‘I quit!’




The Manila Times


Business Times

THE Great Resignation became a buzzword in the United States when the Covid-19 pandemic started in 2020. After more than two years, experts claim it is here to stay. I got so interested in the phenomenon that I made it a research topic in one of the subjects of my doctoral studies. I tried to investigate if it was true for the Philippines. This is what I gathered. Sprout Solutions PH’s white paper provided data on the domestic attrition rate from 2020-2021. Data from over 1,000 clients revealed an upward trend, which meant an increasing number of Filipinos had resigned from their companies. At the national level, the labor turnover survey from the Philippine Statistics Authority also showed an upward trend from 2018-2021. For 2020-2021, the agency cited “personal issues” as the top reason employees voluntarily resign. They did not further elaborate on what it meant. Early this year, I was watching the local primetime news and learned that many health care workers in the country were already experiencing burnout. I looked into the situation of other countries through articles. I found out that most authors agreed that burnout was causing voluntary turnover. Even Dr. Anthony Klotz, who coined the term “Great Resignation,” suggested that burnout was a possible reason. In the Philippines, Sprout Solutions attributed employee resignations to several reasons, including stress and burnout. Are burnout and personal issues the same? I cannot prove this now since my research did not require empirical results, but I still firmly believe there is truth to my theory. I, for one, am part of the statistics because I resigned during the pandemic. I used to work for an organization where work was stressful. The stress compounded because we were asked to return to the office earlier than everybody else since my organization belonged to an industry that was considered essential. I felt exhausted even when I had to work from home. I also had to take medications to manage stress. Those were the critical incidents that made me decide to leave. The sad part is that some employees who reportedly felt burnout during the pandemic were ignored until they eventually resigned. I desire to enlighten organizational leaders about this concern. By pinpointing stress and burnout as the root cause of employee resignations during the pandemic, I encourage leaders to start crafting strategies that will eradicate the negative experiences encountered by their employees. Here in the Philippines, despite the Mental Health Law, there are still barriers to accessing mental health care such as the lack of mental health care providers and facilities. Employees in private organizations who enjoy health benefits still have difficulty availing of mental health services since some HMOs still do not cover it. If burnout is the real culprit, I pray that organizations seriously consider their employees’ wellbeing. I understand that they are committed to serving their customers but serving them is impossible if employees no longer want to be part of their mission. Cholo Javier is a Doctor of Business Administration student at De La Salle University and an associate dean of Assumption College San Lorenzo. The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of De La Salle University and its faculty and administrators.