‘The Great Resignation’

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An offhand remark by Daughter No. 2 caught me by surprise: “All my friends hate their jobs,” she declared on a weekend visit.

She and her crew, quintessential Millennials, have been busy establishing careers and households in the years since college, following the long-established pattern of similarly aged young adults.

But at a time when COVID has led many people to question their work lives — sparking what has been dubbed The Great Resignation — her generation appears particularly uneasy.

Management consultant McKinsey & Co. reports that nearly half of U.S.-based employees in a survey of more than 1,000 said the pandemic had them reconsidering the kind of work they do. Millennials, meantime, “were three times more likely than others to say that they were reevaluating work,” the survey showed.

Businesses should take notice, McKinsey said, since the findings “have implications for your company’s talent-management strategy and its bottom line.”

It recommended that companies consider what their organization’s “purpose” is and how that is communicated, since workers tend to “live their [own] purpose at work” and alignment of the two can bring “stronger employee engagement, heightened loyalty and a greater willingness to recommend the company to others.”

Of course, helping workers advance their sense of purpose through work can be challenging, depending on the industry.

Frontline food service and health care workers can’t work remotely in aid of meeting family or community commitments, a group of recruiters admitted in a webinar last week.

But “getting into the mindset that nothing’s off the table until you prove it won’t work” can go far in earning props from employees, said Kristin Russum, a director at TriNet Group, a California-based provider of human resources and payroll services for small and medium-size businesses.

She was part of a TriNet team participating in a “best practices” webinar for the food industry titled “From Great Resignation to Great Retention,” which looked at workforce trends and offered suggestions on how companies can remain attractive in light of them.

Since it’s a jobseekers’ market and the best talent will have multiple choices on where to work, TriNet encouraged offering flexibility “whenever possible.” Other “creative” ideas listed on a slide, for those with pockets not as deep as bigger firms, included pet care, tutoring, language courses and meal allowances.

Would any of that make a difference to Daughter No. 2’s friends? It’s hard to say (although a couple of them might like a pet-sitting perk).

I came up empty for sage advice, mumbling something about job discontent not being uncommon. Heck, government statistics show that “quits” — the non-technical term the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to quantify workers voluntarily leaving their jobs — have been running high since April, hitting new records monthly.

On the bright side, though: Job openings also remain high. So any Millennial thinking of pulling a Great Resignation will still have options.

Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist. Opinions expressed in her column are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. Reach her at [email protected]

Categories: Business

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