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The Great Resignation: It's not just about the money

INTERVIEW: Chief of Staff Asia delves deep into the most pressing talent phenomenon facing HR teams around the world with Mixpanel’s US-based Vice President of People and Strategy, Amy Hsuan. She offers her first-hand view of the workforce phenomenon that is sweeping the globe from the place where it first began.

COS Asia: In the US, what has been fuelling the Great Resignation, so far?

Hsuan: The Great Resignation is driven by different factors. Covid-19 was one of those “black swan” events that you never could have predicted would happen. That gave a tremendous amount of value in trying to maximise the things that matter to individuals, recognising that life is short and fleeting. You just never know if you can plan the next in-person event, for example, because you never knew when the next variant was going to happen. People feel that time is very precious and this has forced them to reflect.

In the US, we’ve seen, for the first time in many decades, an increase in entrepreneurship. People have begun founding their own companies to do something impactful. That is one reason we see the Great Resignation.

The second reason is the Great Disconnect. In the US, it's been unfolding for multiple generations. People have been moving away from some of the traditional community structures, such as churches, schools, or neighbourhood entities.

There's been a real focus on productivity and efficiency. People want to reinvest their time in other ways and are searching to find a mission, community, and connection. They're not finding it through work, where there's a lot of focus on just efficiency but less about community-building.

The Great Resignation has a compounding effect. A great number of people are switching roles and jobs. We see this accelerated wave of job transfers that were delayed because people hesitated to make any big life changes during Covid. For Mixpanel, it's interesting to see record-low attrition levels now that we haven't seen in many, many years.

COS Asia: So, you're saying that the Great Resignation is not just about the money, but also about emotional and mental wellbeing?

Hsuan: Yes. People are looking for meaning that's broader than what has been focused on; issues like financial security, productivity, and operational efficiency. People have previously used these to measure success in life. A pandemic forces you to reckon with why you do and chase those particular goals. Losing people close to you has punctuated this even further.

Each of us has some personal story about Covid that has forced us to reflect on why we spend 10 hours a day on the computer.

This feature was extracted from Chief of Staff Asia's exclusive interview with Amy Hsuan, Mixpanel’s Global Vice President of People and Strategy. For further coverage please see any of the below links:

Hybrid work deep dive: A view from Mixpanel’s global HR leader

The Great Resignation: It's not just about the money

Amy Hsuan: What the Great Disconnect means for employers (April 12, 2022)

Getting to know: Amy Hsuan (April 14, 2022)

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