Great Resignation Taking Toll on Managers

New Wiley research suggests work-related stress caused by staffing instability has managers feeling overwhelmed

HOBOKEN, N.J.-Managers are feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the impact of the Great Resignation, according to The Great Resignation: When the Unflappable Manager…Flaps, a new study by Wiley (NYSE: JW-A), a global leader in research and education.

The report, based on a survey of nearly 5,000 working professionals conducted by Wiley’s Professional Learning research team, suggests the record number of resignations across the country over the past several months have led to increased instability of work teams, making workplaces stressful and even chaotic.

The vast majority (89%) of respondents said they have experienced at least one team shift over the past year, which can include the loss or transfer of a team member or a change in manager, and the majority have experienced two or more team shifts. This is particularly problematic for managers, who are tasked with maintaining productivity during these times of team instability.

When managers are stressed, the impact on staff retention can make matters even worse, as managers play a critical role in employee satisfaction. In a previous report in this Wiley series of studies on the Great Resignation, nearly all employees surveyed (96%) agreed that their manager has an impact on their well-being at work, and 42% said they have left a job in the past because of their manager.

“It’s well known that having good managers is vital to organizational success, but their role becomes even more critical to employee engagement and retention amidst the Great Resignation,” said Cherryl D’Souza, Vice President of Brand Management at Wiley. “In order to ensure managers get their unique needs met throughout this time of instability, Wiley is working hard to help companies understand how to better support leaders to reduce work-related stress.”

Managers Less Likely to Benefit from Stress Management Resources

Managers and individual contributors appear to have roughly equal access to stress management resources offered by their employers, such as virtual counseling and support and greater flexibility in work location and hours. However, the findings suggest managers are less likely than individual contributors to benefit from those resources, possibly because of the complexity and workload of the managerial role.

The report suggests that because managers face additional responsibilities, they have less time to take advantage of such resources. They may be required to take on additional work to make up for the loss of team members or focused on helping remaining employees manage their own workloads.

Managers may also be actively avoiding stress management resources for fear of being perceived as weak or unable to handle work-related pressure.


Wiley’s report offers three main recommendations for how companies can help managers handle the unique circumstances and additional stresses created by Great Resignation.

  • Offer managers a safe space to talk about work-related stress and listen to their needs.
  • Provide recognition to managers for the work they are doing and take steps to help them feel respected, valued, and appreciated.
  • Offer management skills training so they are better equipped to deal with the day-to-day demands of the management role.

This research report is the second in a planned series of four reports on the impact of the Great Resignation on the workplace.

Wiley offers professional learning solutions such as Everything DiSC, CrossKnowledge, The Leadership Challenge, The Five Behaviors, and PXT Select designed to help companies, managers, and individual employees assess and improve workplace skills, perform better, and become more successful.


The Great Resignation: When the Unflappable Manager…Flaps is based on a sample of 4,937 working professionals from across a variety of industries, primarily in the US, who responded to and completed Wiley’s survey.

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