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The Great Resignation

The 'inner wave of resignation' of the Germans!

The news about the Great Resignation in the USA flares up again. In Germany, the wave of layoffs has not been a big issue so far because it has only been in people's heads in this country. But is that a good thing?

Companies in the U.S. lost 11.5 million workers between April and June of this year, and the trend seems to be continuing. Employers were caught off guard because historically it has been an exception: in crises, people hold on to their jobs, or so the rule goes.

In Germany, the phenomenon of the great 'migration of peoples' has not yet taken place physically - but in people's minds it has. We were able to experience this firsthand in many conversations: After the initial shock, many candidates asked themselves whether they were still employed by the right company, how secure their job was for the future, and whether they shouldn't do something more meaningful than they have been doing up to now. It's hardly surprising that these questions are more likely to be asked in the home office than in the hustle and bustle of everyday office life, between meetings and votes. But when things became concrete, the willingness to change quickly disappeared: Despite very good options, many candidates backed out. The rule about holding on to a job in a crisis was therefore true in this country.

U.S. Americans are much more willing to take action than Germans, one might argue; that is a characteristic of their culture. They also feel compelled to act more often, because they are not so softly cushioned when their company gets into troubled waters. The short-time allowance seemed to keep German candidates in their jobs and cushion their energy for change, according to our impression. Has the wave of layoffs in Germany thus receded before it really built up? Even if that is the case, the desire to quit has changed something in people's minds. Are we perhaps facing the German version of the great resignation, resignation? This can paralyze employees:inside as well as companies.

I asked myself what it means that people in Western industrialized nations want to quit for the first time despite the crisis. Are conditions in companies worse than ever before? Or is this crisis different than any before? If we have learned that the future cannot be planned, how does the planning dogma in many companies feel? Can we continue to measure performance as ego- and team-centric as before, when we have experienced that our behavior is constantly and inescapably linked to that of everyone else? Or is the result an internal paradox? To put it more simply, I believe contradictions of this kind will be of great concern to us in the future, and with them the question. How much distance is there between the reality of individuals and the reality of corporations and governments and institutions?

About the author

Dr. Sebastian Tschentscher finds the best digital minds for your company with his executive search boutique "Digital Minds".

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