Is Boss Loss the Next Step in The Great Resignation?

June 9, 2022 Rachel Halversen
Is boss loss the next step in the Great Resignation? An illustration of group of business people towards giant exit word

On the subject of workforce trends, the newest, hot-off-the-presses phrase going around is “boss loss,” or the notion that high level executives are becoming increasingly inclined to resign as The Great Resignation continues to develop. In fact, one recent survey found that 72% of executives say they plan to leave their current employer within the next two years. As workers continue to favor flexibility and autonomy in their careers, this suddenly rising trend proves that even highly skilled, seasoned executives are being lured away as much as the junior professionals they lead.

So, what is boss loss and why is it happening?

The pandemic—and the changes to both our professional and personal lives that came with it—have inexorably altered the meaning and value of “work” for many of us. Last year, experts began noting that a Great Resignation was underway as the rate of voluntary departures began climbing within the global workforce. It’s becoming increasingly clear that trend is now moving up the ladder to the leadership level.

“Our research signals there is significant talent demand for a life-work shift. Even senior leaders are experiencing it and acknowledge that employers could be doing more,” said Tammy Browning, president of KellyOCG. “A shift in workplace culture is needed and organizations must evolve to remain competitive, profitable, and attractive to top talent.”

Browning theorizes that boss loss is rising because many executives have been saddled with an unmanageable workload due to years of consolidation in executive roles. Meanwhile, many leaders feel that they aren’t being properly compensated for the skewed work-life balance they’re experiencing. As such, they’re hunting for greener pastures at companies that can offer the flexibility they desire.

Organizationally, businesses are transforming to meet ever-shifting circumstances, and as they adapt, it’s opening up a much broader array of options for workers. As Axios puts it, “The companies eager to hire you aren’t just the ones within commuting distance anymore. Remote work means there are many more places to land if you quit.” Accordingly, it takes significantly more effort for companies to build employee loyalty in the era of flexible work.

And despite the logistical difficulties of remote work on the company side, “taking away work-from-anywhere isn’t an option for most.” Gartner’s Chief of HR Research, Brian Kropp, found that 7 in 10 workers now think of work flexibility as table stakes. Furthermore, he suspects that the elevated level of turnover is going to stick around as long as remote and hybrid work is at the forefront of the professional world.

Axios continues, “Companies will have to bring in more recruiters to handle the long-term load of open roles. And they’ll have to build some redundancy into teams so products and clients don’t suffer from concentrated turnover spikes.” On the bright side, by following some proven best practices—as well as utilizing on-demand talent—it is possible to decrease turnover and/or lessen its impact in the era of the Great Resignation. This has been shown by plenty of companies that were already operating remotely or in hybrid on-site/remote work arrangements prior to the pandemic, which have managed to stabilize their resignation rates.

“Human resources leaders at those places tell us that clarity around company purpose and mission to drive a strong culture is as vital as competitive pay and perks,” the article continues, confirming that it’s less about job necessity for talent in today’s market as is their connection to the organization. Companies must put in active effort to show their talent that they are valued and heard and to give them reasons to believe in their employer.

Overcoming and adapting to boss loss

According to KellyOCG’s survey, companies should focus on four areas to stem the flow of attrition and attract the best new talent:

Strengthening Workforce Agility

The emphasis on work-life balance and flexible work arrangements is paramount to successfully procuring top talent. One area of attention is the remote/hybrid/in-person requirement of a given role. The report quotes Crystal Lannaman of BASF who said, “If you decide not to participate in hybrid, you are leaving talent on the table in this market.” Focusing on your employees’ mental well-being and listening to the new reality of their expectations is what sets companies apart in the eyes of talent.

Reinventing the Employee Experience

Companies have begun to face difficulties attracting and retaining talent in terms of pay and benefits in addition to work arrangement fluidity mentioned above. For starters, the report found that career progression is more important than compensation in improving retention in 2022. Nowadays, employees are looking for growth and development opportunities, they want benefits and policies that serve them, to be paid fairly, and for companies to put an emphasis on the human aspects of work that drive connection and purpose.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

According to the report, despite the high profile of DEI issues in the past two years in the US and around the world, only about one third of firms have implemented innovative initiatives to improve DEI. By actively creating and facilitating an inclusive culture, not only in terms of DEI, but in terms of mental health and well-being, talent will take notice and interest in available opportunities.

Adoption of Tools and Technologies

Today, businesses have better options than ever for finding the right tools and technologies to power their talent management strategies. Not only that, but the abundance of these tools and technologies allow for the improvement of workforce agility, productivity, knowledge sharing, training, data analytics, and more. Companies that spearhead adopting these digital innovations are beginning to set the standard for the best places to work, thereby attracting, developing, and retaining the best leadership talent.

Averting Boss Loss with On-Demand Talent

Tapping independent, on-demand talent is another key tactic to combat boss loss, skill gaps, and outstanding empty seats across your organization. Business Talent Group’s marketplace of highly skilled on-demand talent is comprised of high-end independents at all levels, from interim executives to established consultants across all industries and functions. On-demand talent can help:

  • Provide relief for exhausted leaders by taking projects off their plate, leading workstreams, executing critical initiatives, and serving as trusted advisors to offer strategic thinking and insight to help tackle challenges and seize opportunities
  • Fill gaps across the organization by stepping in to provide steady leadership and keep workstreams moving during a temporary leave or empty seat in the organization chart
  • Provide critical support within HR to help right-size compensation and benefits, improve the employee experience, and add critical but short-term capacity for recruiting new talent

Get the high-end independent talent you need from Business Talent Group

With Business Talent Group, you can access an on-demand talent marketplace that includes countless executives across all industries and functions. Whether you’re experiencing boss loss, looking to bolster your existing executives, or find yourself approaching an opportunity for rapid growth and transformation, BTG can help you find perfect-fit talent to combat temporary leadership and skill gaps. Reach out today to learn more.


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