Much has been made about the Great Resignation – employees are voluntarily leaving their roles in large numbers, sometimes without even having another role lined up. And why is this? Progressively more literature is revealing that employees are reassessing their life priorities, with work tumbling down the list. According to the Microsoft Work Trend Index Report for 2022, over half of employees are more likely to prioritize health and wellbeing over work compared to before the pandemic.

If employees are prioritizing their wellbeing, then their leaders should be doing the same. This isn’t easy; however, here are a few practical things that leaders can do to show employees that they support their wellbeing.


It is no longer an option to expect employees to section off their lives into personal and work pillars that are completely separated. The pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges and although it’s been hard, people have adapted to this “new normal”. They were forced to rebalance everything in their lives to find a way to get everything done, and have each been doing things in their own ways.

Whether your workplace is fully in the office, fully remote, or a combination, you can think carefully about opportunities to support the new balance that employees have achieved. In practical terms, this may involve shifting your own expectations and perceptions about work, with an increased emphasis on results rather than hours clocked in and out. By setting clear expectations about what is required, and by when, and how success will ultimately be measured, you will have clear parameters to gauge performance while allowing employees continued flexibility.


There may be no factor more important to top performers than being part of an organization that recognizes top performance. Similarly, it is a major red flag for these individuals if poor performers have the same outcomes in terms of pay, promotion and recognition. You should ensure that your teams clearly understand their performance goals and targets, and that those who consistently meet or exceed those expectations have the best outcomes.

“By setting clear expectations about what is required, and by when, and how success will ultimately be measured, you will have clear parameters to gauge performance while allowing employees continued flexibility.”

Great performers can quickly become poor performers if they are led to feel as though they are wasting their time. Their wellbeing will be impacted, as they become disengaged and left to wonder if there is a point in sticking around. Top performers typically want to work hard but also want to be recognized for it, so if this isn’t happening, they will turn elsewhere for a company that will (or with the Great Resignation, exit the organization despite not having another job lined up). 


In addition to helping staff understand what you expect of them, and how success will be measured, it’s important to also engage them so they understand how their work fits into the big picture. Even before the pandemic, Millennials and Gen Z employees had higher expectations of their employers in terms of seeing how their work helps further a cause, whether organizational or societal. Now, as employees prioritize other aspects of their lives, this becomes even more important.

An essential part of wellbeing is belonging and helping your teams understand how they fit into the organization, and how they contribute to success which in turn increases an employees’ intrinsic motivation. You should also help people see how their current work and role fit into the bigger picture of their careers. This will ultimately help them see how their job fits into the big picture of their lives.


Based on data from Revelio Labs, toxic corporate culture is over ten times more likely to contribute to attrition than compensation. In a world where employees are prioritizing their personal wellbeing, it is hardly surprising that employees will leave workplaces with toxic cultures to protect their mental health. Features of a toxic culture may include a feeling of being disrespected, unethical behavior, as well as a failure to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

We’ve all worked with or heard of the person who treats everyone horribly and makes everyone’s lives a nightmare at work, but is protected from any negative consequences because they are also a top performer in terms of sales, for example. If you are the leader of such an individual, it is critical that you address such behavior, placing equal or greater emphasis on good, ethical behaviour. A primary emphasis on sales and revenue may work in the short-term, but may ultimately drive away other top performers. Coaching these individuals or even removing them from the organization is a hard but necessary step to combatting turnover.

In general, although it may be harder than ever to retain top quality employees, each individual leader can do their part by simply listening to their employees, and by taking some simple actions that show that you care.