Q&A: Should I Join the Office Exodus?

Question: Recently, a number of colleagues have tendered their resignation at the company I recently joined. As I am a new hire, this sudden exodus has left me wondering if there is something ‘wrong’ about the organisation and whether I should leave before it’s too late. What should I do?

Answer: It’s easy to be influenced by the sudden departure of many of your co-workers, especially if they’re senior employees. As a new hire, you’ll be the most impressionable during your first few months at your new workplace.

And in the absence of any concrete information, the rumour mill at your company will also naturally go into overdrive, putting you in a position where you’ll be receiving lots of (un)substantiated gossip.

There are many reasons for a sudden departure of employees. But before you, the greenhorn employee, join the rush to flee what appears to be a sinking ship, here are some things you should carefully consider.

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
The most obvious reason behind a sudden outflow of employees is that recent developments have left them feeling exploited and marginalised, or have otherwise altered the working dynamic and culture of the company for the worse.

For instance, employees who have been let go or have left on their own accord may not be replaced – instead, their work responsibilities were divvied up among the remaining employees, creating an atmosphere of resentment at being exploited by the company management. The company’s management may have also recently changed, with their new management style and policies alienating many longstanding employees.

One for All, All for One
It’s also possible that the group of employees who left together did so because they were ‘tapped up’ and left to join a rival organisation en masse. For headhunters, this approach can be an effective if somewhat unethical way of poaching experienced employees who’ve formed personal and professional working bonds, and who are used to functioning well as a team. Whether this actually benefits the headhunting organisation in the long run is still up for debate.

In any case, this isn’t a problem for you at all – far from it. It instead creates an opportunity for you to step up your game and let the management know about your hard work and productivity – they’ll need individuals to fill the employee void, and if you play your cards right you might just be the employee to gain from such an opportunity.

Keep Your Options Open
A more mundane explanation for the mass office walkout might be because these senior employees felt that their workplace contributions weren’t being adequately acknowledged and rewarded, and left for greener pastures – news of a single employee leaving can easily have a domino effect and push many of his or her co-workers to tender their resignation as well if it’s something they’ve been contemplating for a while.

This is a more worrying scenario for you as there’s a strong possibility you’ll end up in a similar predicament in future – remember, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

As you can see, there are multiple possible explanations for a mass emigration. The best option you have is to sit tight and weigh your options while surreptitiously asking around to find out just what’s wrong – and it’s rarely a bad idea to have an exit strategy if things turn out for the worse.

Have you experienced a mass office exodus? Share with us in the comment box below!

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