A friend of mine recently told me they were leaving their job. When I asked if they were looking for better pay or if they were frustrated with their role and they said, “If I learned anything from my time through the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s I deserve better – I don’t feel like my company really cares about me or my career and I don’t want to waste my life doing boring tasks without meaning.”
Cue my mind blowing. I’m a Gen-X and in my day, we were called slackers for talking like that. But to be honest, I totally agree with my friend. And we aren’t alone in that thinking.
Gallup recorded in a recent poll that “48% of America’s working population is actively job searching or watching for opportunities. Businesses are facing a staggeringly high quit rate – 3.6 million Americans resigned in May alone.”
Add to that, the details from a survey dropped by Microsoft in March of this year. They found 41% of the global workforce (yep, global!) are ready to exit their jobs. When you only look at the Gen Z generation, the percent jumps to 54%! That is the future workforce we are talking about.
So, why is this happening. Several factors are at play. Holly Corbett, contributing journalist to Forbes spoke with Dr. LaNail R. Plummer, CEO of Onyx Therapy Group and she offers “Quitting is about an employment boundary and a personal decision to prioritize self.” She further states, “Our society puts so much emphasis on being in an actual work building so that people can be monitored, but this can also lead to micromanagement. There's so much emphasis on being in a physical building for productivity; however, during this pandemic, we realized that many people can be extremely productive outside of an office building and be happier, too. Forcing people to go back to the office communicates to employees that their company doesn’t value what the best work environment may be for the individual worker as well as for the clients.”
Back to the Gallup report, they insist that we should not look at this as The Great Resignation, rather the Great Discontent. In their report, their data shows that “it’s not an industry, role or pay issue. It’s a workplace issue – because the highest quit rate is among not engaged and actively disengaged workers.”
Let me call out even more staggering details from this report. The authors, Vipula Gandhi and Jennifer Robison, write: “Gallup's State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report identified a global employee engagement rate of 20% -- 34% in the U.S. and Canada. And disengagement is very costly.
- The lost productivity of not engaged and actively disengaged employees is equal to 18% of their annual salary.
- For a company of 10,000 employees with an average salary of $50,000 each, disengagement costs $60.3 million a year.
- Replacing workers requires one-half to two times the employee's annual salary. So, it costs $9,000 a year to keep each disengaged worker and between $25,000 and $100,000 to replace them.”
That. Is. A. Lot. Of. Money.
Regardless of size of your organization, can you weather the costs associated with disengaged employees?
Ok, but what can you do about it?
Well, you are going to need to change or adjust your work culture to account for the feelings and sentiment of your workers today. Holly Corbett in her Forbes article suggests three things to consider:
- Create explicit work/life barriers.
- Mandate time off.
- Normalize and celebrate having a life outside of work.
We at Rippleworx, we also believe in capturing a regularly pulse or voice of your employees through short, frequent engagement and culture surveying. One question a week, bi-monthly, or even monthly checking in on their sentiments about culture, managerial support, work/live stress or anxiety, (the list could really go on and on) from their local manager (and that right there is the secret sauce folks, just consider this insight from Gallup: “[Disengagement is] a self-defeating cycle, but it can be interrupted -- and the most effective interrupter is the local manager. Gallup finds that it takes more than a 20% pay raise to lure most employees away from a manager who engages them, and next to nothing to poach most disengaged workers.”) goes a very long way in evolving work culture to the needs of your workers and away from the expectations of organizations pre-pandemic.