Article: ‘Great Resignation’ is an opportunity in disguise: Somnath Baishya, Tesco India

Employee Engagement

‘Great Resignation’ is an opportunity in disguise: Somnath Baishya, Tesco India

Somnath Baishya, People Director, Tesco India sees ‘Great Resignation’ as an opportunity to redesign talent strategy and attract a wider pool of talent.
‘Great Resignation’ is an opportunity in disguise: Somnath Baishya, Tesco India

Employees are seeking a job change and quitting for various reasons and economists are referring to it as the era of 'Great Resignation'.

A slew of employees are now resigning for more flexibility, more money and other reasons they consider to be critical for their holistic well-being. But the challenge can be solved by addressing the reasons behind employees’ ‘great resignation’ and tailoring the existing talent strategies, believes Somnath Baishya, People Director, Tesco India. 

In an interaction with us, Somnath shared how ‘Great Resignation’ can be turned into an opportunity to rethink the old ways of working and build a stronger employee value proposition. 

Here are the key insights from the interview: 

The reality behind the ‘Great Resignation’

“Coined by Professor Anthony Klotz, the term, ‘The Great Resignation’ was more about how we as humans tend to deal with uncertainty in a particular way,” said Somnath.  

Somnath believes we tend to cling on to where we feel that there is a comfort and that is what has happened in terms of employees wanting to stay put with their employers over the last 12 to 15 months. “The attrition fell across, and now there's this fear that when things open, there is some pent-up aggression, which may possibly lead to a surge in resignation,” he said. 

It is true the dreams, desires and aspirations which people had ignored for a long time, may have resurfaced in the last 18 months. “Majority of the talent is seeking to build a career in an alternate space, alternate organisation, either they wish to relocate to another place or make new career choices,” Somnath added. 

But what if you were to shift the perspective? Somnath believes the current era of ‘Great Resignation’ is truly an era of opportunity. With an influx of businesses investing in India and the talent rethinking their careers and roles, companies who are able to align their business needs with individual aspirations can turn ‘Great Resignation’ into ‘Great Recruitment’. 

“Majority of the companies are hiring, especially in the tech sector,” Somnath pointed out. “Businesses are also undergoing tremendous transformation and creating new roles. This is an opportunity for leaders and employees to have career conversations and invest in skill-building that helps both businesses and individuals,” he added. 

Turning ‘Great Resignation’ into ‘Great Attraction’

Someone’s loss could be someone else’s gain. Why are employees quitting? “Because the grass is greener on the other side,” said Somnath. A higher level, better pay, learning opportunity, flexible work arrangement- every employee quits and joins another company for a reason. Leaders need to reflect, “Can we provide the same in our organisation and retain the disconnected employees? Can we also attract other potential candidates by providing a better work ecosystem and opportunities they are looking for?” 

It all comes down to having consistent conversations with your people, getting insights on their changing priorities and responding to them with tailored solutions. 

Creating impact, one employee at a time: Rethinking employee experience

Tesco’s diverse workforce has different perspectives on returning to the workplace. Somnath said, “Our colleagues will decide whether they wish to come to work or not.” 

Some people thrive when they have people around them, while others perform better when they are all by themselves. 

Hence, Tesco left it to the employees to decide what work model works best for them. “We have opened up a part of our office so that whoever wants to come in voluntarily can come in,” Somnath shared. 

With a percentage of people coming to the workplace, it is also critical to ensure the workplace hygiene and employee health and safety. Additionally, Tesco also organised vaccine drives for their employees and their dependents. “Unless everyone is protected at the same level, the chances of risk still exist,” he added. For Tesco, employee safety and well-being has been more important than the need to get them back to work.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Talent Management

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