Women and middle managers will lead the Great Resignation into 2022

Qualtrics recommends that companies "throw out the old playbook and never look back" to improve in-person and remote work environments.

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A survey of 14,000 workers from around the world found that offering superficial benefits such as wellness apps is not enough to solve burnout among employees.

Image: Qualtrics

Individual contributors and middle managers are burned out and even more likely to look for a new job in the coming year, according to a new Qualtrics survey. The third annual Employee Experience Trends Report for 2022 found that 5% fewer people plan to stay at their current job than in 2021. Women in middle management jobs are three times more likely to find a new job.

Middle managers saw the most significant decrease in intent to stay at their jobs in 2022, according to the survey. Sixty-nine percent intend to stick with their current job over the next few years, down from 83% in 2021. There is still a significant group of people (35%) who will find a new job if they have to work full-time in the office. 

SEE: Remote working technology is creating a productivity nightmare

Benjamin Granger, Ph.D., Qualtrics head of employee experience advisory services, said in a press release that managers now are expected to support employees' mental health, be culture champions and make progress on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. 

"This work is all critical toward creating amazing places to work, yet it's simultaneously resulting in burnout," he said. 

If managers are burned out, they can't help their team members find the right tools and balance workloads, and those are exactly the problems the survey found. 

Overall, people are not thrilled with remote technology options or the in-person working experience. Only 30% of survey respondents said their company's technology exceeds expectations and only 23% said working at their office exceeds their expectations. The report recommends "throwing out the old playbook and never looking back" to create a better work experience for in-person and remote workers.

This dramatic approach is the only way to solve other problems that the survey found including:

  • 29% of employes won't always take a sick day when they need to
  • 61% who don't take sick days cite heavy workload as the reason why
  • 20% worry about work problems

The survey notes that "superfluous benefits" such as a mental health app or a week off is not enough to ease burnout or stop the Great Resignation. The real solution, according to the report, is "doing the hard work at the root of the problem – a toxic culture that rewards workplace martyrdom over self-care (and self-awareness)."

The survey included about 14,000 full-time employees in 27 countries. The survey asked employees about their self-confidence at work, the relationships they have with their colleagues and how energized they feel in the workplace. The trends among these three measures indicate the mixed impact the pandemic has had on working life. 

One bright spot for employers is that employees have felt more energized over the last year. Also, 50% of employees said their physical and mental well-being has actually improved while working remotely.

The Qualtrics report recommends that managers take these steps to improve employee well-being in 2022:

  • Practice what you preach: Leaders need to be seen working reasonable hours, taking personal time and treating their mental and physical health as a priority.
  • Talk about mental health: Employees say the number one thing holding them back from taking care of their mental health is that leaders don't talk about it enough at work. 
  • Encourage a culture of well-being: Build a structure around how, where and when work gets done work as well as good habits around taking time off.

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By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...