‘The Big Quit’ continues, younger workers leading the way

By Andy Kriege, YSN

Despite widespread fear of a looming recession, employees still can’t quit quitting. Many workers are still unafraid to pack up and leave their jobs in hopes of a better one, young personnel in particular.

According to a report this month by CNBC, the “Great Resignation” is showing no signs of abating, as an astounding 70% of millennials and Gen Z’ers say they plan to quit their jobs this year. What’s more, nearly 4.2 million people voluntarily left their jobs in November, CNBC said, marking the 18th straight month of record-breaking quits in the U.S. And although workers across the age spectrum are considering new gigs, it is younger employees who are leading the exodus.

The New Youth Movement

A recent survey of 2,000 professionals conducted by LinkedIn echoes those findings. Over half the respondents (61%) say they are contemplating a career change this year, although the percentage rises to 66% for millennials (ages 26-41) and 72% for Gen Z’ers (ages 18-25). That compares to the 55% of Gen X’ers and 30% of baby boomers who are considering leaving their jobs. 

Among the reasons given by younger employees for seeking new opportunities are the hope of increasing their salary (presumably to counter the high cost of inflation) and to attain a better work-life balance. 

But regardless of age, more than 40% of those surveyed say that they consider quitting their job at least once a week.

Related: How to Manage and Retain Your Millennials

The Outlook for Independent Retail Employers

Changes in the economy are already dictating that some workers will have more job security than others. Layoffs are way below pre-pandemic norms for employees typically hit hard by economic turbulence, such as those in the food, hospitality, construction and retail sectors. 

Conversely, pink slips abound for those in information, tech and finance. Seemingly not a day goes by now where we don’t read a headline announcing layoffs in the tens of thousands by corporate behemoths like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Goldman Sachs. 

And while you might expect younger workers to retreat and cling to their jobs during times of uncertainty, that is not happening. Although there is a clear dichotomy in the types of positions that are currently being cut, it is also clear that recession fears are not stopping young people across the employment spectrum from job hopping. The confidence they possess in their job prospects has empowered them to either ask for raises or begin looking for their next opportunity despite the prospects of a contracting labor market. It is clear, young American workers are betting on themselves and not their employers.

Holding Their Own

Downsizing has yet to hit those employed in the skilled service industry (think service techs, delivery staff and retail salespeople), as those jobs remain in high demand. Consequently, competition for these workers is stiff, so dealers need to take a proactive approach to attracting and retaining these valuable assets. 

Daniel Abramson, managing lead of BrandSource’s HRSource initiative, offered up some practical and cost-effective ideas to minimize the effects of The Great Resignation in your store.

To begin with, he implores members to take the time to listen to their employees during a thorough exit interview. This will provide valuable insight into why people are leaving.

See: The Top Four Reasons Employees Quit

Once you understand more about why people are leaving, take some practical steps to keep your employees happy and grounded. You may be surprised to learn that it takes more than just money.

See also: What Employees Value More Than Raises

Abramson suggests creating “touch points” to connect more meaningfully with staffers. “Employees’ needs and expectations have changed,” he said. “You need to adapt and change how you manage younger employees.”

To that end, consider these easily implemented measures:

• Add a ping-pong table to the break area

• Mail anniversary and birthday cards to employees at their homes. Include a small gift card

to a local restaurant or movie theater 

• Create a “wall of fame” in the breakroom for posting promotions, achievements and selfies

•  Plan a Fourth of July cookout in the parking lot

In Case You Missed It: How BrandSource Dealers Beat the COVID Blues

 “The bottom line,” said Abramson, “is to let your employees know that you care about them.”

YSN publisher AVB BrandSource is the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.

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