Gen Z: Is Quiet Quitting a Problem or a Wake-Up Call?

Gen Z: Is Quiet Quitting a Problem or a Wake-Up Call?

Many young employees from Gen Z are taking to TikTok to express their frustration about the workplace and profess their practice of quiet quitting. Essentially, they are remaining at their jobs and still receiving paychecks and benefits, but they are sticking strictly to their the job descriptions and maintaining precise schedules.

On social media, some are bragging about doing the bare minimum because of their disappointment in their employer or simply as a lifestyle choice. Some older workers are suggesting this is a result of laziness or lack of ambition. Many in Gen Z argue that they are simply doing what is expected of them contractually, and nothing more, to maintain work-life balance.

The Phenomenon of Quiet Quitting

More than 3.9 million TikTok posts (and presumably counting) have addressed this phenomenon. Many explain that quiet quitting is really about setting boundaries and improving work-life balance or fighting the proverbial man.

“You’re not quiet quitting,” says Claudia Alick in a TikTok video. “You’re just resisting being stolen from. Unfortunately, that’s how capitalism works. That’s how they make a profit. The profit comes from you not getting paid your full value.”

But some career experts and even other TikTok users suggest that young employees are playing with fire. By never going above and beyond, they are making themselves vulnerable to layoffs at a time when budget is a concern. In addition, they might rule themselves out of promotions down the road.

Emily Smith, a TikTok user, reminds people that their boss might not know all their tasks or how long it takes for them to get everything done. She suggests having a conversation about what to prioritize and how to spread out the deadlines is a better route than quiet quitting. Others suggest this practice is bad news for employers.

“Experts say any lack of motivation among a  company’s youngest workers can become a troubling sign. ‘Organizations are dependent on employees doing more than a minimum,'” says Mark Royal, senior director for Korn Ferry Advisory, according to a Korn Ferry blog.

What Should HR Do?

HR leaders should investigate the phenomenon of quiet quitting to determine whether it is happening at their organization. After all, a lack of employee engagement is top of mind in Human Resources. Thirty percent of those who responded to the latest State of HR report said employee engagement and experience is their top priority.

The pandemic forced people to rethink their lifestyle and reprioritize work. For many, family, friends, and personal pursuits have replaced work in the top spot. Some say that quiet quitting is the new checking out. Regardless, the Great Resignation has shown that employers, who do not take these shifts in culture seriously, will pay in a loss of talent.

At the same time, the top consequence of the pandemic, according to the respondents of State of HR, was burnout. That may be why TikTok users are leading the charge to demand better working conditions. Certainly, HR leaders are responding with different benefits, such as unlimited PTO and zen rooms, and policies like devising rules that limit calls and emails outside of work hours.

Even Goldman Sachs, famous for its 100-hour work weeks for associates, is requiring employees to take paid time off. Salesforce is testing work weeks with no meetings. Others are experimenting with four-day work weeks, flexibility in when and where employees work, and company-wide vacation days. This experimentation is part of the transformation of work that everyone is witnessing post pandemic.

The question becomes whether quiet quitting is an afront to employers that will degrade their ability to serve customers and innovate or is simply a new way of working that puts people’s personal lives and wellbeing above everything else. Perhaps, this is just part of the cultural shift and workplace transformation the country has been experiencing since the start of the pandemic.

By Francesca Di Meglio

Originally posted on HR Exchange Network

Can HR Capitalize on Resignation Remorse?

Can HR Capitalize on Resignation Remorse?

The Great Resignation has paved the way for resignation remorse, according to a number of publications. In fact, 72% of the 2,500 U.S. workers surveyed by The Muse said their new role or company was very different from what they had been led to believe. For HR leaders still dealing with a labor shortage or simply trying to fill open positions, this news could help.

Ideally, HR professionals are tracking employees and can address issues before the valued employee decides to quit. Predictive analytics can prove beneficial in these cases. However, sometimes, there’s nothing HR can do, until and unless ex-employees realize they made a mistake.

Learn about how HR can capitalize on resignation remorse:

Court Departing Talent

Some employees are not a good fit, and it might even be a relief when they give notice. However, there are many employees that HR professionals and hiring managers wish would stay. Always make a person’s exit a positive experience.

To start, express disappointment when a valuable employee quits. If possible, see if there is any way to get him or her to stay. Conduct an exit interview to pinpoint the reasons the employee decided to quit. Sometimes, the answer will be as simple as receiving a higher salary. Often, there’s not much HR can do about that kind of resignation.

