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Re: The Great Resignation is transforming hiring practices, and that’s not a bad thing

As people are retiring earlier than ever and abandoning the workforce in droves, they're taking their skills with them and leaving organizations scrambling to fill the gap. How can organizations tackle the talent crunch and come out stronger than ever?

HPE-Education-Services-Continuous-Improvement-eLearning.jpgIn 2021, at least 1 in 4 Americans walked away from their jobs, leaving their organizations stuck with a painful problem: a lack of skilled, trained workers. Like so many other trends of the last two-ish years, the ongoing pandemic catalyzes this shift, prompting workers to reassess their relationship with work and reflect on what is best for them and their families. And for some, it means ending the relationship with their current jobs entirely. A phenomenon impactful enough to have its own name, business pundits are calling this shift The Great Resignation.

One of the driving forces of The Great Resignation is that workers are retiring earlier than anticipated. More than 3 million Americans have retired early because of the pandemic, instantly removing decades of industry experience and highly-honed skills from the labor force without any form of transition or succession planning – leaving many companies in a very difficult situation. While some seasoned professionals retire early to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19, some simply want to enjoy their golden years without having to endure the 9-5 routine.

“It’s not me, it’s you” what The Great Resignation has revealed

For Millennials and Gen Z, the willingness to leave current roles is more apparent, although their reasoning looks different than their senior counterparts. While senior employees can be hesitant to make drastic changes later in their careers, Gen Z and Millennials aren’t afraid to go where the grass seems greener. They’re far more likely than other generations to leave a job that is not satisfying. They see career paths differently and expect more from employers, especially in the form of compensation, great benefits, and flexible work options (hybrid digital workplace? yes, please!). And frankly, Millennials and Gen Z have far less to lose than their older colleagues; without having retirement around the corner to amplify financial concerns, leaving the job isn’t as risky in the long term. With less to lose and more to gain, this group is more likely to take the risks necessary to improve job satisfaction and work-life balance.

During prior labor shortages, companies would simply throw money at the problem, close their eyes, and expect it to go away without having to change strategy. Not this time around. It’s a job seeker’s market, and they’re calling the shots. Traditional work and hiring practices are flipped upside down, in ways that almost seem too outlandish to be true – like the Arizona-based company that offers $5000 to new employees if they decide to quit because it’s not a good fit. There’s no real playbook anymore, and the only requirement is to do things that attract and retain employees.

A shift in priorities and the emergence of flexible work options have led people to rethink how work fits (or doesn’t fit) into their lives. Now, organizations need to rethink how to get the skilled workers they need in this new and unpredictable era.

When skilled workers vanish, digital transformation stalls  

With so many people leaving the workforce, The Great Resignation has amplified the existing shortage of skilled professionals, leaving organizations scrambling for a solution. And with skilled workers not there to keep things running smoothly, high priority digital transformation efforts may stall, hurting business performance and outcomes. Accelerating digital transformation at full speed is crucial for organizations to not just survive, but thrive, and The Great Resignation has the potential to impact the transformation timeline dramatically. Organizations are forced to confront this issue, whether they are ready or not. 

So how does this all fit together? How does an organization achieve a workforce that is ready for the digital era and beyond? The Great Resignation’s transformative labor shift provides an opportunity for real, long-lasting solutions to hiring and staffing dilemmas through reskilling and upskilling strategies.

Reskilling and upskilling helps employees and organizations get ahead

The Great Resignation isn’t all doom and gloom for organizations. It presents a brilliant opportunity to reassess what they can (and should) do when it comes to ensuring the right technical skills are in place. Organizations must stay creative, flexible, and agile to attract and maintain the right talent—and providing a robust and diverse training strategy is a realistic approach to meeting their needs.

A long-lasting and executable solution to staffing challenges is to reskill and upskill your existing workforce through training. Hiring new talent is not only time-consuming, but costly, and requires a lot of resources. With so many people leaving the workforce, reskilling and upskilling existing talent through training is a straightforward, practical solution. Chances are, you’ve got a lot of talented team members, so why not set them up for success and expand their skillsets by training them on new, in-demand technologies? Having a reskilled employee who feels better equipped to take on work challenges means better outcomes for their own personal development, and for the organization, too. With reskilling/upskilling as part of the approach, both employee and employer come out as winners. For a reskilling and upskilling strategy to be successful, it requires a mix of different training methods: a blend of self-paced learning that complements instructor-led learning sessions and in-depth, hands-on labs are the perfect approach for addressing the widened skill gap left in the wake of The Great Resignation.

