Prince Harry: Celebrate those people who quit their jobs during the pandemic

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (right – Seth Wenig/AP

People who quit jobs that did not bring them “joy” after the coronavirus lockdown should be “celebrated”, the Duke of Sussex has said in his first paid role since leaving the Royal Family.

Prince Harry, interviewed in his position as Chief Impact Officer of mental health app Better Up, said “many people” who had been “stuck in jobs that didn’t bring them joy” were now putting their wellbeing and happiness first.

Asked about the “Great Resignation”, in which employees handed in their notice during the Covid-19 pandemic, he said that “a lot” of the workplace departures were not “all bad”.

The Duke left the working Royal Family in January 2020, and now holds a number of roles from his new home of California, including being the public face of online “coaching platform” BetterUp which charges £364 a month for users.

In an interview with tech news website Fast Company, he was asked: “Covid has accelerated a lot of trends in the workplace – like increased burnout and job resignations. How have you adapted your strategy to address these things?”

Prince Harry said: “While on the surface it looks like these last couple of years brought all these issues to the foreground, the reality is these struggles and issues have been brewing for quite some time.

“We’re just at the beginning of the mental health awakening.

“This work has never been more important because people are finally paying attention, and a big component of this mission is building awareness and continuing to pioneer the conversation.

“I’ve actually discovered recently, courtesy of a chat with [BetterUp science board member] Adam Grant, that a lot of the job resignations you mention aren’t all bad.

“In fact, it is a sign that with self-awareness comes the need for change.

“Many people around the world have been stuck in jobs that didn’t bring them joy, and now they’re putting their mental health and happiness first.

“This is something to be celebrated.”

‘Growth and transformation are possible’

In November, it was reported that a record number of employees had quit their jobs in 2021 during the “Great Resignation”.

In the UK, 400,000 people resigned in June, July and August, with a total of one million people moving jobs once those who were also sacked or at the end of a temporary contract were taken into account.

Prince Harry joined BetterUp – his first announced paid role after leaving the Royal Family – in March. It is currently valued at $4.7 billion.

In a link to his previous life in the UK, he disclosed the app had offered 1,000 free Better Up memberships for young leaders from the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. He was formerly president of the Trust, a charity which aims to galvanise a new generation of bright young people in the Commonwealth.

Asked about his new role, he said he is focused on “driving advocacy and awareness for mental fitness, guiding BetterUp’s social mission and impact, influencing the vision of BetterUp’s platform, community, and member experience, [and] expanding BetterUp’s global community of thought leadership, coaches, customers, and members through outreach and strategic planning”.

Day-to-day now, he added, “we’ve been able to be louder about the mission, reach more people, and generally share with more of the world why doing the work associated with mental fitness is so important, and how helping others reach their peak performance positively impacts the whole world”.

The Duke said he and the company “envision a world where growth and transformation are possible for everyone”.

“Being attuned with your mind, and having a support structure around you, are critical to finding your own version of peak performance, whether you’re a global leader or an employee working nine to five,” he said.

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