The Great Resignation | How Marketing Agencies Can Maintain and Attract the Best Talent

March 23, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything. And, when it comes to employees and employers everywhere, an entirely new set of priorities have emerged. People everywhere have had increased opportunity to evaluate – or reevaluate – their lives, trying to make the most of the opportunity. In the marketing world, whether in-house or at an agency, this phenomenon rings more true than ever.

Increasingly, employees are no longer willing to simply base the entirety of their lives around where they work anymore. They want and expect more than simply a paycheck. While some will inevitably view this shift as workers being unmotivated, the reality is that the workforce is changing, and it’s up to employers to adapt.

Thankfully, marketing agencies have one advantage over companies in other industries – they’re already very well versed in pivoting to meet challenges of an ever-chaging marketplace. Here’s how you can attract and retain the best and brightest amidst what is now being considered the Great Resignation.

What is the Great Resignation?

The Great Resignation is less a singular moment than a cultural revolution. The pause prompted by the pandemic has led many workers to reconsider what’s most important to them. The answer, it turns out, isn’t necessarily money. In short, people are fed up with being tied to their jobs 24 hours a day. They’re sick of not having lives outside of work. They work to live the lives they love, and they’re not willing to miss out on what’s important to them due to the whims of their employers.

Though most demographics are becoming increasingly reluctant to go with the flow at work, the Great Resignation primarily refers to Gen Z — those workers born in 1997 or afterward. This group will comprise a third of American labor by 2030. That makes it very important for employers to understand the concerns of this group and accommodate their wishes.

What Does Gen Z Want?

As we’ve seen, the primary motivation of Gen Z isn’t money. However, money is always part of the equation. One emerging trend is prospective employees that are less willing to accept poor conditions, along with either excessive or odd hours, for minimum wage. As a result, Gen Z is less willing to take these types of jobs. The hiring shortages you’ve seen virtually everywhere you’ve gone aren’t necessarily because people are unwilling to work. Instead, they’re unwilling to accept minimum wage to do grunt work and be treated unfairly.

So, then, what is Gen Z looking for? One of the most important words for this demographic is flexibility. Gen Z is 77 percent more likely to engage with a LinkedIn job posting with “flexibility” in the description. Millennials, on the other hand, are only 30 percent more likely to engage with such a job posting.

Speaking of millennials, remember when the world was losing their minds over those horrible job-hopping millennials? They’ve got nothing on Gen Z, who is changing jobs 134 percent more frequently than they were in 2019. Millennials are job-hopping only 24 percent more frequently.

The moral of the story? Gen Z — like millennials before them — don’t want to be tied to their jobs forever. They want to try different things, and they want to amass experiences, even at the expense of more money. To that point, three-quarters of people in the Gen Z demographic are willing to change their entire career paths and look for jobs in new industries.

Building a Culture

Employers should never be blindsided by employees leaving. A good employer is acutely aware of the signs of unhappiness and detachment that lead a worker to look elsewhere. However, employers shouldn’t wait until their staff expresses discontent before they do right by their loyal employees.

Workplace culture is a big issue these days, and for good reason. Nobody wants to work in an environment in which they’ll be stuck working 80 hours a week or doing all the work in their department while other employees coast by with no reprisal. Similarly, neither Gen Z nor any other generation wants to feel as though their time outside of work isn’t respected.

These are all concerns relating to the company’s culture. A good culture means the above issues are rare, if they ever occur at all. In workplaces with a bad culture, these things happen all the time. These are the events that push employees to job boards and to networking events. A healthy and positive culture minimizes the chances of disgruntled employees spreading toxicity throughout the team. This type of culture, though, starts at the top. It needs buy-in from all members of the organization. And it can’t be just words — action is what makes the culture thrive.

Gen Z has been painted as a somewhat cynical generation, and in this case, they’re smart to have some skepticism. They watched their parents give their lives to their employers, with much of that loyalty going only one way. They worked hard through high school and college, only to learn that college guaranteed them nothing. As a result, Gen Z is determined to make the lives they want, even if they have to follow an unconventional path to do so.

Therefore, good companies will be just as unconventional. They’ll value the input of these employees, even if they might be young and inexperienced. They’ll create a culture where work actually is fun, and loyalty is an actual thing and isn’t just lip service. They’ll listen to what people say, and they’ll make the necessary changes to both attract and retain young people with worlds of potential. Failure to do this will result in a company that’s seen as toxic and will be ill-equipped to keep up with the times, putting the business at serious risk of becoming obsolete.

Aligning Values

Marketing based on company values is a relatively new phenomenon, but it’s proven to be vitally important with consumers. Shoppers want to buy from a company they can truly believe in, one they can be proud to support. Employees are much the same. They want to work for an employer that fosters integrity and pride.

Similar to the marketplace as a whole, this sense of corporate social responsibility is critical in today’s job market. Like consumers, employees don’t just look at dollars. They look at the whole picture. They want to feel like they’re part of the solution, and not part of a company that exists solely to make the CEO rich. Workplace culture and values need to reflect that sentiment.

Therefore, business ethics and principles need to be part of the very core of the organization. Just as a company markets itself based on the issues that are most important to the employees and executives, there should also be an internal focus on these topics. Let employees of all types know that their work is valuable and contributes to the company’s ability to achieve its stated objectives, especially those that make a positive impact on the community. This approach won’t keep every employee in the organization for life, but it will teach each person on staff valuable lessons, and that sense of building something special yields loyalty that keeps people around.

The Great Resignation is a pivotal moment for employers and employees alike. Businesses with the right intentions, and who take actions reflective of those intentions, will come out of this era with teams of all ages who are exceptionally loyal. To learn more about how your brand can navigate these difficult waters when it comes to recruitment and more, contact us at Commit Agency today.