However, there are other reasons people leave jobs. Maybe they need more flexibility because they are parents. Perhaps, they want to a job that gives them more of a sense of purpose. HR professionals have an opportunity to share ways they could have accommodated those needs.

Even if the employees are still going to move on, they will know of the possibilities should they ever want to return. Of course, let them know they could always come back to interview again should there be openings that might be a good fit.

Create an Alumni Network

Speakers at the recent Employee Engagement and Experience event talked about the employer brand. One of the ideas that many companies have had is staying engaged with employees who leave the company. Previously, the idea was simply for the employee not to burn a bridge.

However, now some employers are reaching out and staying connected to former employees, who have had positive experiences. They ask them to spread the word about their time with the organization and recommend job candidates. HR leaders can stay connected on social media to promote the company and follow the achievements of their former employees. Sometimes, these groups of alumni form organically online. It’s just a matter of discovering them.

Stay in Touch

At top business schools, people always talk about proper ways to network. One of the biggest bits of advice is to connect with people regularly for the sole purpose of checking in. In other words, one should not reach out simply for transactional purposes.

HR professionals can come up with a schedule for dropping a note to stellar, former employees who could be an ambassador. Of course, they should follow them on social media, and they can celebrate new achievements. The point is to develop a relationship, so this ex-employee can either promote the employer brand or return to the company at some point.

Actively Recruit Alumni

Not every former employee is going to be a good fit for a comeback. Some will, however. They come back to the company with certain benefits to the employer. They know the basics of how the place works. Even if things must have changed while they were gone, they still have some contacts and basic institutional knowledge. They will not require as much training. Most importantly, they have likely picked up new skills in their time away.

As a result, HR professionals should use this alumni network to actively recruit for positions. Even if the alumnus is not interested, he may be able to connect you to others, who would be a good fit. The bottom line is that HR professionals should stay connected to former employees as part of a complete and innovative recruiting strategy.

By Francesca Di Meglio

Originally posted on HR Exchange Network

5 Things You Should Know About the Americans with Disabilities Act

5 Things You Should Know About the Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 makes it illegal for companies to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability, according to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This legislation, which has been amended in the years since it was originally signed into law, provides guidelines to employers for accommodating and being fair to the differently abled.

There are limitations to protection.

“An individual with a disability must also be qualified to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to be protected by the ADA,” according to the EEOC. Specifically, they must meet the requirements set by the employer for education, employment experience, skills, licenses, and other job-related standards. In addition, they must also perform their job obligations with or without accommodations.

The job description matters.

In the eyes of the law, the job description matters because it will be considered proof of the requirements and duties the employee – regardless of disability – must perform. Therefore, HR leaders should carefully craft job descriptions.

This is actually a good fit with a general trend of greater transparency and a hiring process that is more likely to help employers find a good match in job candidates to avoid attrition. People should know what their days will be like, how they can succeed on the job, and what tasks they will have to accomplish.

Accommodation is not as simple as it sounds.

Reasonable accommodation refers to making a change or modification to make it possible for a qualified applicant or employee, who is disabled, to apply for the job, do the job, and experience treatment equal to others. In the legal sense, this could mean providing devices, making the workplace accommodating with structures like doorways wide enough for wheelchairs, and providing interpreters.

There is a caveat to providing reasonable accommodation. Some might see it as a loophole:

“It is a violation of the ADA to fail to provide reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified individual with a disability, unless to do so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of your business,” according to EEOC. “Undue hardship means that the accommodation would require significant difficulty or expense.”

While employers are not legally required to make all the changes, many are trying to equip their workplace so it is more welcoming to their diverse group of employees. Some are making any content on the internet accessible. Other examples might include removing lighting that would disturb those with photosensitive conditions.

Be aware of the limits to your questioning.

HR professionals should know that they cannot ask job candidates if they are disabled or about the severity of their disability. No one can require a medical exam before making a job offer. However, HR leaders and hiring managers can ask about the person’s qualifications and abilities to do the tasks of the job.

The ADA works into DEI strategies.

The ADA provides a kind of roadmap for employers interested in hiring and accommodating disabled employees. The workforce should reflect the outside community. Certainly, disabled Americans are in the real world, and they can contribute and excel. Ignoring their potential simply because of a disability is a missed opportunity.

One in four Americans has a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Yet, only about 19% of workers in the United States are disabled. More HR leaders, however, are recognizing that they should never define a person by his or her disability. They should instead recognize the merits of their candidacy and consider them for jobs.

In fact, diversity in recruitment and hiring is a solution to the labor shortage. The CDC also reports that more than 45% of disabled adults have functional disabilities. Now, many companies can hire disabled people to work remotely, which would not require making changes to an office or workspace for accommodation.

