Avoiding The “Big Quit”: How To Attract & Retain Young Professionals
It’s no secret that young workers are getting harder and harder to find — in April alone, four million Americans quit their jobs, and the ripple effect has set off a global avalanche of employee resignations that threaten to destabilize the entire workforce. From blue-collar fast food cashiers to high-profile accountants and office managers, the economy is reeling from the constant tumult of walkouts and two-week notices. The name of this phenomenon?
“The Big Quit,” or “The Great Resignation.” Under normal circumstances, ample turnover rates are a sign of a healthy, competitive workforce — but that’s only in a thriving economy. In a volatile job market, it would make sense for young professionals to hold onto their means of employment at all costs. So why are they leaving? Moreover, how can employers and other company decision-makers work to meet employee needs and prevent their businesses from becoming the next victim of an impromptu wave of resignations?
Understanding “The Big Quit”
As perplexing as it might sound, the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic has actually increased young employee resignation rates — instead of the other way around. Research from Ipsos provided by Eagle Hill in 2020 showed that 52 percent of employees polled in Canada and the US noted they planned to look for a new job in 2021.
Why? In fact, many young professionals experienced an unprecedented increase in anxiety and depression as a result of global lockdowns and social distancing guidelines. On top of already high rates of burnout and disillusionment among entry-level employees, many workers decided that the tradeoff for a steady paycheck simply wasn’t worth it any longer. Once return-to-work plans started rolling out in early spring, a large group of Gen Z workers and millennials decided not to come back, and in doing so crippled an already teetering global economy.
Unfortunately, businesses have had little time to adapt to this sudden workforce sea change. Many organizations have been blindsided by The Big Quit and have not yet invested in substantial mental health infrastructure for a new generation of young professionals. Employers are now losing top performers, falling behind competitors in productivity, and wasting funds on recruitment and training for new employees who are leaving the company shortly thereafter.
Fortunately, there are ways to weather “The Big Quit-Storm” — it all starts with providing adequate coaching and mental health support for new hires.
Addressing mass resignation among young employees
When it comes to mental health support, many organizations adopt a “too little too late” approach: after a series of resignations, they turn in-house to provide accommodations that fail to meet the needs of employees. Already-overworked HR representatives are often pushed to offer workers services that simply cannot compete with professional therapy or counseling. As a result, young professionals quit, and companies wither.
At the same time, hiring outside help can be a challenge — especially considering the cost of covering traditional therapy for an entire office of employees. For these reasons, it pays to think about how your organization should approach directing workers toward mental health services. Here are four important questions you should be asking yourself if you want new hires to become long-term employees:
1. How do we help young workers maintain a strong level of mental wellness in our work environment that is simultaneously affordable and convenient?
2. How do we help young employees navigate their careers inside our organization in a manner that is not biased or self-serving?
3. How can we differentiate what we offer from other companies vying for the same employee pool?
4. How do we express our values to young professionals through action? How do we let them know that they, their families, and their overall wellbeing are of key concern to us?
One answer might lie in the form of affordable, non-traditional mental health and life coaching services through a startup aimed squarely at young professionals: The Journal That Talks Back™. The Journal That Talks Back™ is a two-way digital communication service that pairs users with certified coach responders professionally trained to offer guidance, counseling and support. Unlike in-house resources or outside support in the form of traditional therapy, The Journal That Talks Back™ meets all the above criteria for proper employee support:
- Wellness in an affordable, convenient manner: Unlike standard therapy clinics, which have been overwhelmed with new signups in the wake of the pandemic, The Journal That Talks Back™ is an online service available to users 24/7. Certified coach responders reply in near-real time whenever a user needs assistance. At the same time, The Pay It Forward Fund adopted by The Journal That Talks Back™ is designed to make the service affordable for those whom therapy is too expensive.
- Non-biased career management: While in-house mental health support is certainly beneficial for young professionals in a new workplace, it can run the risk of pushing biased or company-forward messaging on workers. As an outside service offering career management support, The Journal That Talks Back™ circumvents this issue and provides new employees with peace of mind knowing they are getting impartial career advice.
- Differentiation through diversification: Where other coaching and counseling services go right, The Journal That Talks Back™ goes left. Everything about its design is aimed at meeting the needs of a modern workforce. Partnering with the service can serve as a unique identifier for your organization that other businesses will not be able to compete against.
- An employee-first mindset: Providing ample tools and resources for young professionals is a sign that your company is not just talking the talk, but also walking the walk. Young professionals value accommodations for mental health management in ways previous generations did not —an investment in The Journal That Talks Back™ shows your organization has an employee-first mindset that competitors can’t match.
Turn The “Big Quit” Into The “Great Return”
The Big Quit might be a concerning trend in the post-pandemic era, but its impact doesn’t have to be permanent for thoughtful, responsive organizations. By providing adequate mental health services and meeting the needs of young professionals, employers can work to counteract the ripple effect of The Great Resignation and come out of this uniquely volatile time with a healthier workforce than before.
If you’re a company decision-maker in charge of attracting and retaining talent, visit The Journal That Talks Back™ for more information on how to offer young workers an alternative to traditional therapy.