Could the “Great Resignation” Transform the Human Service Industry?

News of the “great resignation” has sparked a renewed interest in retention strategies across all industries. The impact of this mass exodus has been felt by the human service sector. But let’s face it, this is not a new problem for social service industries. Child welfare, for example, has experienced high turnover, averaging 20-40 percent, for years. (See source) The root causes are much deeper than the pandemic.

Social service professionals, by nature of their work, experience secondary trauma making them vulnerable to symptoms of compassion fatigue. But research, mostly based on exit interviews, point to several other contributing factors. I would categorize the reason people leave in four areas.

Time pressures: High caseloads and unreasonable job expectations leave professionals with little time to do the basics, let alone focus on their own care and growth.

Lack of resources: This can include pay and benefits, but also includes tools, training, and supervisory support.

Feeling ineffective: Professionals are often frustrated with ineffective systems that they believe they have no power or voice to change. They do not feel like they are making a difference.

No clear path for professional growth: There is often little opportunity to develop and practice the skill sets necessary for successful career advancement.

The reasons for staying can be summed up in two words: purpose and connection.

So, strategies for retention should create meaning and connection, while addressing the above barriers. Now, more than ever, it is important to explore innovative solutions that provide helping professionals with:

  • Access to resources needed to do their job well
  • Opportunities to meaningfully contribute
  • Spaces to connect and heal
  • Pathways for career advancement

At Cultivating Human Resiliency, we design products and services for helping organizations and helping professionals to facilitate solutions.


Explore our website to learn more about what we do and how we can assist you in your meaningful work.

To learn more about compassion fatigue and how to build resiliency in individuals and organizations, check out my book The Compassion Fatigued Organization: Restoring Compassion to Helping Professionals.

Compassion Fatigue Book The Compassion Fatigued Organization: Restoring Compassion to Helping Professionals and combatting compassion fatigue

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