What's driving the Big Quit (Part 2)?

4 minute read
Why are so many people quitting their jobs? And what can organizations do to retain talent and keep employees engaged? A woman wearing a ponytail, red and black framed glasses, a white collared blouse, and gray slacks sits at a desk in front of a wooden wall adorned with foliage. She is working with a pen and paper, and a laptop, tablet, and smartphone sit on the desk surface in front of her. She also has a paper coffee cup and a corded phone.

Last week we shared the first part of Hogan's two-part blog series about the Great Resignation. If you recall, part 1 discussed how feelings of empowerment and burnout are the two primary drivers leading to the mass exodus of talent. In part 2 of this blog series, we will discuss the insight Hogan has gained from their research on personality to respond to two important questions:

What can organisations do to retain talent?
And how can individuals find meaning in their work?

What Can Organisations Do to Retain Talent?

Good leadership can make the difference between those seeking other career opportunities and those who choose to remain engaged and a part of your organisation. We know from our extensive research on this topic that good leadership creates engagement, which drives business unit performance, resulting in positive organisational performance. On the contrary, we’ve learned that low levels of engagement produce negative business results, and bad leaders destroy engagement. The truth is that bad leadership may be the reason your employees are leaving your organisation!

This truth is evident in survey results where 65% of U.S. workers say the most stressful aspect of their lives is their boss, 70% of the U.S. workforce say they would take a pay cut if their boss were fired, and 20% of the Baltimore workforce say they fantasise daily about killing their boss.

Bad leadership impacts employees by causing undue stress. This stress, if not mitigated, can lead to lower job satisfaction, burnout, and turnover. Findings such as these are not new, yet organisations continue to be faced with the problem of bad leadership. But why? The source of this problem comes from the selection practices organisations rely on to hire leaders.

Integrating Hogan Assessments into the selection process may help you identify those who are most likely to be successful leaders and weed out those who will most likely fail. Specifically, the Hogan Development Survey (HDS), introduced by Drs. Robert and Joyce Hogan in the late 1990s, identifies 11 personality characteristics that cause leaders to fail time and time again. Equipped with this information and knowledge of the job and organisational context in which the leader will be operating, you and your organisation can make sound hiring decisions. Once a leader is in a role and leading a team, the insights from the HDS can help the leader develop awareness of performance risks in order to develop strategies to mitigate the negative consequences of any counterproductive tendencies.

Good leadership creates engagement, and engagement is critical in retaining talent. Therefore, the employee-leader relationship is critical especially during the Great Resignation. In short, hire good, effective leaders, and your people may want to stay.


What Can We Do as Individuals to Find Meaning in Our Work?

Have you heard the adage, “happy cows make more milk”? Apparently, this is true! I recently read an article that shared additional research on this topic and found that cows that have lived a happier life produce more nutritious milk. If we extend these findings to us, as humans, and apply it to our work lives, it suggests that we may be more engaged, satisfied, easy to work with, and productive if we can find meaning and happiness in the work we do. Since the beginning of the global pandemic and through the rise of the Great Resignation, I’ve heard many individuals say, in reference to their work lives and career decisions, “Life is too short to spend it doing something that makes you only marginally happy.” In the quest for happiness, many individuals are choosing to search for meaning outside their current job or organisation. Before you jump ship, I would encourage you to reflect on your values — what drives and motivates you — and be intentional about how and where you get your values met. 

The values that drive our behaviours and decisions are a critical part of understanding personality. Values are the lens for our preferences — what we believe to be important, the environment we create for others, and what we find motivating. Hogan measures values with the Motives, Values, and Preferences Inventory (MVPI), which describes 10 values that drive our behaviour.

Understanding your values is key to your engagement and success. By identifying and exploring your values, you can better understand why you are likely to behave, react, or engage with others in a certain way. Additionally, you can identify the environment (job or organisation context) in which you will thrive.

My belief is that organisations have a big part to play in retaining talent, but as individuals, we also have a responsibility to be intentional about our decisions and ensure they are aligned with what we value. In the first part of this blog series, I shared advice that I received early in my career, and I offer it to you again today: When you begin exploring other job or career opportunities, make certain that you are running toward the new opportunity and not away from your current situation.

This blog post was authored by Erin Crane, PhD, international distributors principal consultant.


  1. Hogan, R., & Sherman, R. (2021). Dark Leadership and the Fate of Organizations.
  2. Do Personality Tests Fail at Selection? (2021). Hogan Assessment Systems. https://www.hoganassessments.com/blog/why-do-personality-tests-fail-at-selection/
  3. The Dark Side of Leadership: 11 Reasons Leaders Fail. (2019). Hogan Assessment Systems. https://www.hoganassessments.com/blog/the-dark-side-of-leadership-11-reasons-leaders-fail/