The talent crunch can be eased for organizations by providing learning options to create a workforce that is not only technically skilled, but multifaceted and dynamic as well. For Gen Z and Millennials, having flexible, technology-driven learning options is particularly essential; being digital natives, they value the autonomy and freedom that digital learning platforms provide. Being able to learn valuable skills from a cozy coffee shop, a park, or a bungalow by the beach ‘feels right’ to them. A flexible, digitally fluent learning platform isn’t just a neat little perk for these generations—it’s the norm. Failure to provide a modern, up-to-date eLearning platform means getting left in the dust in today’s fast-paced digital landscape. Plus, training and upskilling this group means they’ll be more likely to stay within the organization, rather than jumping ship to find better opportunities.

The Great Resignation has also provided an opportunity for individuals to reflect on their own personal lives and skillsets. After all, “power skills” like emotional intelligence (meaning traits like self-awareness, empathy, and emotional skills) are just as crucial as hard skills in today’s people-centric workplace. As mentioned in a previous blog on ‘living and working on the edge,’ pairing new skills with better emotional intelligence will help separate you from the pack.

The talent vacuum has created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those who are steadfastly building careers. Opportunities of this magnitude are often fleeting, and now is the time to outpace the laggards by building critical skills to get to the front of the pack—driving your career and insulating you from future softening in the talent market. Jobs may come and go, but the skills you develop along the way are forever.

As Benjamin Franklin stated so eloquently, “An investment in knowledge pays the best dividend”.

Learning is a journey! Build skills on your terms, according to your schedule, and at your pace

Having a million things on your plate is the new normal and sometimes those demands can be overwhelming. We all know eating well, exercise and mental wellness are critical to a healthy and happy life. Training results in these same benefits—but for our brain. It provides the nutrients and exercise to be our best.

Just like the trend in pre-packaged healthy meals, so is the advent of personalized, curated, engaging and valuable training. Anytime, anywhere learning is here today! This is the perfect time to expand your skills, both technical and personal, and broaden your career horizons through training and certifications. For organizations, this is the opportunity to tackle today’s staffing and hiring challenges. It just takes breaking the inertia of the status quo to rocket towards a better life, and a better career—and for businesses, a skilled and loyal workforce.

Ranked as an IT training leader in IDC’s 2021 IT MarketScape, HPE is at the forefront—a leader in providing innovative training solutions.

HPE Digital Learner is designed for the new style of learning. It provides unlimited, up-to-date access to self-paced eLearning on HPE technology, IT industry trends, and business and personal skills development.

Start a no-obligation free trial of HPE Digital Learner today! 

Kristina Lechuga
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

About the Author


I am an HPE Education Services Marketing and Social Media Specialist with a love for all things creative. I love marketing especially because I get to combine storytelling with an analytical approach to create exciting content. I'm an avid reader, painter, and music lover.


Excellent and very timely article!  


Brillant assessment of how the labor market is changing and the need for companies to adapt! A company's talent is a huge potencial creative, innovation and customer obsession engine- driving their unique differenciation. 

Shailesh Vyas

An amazing blog to read. Digital transformation is the future for reskilling and upskilling the employees. It will fill the gap and improve business performance and outcomes. 

Correction: "work/life balance" should be written as work-life balance.

Great insight into how investing in a  continuous learning journey is crucial for companies as well as  individuals in this new evolving work environment.


Oh wauw, I really enjoyed reading this article. So spot on with regards to the different generations and the way the generations look to career, training & mental health. Love it!!!!

Interesting and pleasant blog, the new normality brings big challenges for the workforce and companies, it is necessary to have continuous learning tools to tackle the accelerated changes in technology, the hybrid work and adapt to demographic changes.

great blog , very accurate about the reality we are living where everything is virtual .

Great article and makes you think about how a company manages succession planning.  Better yet, ensuring the company offers flexibility, growth and the right learning tools like HPE Digital Learner, essential for today's workforce. 

sarah lennox

I read this article nodding in agreement! So true....but I wonder if this is a consequence of the pandemic, or did the pandemic just speed up the inevitable?!

The word great has been used in many different ways throughout history. In this case, great refers to the resignation that comes from being able to do something better than what was expected. This is a powerful tool for any business owner who wants to transform their company into something greater than they were before.

Was this inevitable despite the pandemic? and did the pandemic just speed up this phenomenon? 

An insightful and thought provoking read....