps — by gender, ethnicity, across countries, etc. This will likely take time and funding, but it is a powerful way to express that everyone is equally valued in your organization.

S. Chris Edmonds is a speaker, author and executive consultant with The Purposeful Culture Group, where he is founder and CEO. He has authored or co-authored seven books, including “The Culture Engine.” His latest book, “Good Comes First,” recently published and was co-authored with Mark Babbitt. Edmonds’ videos, posts and podcasts are available at Follow Edmonds on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Apple Podcasts.

If you liked this article, sign up for SmartBrief’s free email newsletters on leadership and for HR executives, among SmartBrief’s more than 250 industry-focused newsletters.