Dr. Nita Chhinzer

With many employers in the United States and Canada seeing increasing numbers of workers quitting, a University of Guelph human resources researcher is warning employers to prepare for a ‘turnover tsunami.’

Dr. Nita Chhinzer is professor of human resource management and business consulting in the Department of Management in U of G’s Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics. She says the numbers of workers exiting the workforce are climbing and those numbers will increase in the months ahead.

In a recent interview with CBC News, she warned a “mass exodus” of workers is coming, in part because the pandemic has caused many workers to re-evaluate their careers and demand more work-life balance and support from employers.

In a recent commentary for Conversation Canada, Chhinzer discussed the related concept of ‘turnover contagion” — the phenomenon in which people quit their jobs because respected co-workers quit first.

Chhinzer recently completed research with co-authors on the phenomenon, which will be published in the next edition of the Leadership & Organizational Development Journal.

Her team’s research found that when strong performers quit, co-workers are more likely to re-evaluate their relationship with the company. They may perceive the departure as a signal the company is a “sinking ship” or doesn’t value star performers — or that it’s an indication that they themselves will now have to work more.

“Given the research on turnover contagion, that means the post-pandemic period may be challenging for many companies if they lose strong performers,” she wrote.

Chhinzer is available to discuss these trends as well as the implications for employers and what they can do to retain workers.


Dr. Nita Chhinzer