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From quiet quitting to rage applying, new terms are hitting the workplace all the time. The newest workplace trend employers may not be familiar with is ‘resenteeism’.
The term resenteeism has been called the moody successor to quiet quitting, but it is anything but quiet. It was coined by the business software company RotaCloud, and refers to dissatisfied employees who stay in a job they actively resent due to a lack of better options.
Much like quiet quitting, resenteeism is a result of workplace dissatisfaction. However, unlike quiet quitting, resenteeism expresses these frustrations. Quiet quitters may have been happy to do the bare minimum, but ‘resentees’ may be more likely to make their dissatisfaction known.
Resenteeism is not the fault of human resources (HR) teams. It can affect organisations in any industry of any size and is symptomatic of economic times. However, recognising instances of resenteeism within an organisation is an excellent opportunity for HR teams to take steps to improve employee engagement long-term.
This blog will explore the causes of resenteeism and provide tips to lessen its effects.
According to RotaCloud, resenteeism may be a response to the Great Resignation. After millions of employees left organisations for greener pastures, the remaining employees were left to pick up the slack.
The combination of existing stress and new stressors has caused frustrations to come to a boil. New stressors include economic uncertainty, the rising cost of living, and job uncertainty across industries experiencing mass layoffs (such as the tech industry). These stressors compounding over time likely result in burnout.
There are great incentives for organisations to boost employee engagement. Gallup research found that organisations with engaged workers have 23% more profit than those with unhappy employees. The research also stated that engagement reduces staff attrition and absenteeism whilst increasing customer loyalty.
Recognising the signs of resenteeism is the first step to reducing it, but this can be difficult. While ‘presenteeism’ refers to employees who are ‘present’ (i.e. ‘online’ on Slack or Microsoft Teams) but are unproductive (perhaps because they are sick), resentees may have satisfactory performance levels despite being disengaged.
Some signs of resenteeism to look out for are:
If left unchecked, resenteeism can become contagious. Dissatisfaction and frustration can spread among employees, as it’s human nature to air grievances freely with peers. The effect of this can be detrimental to organisations in multiple ways:
Effective management is the first step to addressing underlying frustrations. Direct managers and HR professionals can help prevent employees from becoming more frustrated or disillusioned in several ways. Below are five tips.
Creating open lines of communication with employees helps identify problems that need to be rectified to increase work satisfaction. It can also keep employees in the loop regarding company updates, which shows respect.
Two communication channels are:
Utilising these two communication channels will show employees that you care about their opinions and you value openness and transparency. Transparency is important to Millennials, especially.
A study by The Org found that 80% of Millennials said their work-life would be better if the company they worked for was transparent, and 74% want their company to be more transparent. Since the Millennial generation is set to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, striving for transparency is crucial.
If there’s something bothering employees that is causing them to resent their work, you should endeavour to find out what that is.
Surveying employees is an easy way to gain insight into how employees perceive different aspects of your organisation, from salary and benefits offered, to leadership, to career progression.
Using pulse surveys (short questionnaires, frequently) rather than engagement surveys (long questionnaires, typically annually) enables organisations to gain feedback in real-time so they can action it promptly.
Xref’s new product Pulse Surveys automates the survey administration and collection process so HR teams can focus on analysing and benchmarking the feedback to improve employee engagement.
Your employees are the lifeblood of your organisation, so looking after their wellbeing is paramount.
HR can help employees better manage employee stress and reduce the risk of burnout in several ways:
Showing employees that you appreciate their efforts, tenure, and wellbeing is paramount to cultivating a happy work environment.
Organise celebratory events throughout the year so that employees can be rewarded for their achievements, as this will increase motivation and boost morale.
Team celebrations allow employees to bond and feel part of a team. However, Forbes points out that appreciation is not one-size-fits-all, so it’s important to recognise and reward your best performers differently (e.g. through salary and benefits).
Job dissatisfaction can stem from several factors, one being a lack of career development.
When employees feel stuck in their roles or can’t visualise their career path, they may lose motivation and find it difficult to connect with their organisation’s purpose. This may be more common post-pandemic as people reassess their prospects.
Offering career coaching – whether internal or external – could help unhappy employees get to the bottom of their resentment towards their jobs and uncover quick solutions – for example, a transfer to a different team.
Career coaching can help to increase engagement and, therefore, retention. LinkedIn’s 2022 Workplace Learning Report found 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if offered opportunities to learn and grow.
If, after being exposed to coaching, a resentful employee decides they should leave the organisation, this would be the healthy outcome. Ask for feedback from departing employees to identify organisational strengths and weaknesses, which can be done using Xref Exit Surveys. Xref Exit Surveys automates the feedback process and enables employers to collect, analyse and measure that feedback to reduce attrition and improve retention.
Dealing with and alleviating employee frustrations is crucial for any HR team. While resenteeism may be a new challenge, these solutions are tried and true. Effective communication, outreach and engagement can help employees feel valued, identify pain points that need to be rectified and reduce workplace dissatisfaction.