Reassessment or Resignation: Using Culture and Knowledge to Combat the Great Resignation

Last verified Jan 5, 2022

Cyndi Lauper put it best, Money changes everything. According to a PwC survey, the Great Resignation is centered around employees wanting an increase in compensation. PwC found that out of the 65% of employees who are looking for a new job, most of them cite compensation as a top factor. 


Half of your employees are bringing major Peggy energy to 2022 (and you should be concerned)

Of course companies have to pay their employees competitively. Not to mention offer holistic perks and benefits to attract and retain a diverse pool of talent. But there is a deeper story here. 

What’s different for the knowledge workers leaving jobs in droves? 

There are plenty of reasons why someone may choose to step down from a role. Sometimes it truly does come down to pay, other times it may be because of issues like lacking reliable childcare or mental health. However, in many cases, I believe it’s a need for asserting control and agency in uncertain times.

There’s a component to the Great Resignation and employee burnout that the market doesn’t fully understand yet.

It's time to connect the dots between creating a culture of knowledge and gaining a competitive edge in today’s hiring environment.

Is motion progress? 

Going a layer deeper, Gallup research found that workers are more likely to feel they’re not paid appropriately if they’re not engaged in their current job or don’t feel that their colleagues are committed to quality work. We could say that if folx aren’t engaged at both the company level and the interpersonal level, this makes them more apt and itchy to search for greener pastures.


Pictured: An engaged and fulfilled employee

When we interviewed one Boomerang employee (employees who’ve left and then returned to an organization), he confirmed this hypothesis: 

“I just needed change in my body and my soul. I needed drastic change that Guru couldn't provide. I wanted to reap the benefits of newness and freshness.”

How much of this has to do with employee burnout? In May 2019, the World Health Organization officially recognized burnout as an 'occupational phenomenon,' resulting from 'chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.' To manage stress (no matter if it’s from too many meetings or from being chased by a lion) the body needs to complete a stress-response cycle.

The low-grade stress we experience from not being able to execute on our work, or find the information we need to do our jobs, can chip away at our autonomy, passion, and literally lead to fatigue. 

The monotony experienced when an individual doesn’t see a path forward at an organization can be debilitating. When we aren’t able to experience momentum via intrinsic motivation or external factors (like the thrill of international travel for example), it’s natural that humans seek it via a job transition. 

Certainty in uncertain times 

Even those not prone to deep inquiry have been jostled into self-reflection and assessment over the last 20 or so months. Living with uncertainty is an essential human experience and the pandemic’s cascading impact made many of us look at that uncertainty (not to mention pocket of agency and certainty) squarely.


What do we have control over on a daily basis? We have the opportunity to choose our eating habits, whom we love, the route we take on a daily walk, and where we work. Changing jobs and leaving a company for greener grass can seem a lot less complicated than getting a divorce or making other life-altering changes. Companies can't do much to account for changes in the personal lives of their employees, but they can do a lot to ensure that they create a workplace people want to participate in. 

How we’re trying to create a culture where people want to stay (and what we’ve learned) 

Knowledge documentation and dissemination build autonomy, flexibility, and trust. They act as preventative medicine to burnout, monotony, and the Great Resignation.

According to PWC’s future of Work survey, 48% of companies will change processes to become less dependent on employee institutional knowledge.

Transparent access to and dissemination of institutional knowledge like company financial information are a good place to start in making communications digital by default. This step toward knowledge-driven culture creates a foundation for asynchronous culture and showcases what matters most about your workplace. 

At Guru, we aim to foster a culture where people grow their careers, hone skill sets, and experiment to discover their zones of genius. Here are just a few of the practices we’ve put in place to make Guru a company people want to learn and grow at. 

Invest in a knowledge-driven culture

The time affluence required to hone skills and experiment wouldn’t be possible without Guru’s pursuit to actively embody a  knowledge-driven culture (KDC). A KDC is a culture in which company knowledge is an institutional asset, where the continuous maintenance of knowledge is present in values and behaviors, processes, and measurements.

Leaders actively contribute, sharing their knowledge with their teams as well as broadly across the organization. According to research, 84% of companies with KDCs are satisfied or very satisfied with their level of employee engagement. 

Go digital by default 

It’s not office culture, it’s company culture. From onboarding to product enablement, autonomy and access to knowledge in one’s workflow is essential no matter where we work. Guru deliberately time blocks days and times (like a no internal meeting Wednesday) to encourage employees to seek both balance and deep work. Beyond the tactile, sharing company goals and financials (the good and what needs to be improved) in a self-serve way explicitly signals trust to employees.

Design teams (and processes) to foster belonging at scale 

At our company stage, we’ve invested in an Internal Comms team, a Workplace Operations team, and People Business partners for our revenue and product organizations.

This investment in people is no accident - without explicit investment in intentional organizational structures, fostering belonging can become an afterthought or nice to have.

Human relations business partners (HRBS) support the growth and development of individual employees and departments in tangible and tactical ways (manager training for example). 

So what? 

Guru is always trying to do our best to foster a healthy culture, and since experimenting with these three elements, we’ve seen an increase in our eNPS (employee net promoter score). Our 84% employee retention rate is benchmarked to the top percentile among companies at our stage during this year of the Great Resignation. Our last quarter’s eNPS of 75 is the highest it’s been YTD, and that’s pretty great when you take into account that the benchmark for New Tech companies is 31.

We're not just firm advocates of knowledge-driven cultures, we also practice what we preach.  Employee engagement and satisfaction are absolutely crucial for everyone's success. One of the simplest and most effective ways to keep people engaged and happy at work is to give them what they need to thrive. When people have the knowledge and support they need to effectively work, all of the sudden the great resignation seems like much less of a threat. 

It's a constant experiment, but we're happy to share what we've learned. We’re excited to share more as we test different strategies and we hope you’ll share some strategies of your own.