Inner resignation impacts one in two businesses

14 July 2016

​According to independent research by specialist recruiter Robert Half, almost half (49%) of Australian businesses have experienced ‘inner resignation’ – when staff members are present physically but have mentally resigned from the job. Inner resignation tends to be more common in large companies with 54% saying they have seen it happen versus 47% of SMEs.

Only 38% of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and finance directors say their business is not impacted by inner resignation – a figure that rises to 42% in SMEs.

Businesses adopt multiple strategies to keep employees engaged

The vast majority (97%) of finance leaders use a range of strategies to prevent inner resignation. One in two (52%) businesses promote employee appreciation, rewards and recognition. This is followed by 41% who ensure the role matches the employee. Just under two out of five (39%) businesses foster open lines of communication and provide feedback to make sure they are aware if employees are doubting their decision to stay at the company.

Initiatives undertaken to avoid inner resignation

Employee appreciation, rewards and recognition 52%
Ensure job fits the employee 41%
Foster open communication and feedback  39%
Provide personal development and training 29%
Avoid passing on pressure to employees 28%
Promote top employees 18%
Run internal employee survey 15%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 300 Australian CFOs and finance directors – multiple answers allowed.

David Jones, Senior Managing Director Robert Half Asia Pacific said: “Inner resignation poses problems for both the employee and the employer. Employees who have mentally resigned from the company will not be as productive and motivated as when they were first hired, and this will ultimately have a negative effect on a company’s bottom line.”

“It is vital for business leaders to keep staff motivated and engaged in order to maintain workplace morale and productivity. It is an area where prevention is better than cure because once an employee has resigned emotionally, it is often too late to turn the tables. This highlights the need to address motivation concerns before they reach this point.”

“For employees, simply accepting inner resignation as part of the job is the worst possible course of action. In such cases, employees need to find out what is causing their dissatisfaction and lack of motivation, and be prepared to address the issue with your manager or take action and move on to a new job,” added David Jones.

Robert Half offers some tips for both employers and employees to avoid/address inner resignation:

For employers

  • Foster a workplace where employees are able to express their views with confidence.
  • Provide constructive feedback. 
  • Take an interest in your employees – and treat workplace complaints seriously.
  • Emphasise common goals.
  • Improve office culture by creating a positive work environment.
  • Ensure salaries are adequate.

For employees 

  • Set personal goals. 
  • Challenge yourself.
  • Speak up if you have concerns. 
  • Offer suggestions for positive change. 
  • Let your employer know what motivates you.


Notes to editors

About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm, surveying 300 Chief Financial Officers (CFO) and finance directors in Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.

Contact Us


Gabrielle Nagy  
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
Tel: 02 8028 7751
Email: [email protected]

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