Ultimately, by considering the requirements of the ADA and recognizing what their company can do to accommodate those with disabilities, HR professionals can open a new pipeline of talent. In addition, they can extend their reach and continue to diversify their workforce.

By Francesca Di Meglio

Originally posted on HR Exchange Network

6 Ways to Help Employees Combat Burnout

6 Ways to Help Employees Combat Burnout

Respondents to the latest State of HR report list burnout as the greatest consequence of the pandemic. In fact, the Great Resignation lingers, in part, because the burnout has gotten worse. Now, companies are facing inflation, the yanking of job offers, and the possibility of layoffs. While they are tightening their belts and being far more cautious, their workers remain overworked and burdened.

So, HR leaders are in hot pursuit of mental health and wellness solutions, ways to reach out and show they care. They want to help improve retention and ensure a functioning, healthy workforce. Knowing where to begin with a burnout prevention plan is challenging.

Access to Help

To start, HR professionals must connect their employees with resources to help them reduce stress, treat diagnosed mental illness, and everything in between. This requires due diligence. Experts suggest that HR leaders conduct surveys, ask questions, and listen to employees to learn what they need. Then, they can take action and provide solutions that will be used and are more likely to work.

PTO

Paid time off (PTO) is crucially getting redesigned for the new workplace. Aside from changing the delivery with options like unlimited PTO, companies are insisting people take time off. Goldman Sachs, for instance, will require employees to take a minimum of 15 days off per year beginning in 2023.

Even if some organizations do not have a minimum vacation policy, they are encouraging leaders to use their PTO to model healthy behavior. Many employees feel pressure to keep working, especially if they see their bosses chaining themselves to their desks. Getting people in the United States to use their PTO is part of a cultural shift that is taking place. Suddenly, people are interested in making work-life balance a priority. Getting time off and stepping away from work is a way to combat burnout.

Mini Breaks

Some HR leaders are pushing for mini breaks throughout the day. This could be a five- or 10-minute pause after a meeting or between tasks. The idea is for people to take a deep breath, go to the bathroom, reflect on their to-do list or what happened in the last meeting, walk around a bit, rest their eyes after hours on the computer, etc.

This is a shorter version of the traditional coffee break (but one certainly could grab a coffee or tea). Mini breaks allow people to transition from one task to another and briefly rest their mind, so they do not feel as though they are on the go 24/7. Some companies, as reported in the Employee Engagement and Experience for the Post-COVID World report, offer zen rooms that give people a chance to chill out at work.

Better Scheduling

Having better work-life balance can improve stress and reduce the likelihood of burnout. Again, it’s incumbent upon leaders in the organization to set the standard by not sending out emails before or after typical working hours, for example. Make rules about when teammates can call one another about work – and stick to them.

Most importantly, recognize when a meeting could be an email and do not schedule it. In fact, some companies are choosing at least one day per week with no scheduled meetings. These scheduling efforts might seem like small gestures, but clearing the calendar and separating work hours from personal hours can ease pressure.

Flexibility

Flexibility is the keyword of the moment. Employees want permission to work when and where they want as long as they maintain their output and deliver for their bosses. Many employers are not on board. There is a grand debate about working from home or returning to work with many in leadership preferring RTO.

Still, there are ways to be flexible and empathetic. For instance, if someone needs to pick up their kids from school, a manager can allow them to do so. In some offices, they allow workers to bring their pets to the office. Just knowing that one’s boss supports him if something comes up can help combat the stress that leads to burnout.

Lighten Work Loads

With the labor shortage that many are experiencing and the fact that employers are trying to do more with less, people are feeling overworked. In these cases, managers should delegate, so that people are sharing the burdens. Also, they can refrain from having people do repetitive tasks that might be nice but are not necessary. Perhaps, workers can gather numbers for the monthly report every other month instead.

Finding ways to help employees prevent burnout is a top priority for HR leaders. After all, burnout is contributing to the record number of Americans quitting their jobs, which is causing a labor shortage for many. To combat burnout is a way to work on retention.

By Francesca Di Meglio

Originally posted on HR Exchange Network

Generational Myths Part 3: Gen X

Generational Myths Part 3: Gen X

Today’s offices potentially span five full generations ranging from Generation Z to the Silent Generation. A coworker could just as easily be raised with a smart phone in hand as they could have used a typewriter at their first job. Some see differences between generational colleagues as an annoyance (“kids these days!”) and many rely on generational stereotypes as fact. Truth of that matter is that generational stereotypes have about as many holes in them as a piece of Swiss cheese. Current research questions the validity of generational stereotypes. This series uncovers top generational myths as a strategy to support a diverse and healthy employee population.

