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Applying for jobs when frustrated at work isn’t new, but the term “rage applying” is. It refers to young employees (Generation Z and Millennials) reacting to frustrations in the workplace by applying for as many jobs as possible in a short time.
Rage applying can be cathartic for dissatisfied employees, but it doesn’t need to be their only option. Human resources (HR) professionals can reduce instances of rage applying by creating a company culture that fits younger generations’ needs and desires.
In fact, the rage applying trend presents an excellent opportunity for organisations to review the company culture to ensure it reflects workers today.
This blog will explore the causes of rage applying among younger employees and suggests some ways HR teams and managers can improve employee engagement so that the organisation doesn’t lose top talent.
The rage applying trend can be attributed to the pandemic. Many Gen Z employees started work just before or during the pandemic, meaning their introduction to the working world was remote-first.
As a result of remote working, younger workers did not get the opportunity to form solid relationships with their colleagues or gain a sense of ‘belonging’ at work. The lack of relationships may have left these younger workers feeling untethered, unsupported, and dissatisfied.
CNBC cites a survey by CensusWide on behalf of LinkedIn that revealed younger workers are indeed less satisfied in their jobs. The survey asked more than 2,000 US workers about their professional plans for 2023 and found that Gen Zers and Millennials are more likely to quit their jobs in the next year (72% and 66%, respectively) than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers (55% and 30%, respectively).
Other factors contributing to dissatisfaction include the rising cost of living and a perceived lack of control over the forces making life difficult. These controlling forces may include a slowing economy, mass layoffs in the tech sector, mental health concerns and climate anxiety.
Company culture can make or break the employee experience. It must be healthy, supportive, and considerate of today’s work environment, or employees may become frustrated.
Below are six tips for creating a healthy culture that caters to all employees – especially the younger generations – to reduce instances of rage applying. If organisations do not recognise and address dissatisfaction in younger employees, they may lose top talent.
Organisations may need to reassess their corporate values to appeal to younger generations. An Ernst and Young Gen Z Segmentation Study showed that 63% of Gen Z workers find it essential to be a part of a company with values that match their own. These values include, but are not limited to, gender and racial equality, LGBTQIA+ rights and economic equality.
Gen Z seeks to control their career trajectory, but wants support while doing so. Three-quarters (76%) of Gen Z respondents to a Monster survey believe they are responsible for driving their careers. This finding suggests they desire independence at work, trust from their employer, and the room to thrive.
At Xref, we are an output-focused organisation, meaning we trust our people to complete their work on time and to a high standard. We empower our talent to independently manage their workload and prioritise where needed. However, support is always available through phone calls, Zoom meetings or Workplace chat, if not in-person.
While Gen Z desire to be in charge of their career trajectory, they seek support as part of that responsibility. A study by Springtide Research Institute, called ‘Work/Life: Helping Gen Z Flourish and Find Balance’ surveyed 7,000 Gen Z participants and found that workplace mentorship was one of their top priorities.
The report found that 82% of respondents said having a manager or mentor to help them set career and performance goals was extremely important. 83% wanted their supervisor to care about their life outside of work.
To set up a mentorship program, first outline goals and objectives (e.g. to improve retention). You should then determine the type of program you wish to implement, for example, in a group setting or one-to-one. You can then match mentors and mentees based on your program’s objectives and also on skills and personalities.
Once your mentorship program is in full swing, you can measure its effectiveness. One way to do this is to use employee pulse surveys. A pulse survey is a brief set of questions sent to employees at regular intervals to assess sentiment on a particular topic. You can benchmark the data to evaluate initiatives such as a mentoring program.
Engaging younger workers means respecting their wellbeing. A 2022 study by Microsoft found that almost one-quarter of young workers quit a job because of wellbeing and mental health (24%) and lack of work-life balance (24%). One-fifth (21%) resigned because of the lack of flexibility in work hours or locations.
Employers can help to support employees’ wellbeing in a number of ways:
Younger workers are big on communication in the workplace, and they expect openness and transparency from their employers. According to a survey by The Org of more than 1000 workers, 84% of Millennial workers would be more loyal to their employer if they were transparent.
For Millennials, transparency around the company’s culture and values is most important, whereas Gen Z workers want transparency around a company’s strategy and processes.
To increase transparency, organisations can:
If employees do resign, you should obtain feedback from them. Departing employees are typically honest with their feedback and provide valuable insights into what an organisation does well and how it can improve.
The best way to obtain feedback from a departing employee is through an exit survey. Using Xref Exit Surveys, organisations can ask questions to uncover an employee’s reasons for leaving. Each question in an exit survey should relate to a different aspect of the organisation, such as leadership and diversity and inclusion. An organisation can learn from the responses and use survey data to action necessary changes that will reduce attrition in the future.
Rage applying is the concept of hurriedly applying for jobs in response to work frustrations. This isn't revolutionary – it just has a name now. HR has a great opportunity to review company culture to ensure workers of all generations are satisfied and engaged at work.
Implementing some of the tips above can go a long way to engage employees and boost morale to reduce attrition. Better yet, demonstrating a willingness to adapt to younger workers’ preferences improves the employer brand and boosts recruitment efforts.