The Great Resignation: A Catalyst for Corporate Governance Reform in Nigeria

In the wake of unprecedented global events, the landscape of corporate governance is undergoing a profound transformation. Nowhere is this more evident than in Nigeria, where the phenomenon known as the "Great Resignation" is reshaping the relationship between employees and employers, and catalysing a reevaluation of corporate governance practices.


The Great Resignation, a term coined to describe the mass exodus of employees from their jobs, has been sweeping across industries worldwide. It's a multifaceted phenomenon driven by various factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting work preferences, burnout, and a reassessment of work-life balance. In Nigeria, where economic challenges and social dynamics intersect, the Great Resignation has taken on unique dimensions, presenting both challenges and opportunities for corporate governance.


Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and largest economy grapples with a myriad of socio-economic challenges, including high unemployment rates, inadequate infrastructure, and widespread poverty. The Nigerian corporate landscape reflects these challenges, characterised by a mix of large conglomerates, state-owned enterprises, and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


Historically, corporate governance in Nigeria has faced scrutiny due to issues such as boardroom corruption, lack of transparency, and weak regulatory oversight. However, in recent years, concerted efforts have been made to strengthen corporate governance frameworks, driven by regulatory reforms and increased investor scrutiny.


The Great Resignation has served as a wake-up call for Nigerian corporations, highlighting the importance of employee well-being, engagement, and retention. As skilled workers reassess their career priorities and seek more fulfilling roles, organizations are compelled to reevaluate their corporate governance practices to attract and retain top talent.


One of the key areas of focus is board diversity and effectiveness. Nigerian companies are recognising the need for more diverse and inclusive boards that reflect the country's demographic makeup. By incorporating a variety of perspectives, experiences, and skill sets, boards can make better-informed decisions and enhance corporate performance.


Moreover, the Great Resignation has underscored the importance of ethical leadership and transparency in corporate governance. Employees are increasingly demanding greater accountability from senior management and boards of directors. Companies are now implementing measures to foster a culture of integrity, honesty, and accountability at all levels of the organization.


In response to the changing expectations of employees, many companies are embracing flexible work arrangements. Remote work, flexible hours, and telecommuting options are becoming more common, enabling employees to achieve a better work-life balance. By accommodating employee preferences, organisations can boost morale, productivity, and retention rates.

However, implementing flexible work arrangements requires careful consideration of legal, logistical, and technological factors. Companies now invest in robust IT infrastructure, cybersecurity measures, and collaboration tools to support remote work effectively. Additionally, they are revising HR policies and procedures to ensure compliance with labour laws and regulations.


Another critical aspect of corporate governance reform in Nigeria is investing in employee development and well-being. As the competition for talent intensifies, companies are prioritizing training, upskilling, and professional development programs to empower their workforce and foster career advancement.


Furthermore, organisations are implementing initiatives to support employee well-being, including mental health resources, wellness programs, and work-life balance initiatives. By prioritizing employee health and happiness, companies can enhance productivity, reduce absenteeism, and foster a positive organisational culture.


While internal initiatives are essential, regulatory reform also plays a crucial role in shaping corporate governance in Nigeria. Government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) are introducing new regulations and guidelines to enhance transparency, accountability, and investor protection.


For example, the SEC recently issued a code of corporate governance for public companies, outlining best practices in board composition, risk management, and financial reporting. Similarly, the CAC has introduced reforms to streamline company registration processes, improve corporate disclosure requirements, and combat corruption.


The Great Resignation is reshaping corporate governance in Nigeria, prompting organizations to reevaluate their practices and prioritize employee well-being, diversity, and transparency. By embracing flexible work arrangements, investing in employee development and well-being, and adhering to regulatory reforms, Nigerian companies can navigate the challenges of the Great Resignation and emerge stronger, more resilient, and better positioned for long-term success. As the corporate landscape continues to evolve, the principles of good governance will remain essential in driving sustainable growth, fostering trust, and creating value for stakeholders across Nigeria.


Research & Advocacy Department,

Chartered Institute of Directors (CIoD), Nigeria

28, Cameron Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.



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