Next, we analyze the smallest generational group, born between 1965 and 1980: Generation X.

The top three myths of Gen X include:

  1. They are “risk takers.”

Some believe that this group is characterized as being reactionary and rebellious. In fact, Generation X keeps a much lower profile at work. This group was called “the forgotten generation” by Pew Research. Why? Because they are a smaller group smashed in between two larger generations (Millennials and Baby Boomers). Additionally, they are the generation least likely to be promoted at work. A 2018 Harvard Business Review study concluded that Millennials and Baby Boomers had received two or more promotions in the same period that 66% of Gen X received one or less. Gen X was raised hearing their parents complain about “work-life” balance. Truth is, they are the group most likely to be helping their children and parents in addition to work. This group is a reliable bunch who values loyalty.

  1. Gen X has a hard time relating to other generations in the workplace.

While some say that Gen X alienates other generations, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Nielsen research called Generation X the “most connected” generation. Technology adaption played a huge role in their ability to bridge the generations above and below them. Most were not introduced to technology until adulthood. This lack of computer access in their youth helps them relate to boomers in the office. At the same time, they share an excitement for technology with Millennials and lined up alongside them to get their first iPhones. Generation X are natural collaborators and often play the role of connector in the office.

  1. Their pessimism hurts them in the workplace.

Gen X has worked through several hefty recessions and watched their retirement accounts take devastating hits. Experian reports that Generation X carries more debt than other groups and data from the National Association of Realtors showed this generation more likely to be declined for homeowner loans. So, can you blame them for being cynical? However, a closer look uncovers a different story in the way this shows up at work. Generation X is savvy because of these hardships and surprisingly content. In fact, a Better Hire survey concluded that more than 50% of Generation X participants are happy at work. They show up with an entrepreneurial spirit, owning their own destiny.

In sum, Gen X values stability rather than risk in the workplace. They play an important connector role at work with colleagues and at home with their families. Gen X has “been there, done that” and uses these lessons to make work enjoyable. They are an important piece in the generational puzzle.

© UBA. All rights reserved.

What Employees Want: Hybrid Work and Flexibility

What Employees Want: Hybrid Work and Flexibility

2021 was quittin’ time in America.  Last year alone over 47.4 million Americans quit their jobs. This year, employees seemingly have the upper hand against employers.  The Turnover Tsunami, a.k.a. The Great Resignation, has forced a reckoning with the workplace and few employers have come away unscathed.  Organizations are now shifting priorities to make employee well-being and retention the priority.  The fact of the matter is, after health insurance, the most desirable perks and benefits are those that offer flexibility while improving work/life balance. So, what is it that employees really want to achieve a better work/life balance?

  • Hybrid Work – Working remotely some days in the week and at a physical office on others
  • Flexibility– Being able to occasionally shift hours that best fit an employee’s life

Why Hybrid Work?

In 2020, people had to change the way they worked overnight and turned their kitchen tables into a fully functioning office.  Many employees discovered they were more productive at home.  On the other hand, some miss the social nature of the office and working collaboratively in person.  Because of these mixed perks of in office vs. working at home, hybrid work can offer the best of both worlds.

According to a survey by the International Workplace Group, 72% of office workers would prefer a hybrid way of working to a full-time return to the office – even if reverting to Monday – Friday routine meant earning more money.

Why Flexible Work?

When the workforce went home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it caused a change in the expectations of employees and therefore the way companies approach their work environments.  The pandemic prompted job seekers to seek flexibility that allows them some level of control of their time.  Gene Lanzoni at Guardian said “Time is the most important benefit an employer can provide.  For many of us the pandemic afforded us more time, and we’re really not willing to give that back.  We had a taste of a more balanced life.”

Balance has never been more important.  60% of families with children have both parents working and for these families, being able to work from home with flexibility is nonnegotiable. Flexibility can allow caregivers to log off from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. and then come back and do some work after the kids are in bed.  When employees have more control of their work schedules, they can free up time to take care of things that pop up in their personal lives – whether it’s running an errand, taking a child to the dentist, or being home for a delivery.

In the end, a flexible schedule contributes to a higher quality of life.  Employees don’t have to put their careers on hold to focus on their families or education.  This freedom is more valuable in the long run than a paycheck.

Worker retention is more important than ever in 2022.  Building a good workplace culture based on the current interests of employees plays a significant role for the success of the company.  Businesses now live in an employee-driven job market.  It is essential that as an employer you know what benefits your employees value to keep them happy, healthy and working for you.