Research published in Personality and Individual Differences explored the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic, extraversion, burnout, and choosing to resign. The findings indicate that although extraverted individuals are more likely to struggle with pandemic-induced social isolation, they have the social support to weather the challenges of post-pandemic work.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have witnessed an extraordinary increase in employees resigning, a social phenomenon known as the Great Resignation. Burnout, a condition of persistent stress leading to physical and emotional exhaustion, is considered one of the critical causes of this trend. Identifying the unique factors contributing to burnout and employee turnover during pandemic situations can aid in planning for future occurrences.
Personality traits like extraversion can help predict employee outcomes during pandemics. In particular, extraversion can impact burnout and turnover during social isolation caused by pandemic-related social distancing policies.
Those who possess extraverted personalities may be better equipped to handle social isolation due to their ability to network and larger social circles. Previous studies have revealed that higher levels of extraversion were linked to better coping strategies, less loneliness, improved emotional well-being, and higher subjective wellness during the pandemic. Therefore, it is likely that extraversion will result in decreased burnout during the pandemic.
Young-Kook Moon and colleagues investigated the relationship between personality traits, burnout, and voluntary career change. First, the research team recruited 360 individuals through the Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform. These participants completed measures of extraversion, burnout, and voluntary turnover. A second study, again using MTurk, asked 228 participants to respond to surveys twice one week apart during June of 2020, mid-pandemic. The second study replicated study one but included questions about role overload.
The findings suggested that individuals with higher levels of extraversion experienced lower levels of burnout and, as a result, had lower turnover rates. Additionally, extraversion alleviated the negative impact of role overload on burnout during the pandemic. The research team hypothesized that extroverted workers were more adaptable to the social changes that arose during the pandemic. In contrast, introverted workers were less equipped to handle this new environment and were more likely to leave stressful situations.
The research offers preliminary proof of the connection between extraversion, burnout, and exit during the Great Resignation. However, there are a few limitations to the study. Firstly, the impact of these factors was small, and the link between burnout and voluntary turnover was not significant.
Secondly, the internet-based panel data had participants from various industries, but the impact of the Great Resignation may differ depending on the industry. Lastly, the study is not aware of which expressions of extraversion or concurring Big 5 personality traits are accountable for the association between extraversion and burnout
The results of the research have significant consequences for overseeing increased levels of burnout and employee turnover among those who are introverted. Though introversion has advantages, like being more adaptable to strict COVID-19 measures and gaining more advantages from virtual meetings, it is also linked to greater susceptibility to stressful circumstances. For introverted individuals, leaving a job due to burnout may be a way of coping and adapting to toxic work environments and abusive bosses.
The work of Moon and colleagues offers preliminary factual proof of how extraversion impacts the Great Resignation and emphasizes the significance of taking into account unique personality traits while dealing with employee burnout and turnover during challenging times.
The study, “The role of extraversion in the Great Resignation: A burnout-quitting process during the pandemic“, was authored by Young-Kook Moon, Kimberly E. O’Brien, and Kyle J. Mann.