Skip to main content

Time to leave your job? Pick your reason:
·      Bad bosses
·      Rotten culture; my values are different
·      Burn out; made worse by the pandemic
·      Too long in the job; not learning
·      Too much pressure
·      Not enough money
·      Chaos at home
·      Sea Change, Tree Change …

We are traversing what, in television, some of us called the Silly Season, the three-month window from August/Sept/October. It’s the period when people, exhausted, too long without a holiday and too far from Christmas, made emotional and life-altering decisions.

And in the grips of a pandemic with all its stresses, are employees considering the same life-altering decisions? Is now the time to change up?

Are employers spending sufficient time supporting staff and building a resilient culture? What’s an acceptable staff turnover – none, 6%, 15%?

Having been an employee for 30 years in the brutal world of television journalism, then almost 20 years as an employer, as well as a corporate affairs advisor supporting companies on ethics, codes of conduct, and other governance issues, on top of the constant listening and reading, and learning from mistakes along the way, my opinion is that the three most important aspects of keeping staff are:
1.    a values-driven leader with clearly articulated, contemporary behaviours;
2.    attracting and employing team players with similar values and behaviours; and
3.    taking the time each day on maintaining a vibrant and healthy culture.

A recruiter who studies these trends is Nik Ruparel, Director of ProNEXUS Careers

(QuickTake is a niche publication that provides a mix of analysis and commentary on communications issues impacting CEOs, directors, corporate affairs professionals, and journalists. Subscribe at
#crisiscommunications #leadership #corporateaffairs #publicrelations #ceos #journalism #AICD

Video Transcript

Peter Wilkinson:
So, Nik, of that list of why people leave, which one is the most prominent?
Nik Ruparel:
In all the years I’ve been in this industry, the one that keeps coming up year after year and the number one reason is the relationship with management. There’s been a couple of prominent Gallup surveys and one of the most prominent conducted a poll of over 1 million employees and they found that leaving a bad manager was the number one reason why workers quit. They had a number as high as 75% of those that left voluntarily did so because of their boss and it had nothing to do with the job.
Additionally, that, the study found that 79% of their employees quit claiming that there was a lack of appreciation and that was directly correlated to their direct manager.
Peter Wilkinson:
So, the secret then is that leaders have to recognise the qualities of people and constantly give them positive or, well, honest feedback.
Nik Ruparel:
Absolutely. I think it’s acknowledging the unique things that people have to offer and encouraging them for the significant results that those individuals have delivered. And I think the piece here is being genuine. And you would like to think that if the managers had a role to play in hiring those individuals, they should recognise what they have done. And what it does demonstrate is if they do recognise the employees, that would be a huge investment that they can make upfront to retain them.
Peter Wilkinson:
Now, this all gets a whole lot harder in a lockdown situation where there’s very little face-to-face and a lot of Zoom calls which have absolutely diminished power.
Nik Ruparel:
Yep. Look, I think the thing that we’re talking about here and I think the bit to remember and be important here is we’re not asking employees to be best friends with their boss, but they need to have a relationship with their boss. Their boss or the employees and their boss are part of their daily lives and absolutely acknowledge the fact that we are now in lockdown. But I think if we can get to a point where we create some level of authenticity about a relationship and understand the implications of what lockdown is and the circumstances under which the people are battling. Some individuals may have children that they’re home-schooling as well. That adds another whole host of pressure on the individual, some may not.
Peter Wilkinson:
So, the other aspect to that is culture. I think it’s probably impossible to have a bad boss and a good culture, but it’s certainly possible to have a good boss and a bad culture. So how important is culture?
Nik Ruparel:
Look, I think it’s very difficult to underestimate the importance of culture. And I think one of the things leading on from the Gallup survey that was conducted, they found that individuals that left their job within 90 days listed that 32% of the reason that they left was because of company culture. And I think it’s the authenticity and transparency that’s really important upfront because if we tie this back into why people are staying or why they’re leaving, it’s because of their line manager. And you can find often that the line manager is the filter that can be between themselves and the corporate culture or the organisation as a whole.
Peter Wilkinson:
Okay. So, we’re likely to be in some kind of lockdown or in and out of lockdown for some time yet. Does that mean there’s going to be a higher turnover of staff because people are getting sick of what’s happening or less turnover because people are scared of losing their jobs?
Nik Ruparel:
Look, I think in Australia it’s quite difficult to tell. What we are finding, and I think sometimes we utilise UK and US statistics because they are a little bit further ahead, there were various reports particularly out of the US which is a little bit further ahead in the cycle that we’re in at the moment and they coordinate the resignation culture. And dependent upon what report you read, they are talking about statistics of anywhere between 35 and 50% of people that are looking to resign from their current position and looking to seek new opportunities.
I think where organisations are battling and we call it or we refer to it as the hybrid working model, which is throughout this COVID period, certainly over the last 12 to 18 months, many individuals had demonstrated the fact that technically you can work from anywhere and be successful. Again, that’s an element of a sweeping statement covering many role families. The challenge organisations are facing now is how do we integrate that within the fabric of our organisation and what does that mean for employees? So, if we start to look at some of the trends that are happening overseas, we should certainly anticipate in Australia that there will be more resignations ahead.
Peter Wilkinson:
Okay. Exciting times then. Nik, thank you very much, indeed. Very interesting.
Nik Ruparel:
Thank you very much for your time. Stay safe.

Whether you need immediate short-term crisis support, or sustained help over the long term, we can help.

Call Peter Wilkinson on 0414 383 433

In addition to helping you with the above, our services can include:

Crisis Management

Crisis communications is a skill built on experience. We give guidance to boards and leadership teams, and are available 24/7.

Internal and external communications

Where required, separate strategies might need to be developed for engaging with the board, leadership team, staff, customers, clients, suppliers, shareholders, communities and the three tiers of government. This may extend to the international community. Tactics include:

  • The development of key messages for internal and external communications, including business continuity communications.
  • The development of a digital ‘crisis portal’ for the dissemination of information to all relevant parties.
  • The mechanics of informing stakeholders in changes of procedure, or cancellations to services.
  • Training/coaching spokespeople.
  • Writing/editing communiques.
Media Engagement

In this crisis, journalists are struggling under the pressures of shrinking resources and the importance of this story.

We work with journalists daily and have learnt from experience how we can best support them in this situation.

The benefit to our clients is that, with our help, journalists better understand their predicament. We do this by first understanding your situation and then developing a narrative and key messages that reflect it in a way journalists can appreciate. This can lead to a better outcome for everyone.

Social Media & Online Reviews – Monitoring and Responding

Ensure your online reputation is kept intact through this turbulent time. Many customers or clients may begin to leave negative comments/reviews on websites and social media.

We are communications specialists. We monitor all social and web channels (including Google Reviews,, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and quickly respond to minimise negative comments, with the aim of repairing a damaged reputation.

Author Peter Wilkinson

More posts by Peter Wilkinson