How to Prevent Rage Quitting in Your Organization
By now, we’ve all heard at least one “rage quitting” story as the term trends across the nation in the wake of a highly fluid labor market. The phrase can elicit anxiety for HR professionals worried they could lose any employee at the drop of a hat without notice.
But rage quitting rarely occurs truly out of the blue, and there are several factors you should consider when dealing with this type of turnover. Read on to learn what rage quitting really is, why (and how often) it’s happening, and how you can shift your mindset to help prevent it in the first place.
What Rage Quitting Really Is
The concept of rage quitting is not new, with the phrase itself originating in gaming communities in the 1980s to describe dramatically quitting a video game that’s gotten too frustrating. But trending content on platforms such as TikTok now paints a picture of countless workers, most of them young and in lower-wage hourly positions, blowing up at their managers and storming out of work, never to return.
While this phenomenon certainly exists, it’s not as common as it may seem from social media. A recent survey from FlexJobs, for example, found that despite the temptation to rage quit, only about 4% of respondents had actually done so.
For HR purposes, then, it’s more helpful to consider “rage quitting” as an umbrella term that includes any type of resignation without notice. Whether the employee makes a scene or not, what affects you most is the scramble to find a replacement with no warning. And that can be enraging in itself.
What Leads Employees to Rage Quit Their Jobs
Beyond the viral videos, it’s important to consider why rage quitting happens in the first place. In a market that favors job seekers, many employees feel confident enough about finding a new position to risk quitting an objectionable job without a backup plan. The question is, what makes a job undesirable enough for a worker to accept that risk?
While health concerns fueled by COVID are still a factor, the biggest impetus to sudden quitting is reaching a boiling point on a culture issue. According to a nationwide survey by Skynova, seven of the top 10 reasons employees quit had to do with company culture, with reasons such as “toxic boss,” “excessive work stress,” and “culture of overworking” all in the top five.
What HR Can Do to Prevent Rage Quitting
Knowing the importance of company culture in employees’ decisions to stay or leave, the best investment HR can make in retention is work to help employees feel valued and respected. A recent BBC piece notes that rage quitting can betray “serious flaws in a workplace” such as “exploitative working conditions and abusive managers.”
Instead of thinking of rage quitting as a problem with employees, think of it as a symptom of larger issues within your company culture, and start treating those issues at the source. What is it that’s making your employees feel “rage” about their jobs?
Here are some examples of actions you can take to improve company culture and reduce the risk of rage quitting in your organization:
- Update your culture guide—or create one if you haven’t already. A culture guide goes beyond the typical employee handbook by discussing how the organization tackles problems and including norms for how colleagues treat each other, compensation philosophies, and information on employment law. In addition, it should discuss housekeeping items that help employees navigate daily life, such as how to connect to the printer.
- Be flexible. Issues with a culture of overworking can lead to burnout quickly. Every company is different, but you can give employees flexibility by letting them control their own hours, offering a hybrid schedule, approving more time off, or even just being open to changes in how the workplace operates. Since they’re on the front lines of the business, employees often have great ideas for streamlining operations that can make your business more efficient and reduce everyone’s stress.
- Institute continuous performance management. Rather than an annual review or waiting until a problem becomes overwhelming before talking about it, encourage managers to meet regularly with their employees one on one to check in. At BerniePortal, we hold these meetings every week. This process can give employees an opportunity to voice concerns when there’s still time to address them.
Overall, bear in mind that the best way to prevent your employees from rage quitting is to prevent working conditions that make them feel enraged. The more your organization listens to its employees and works to address their needs and concerns, the less likely it is you’ll have to replace them. Healthy company culture is the key to improving retention.
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According to research by McKinsey & Company, the top reason employees quit their jobs...