Featured Post

Professional ideas on managing office and financial strain – A Breaking the Stigma unique I Asked ChatGPT for Retirement Advice, and Its Response Wasn’t Bad

The newest Gen Z workplace trend Credit: vadim_key/Adobe Stock

The concept of “quiet quitting” amongst Gen Z employees is evolving into a new phenomenon, which TikTokers and workplace experts alike have coined as “resenteeism.” This trend combines the terms “resentment” and “absenteeism,” signaling the notion that Gen Z workers are continuing to work in roles despite feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled. These workers may become resentees for multiple reasons, such as job seeking difficulties, clashes with coworkers, or disinterest in the often mundane tasks assigned at the entry-level.

When not addressed, these feelings towards work ultimately lead to disengagement, bitterness, lack of motivation, and feeling trapped in a role or company. HR pros face the challenge of having to train managers to help building employee experiences that resonate with Gen Z and combat resenteeism . Instead of putting a Band-Aid on this gaping hole and addressing resentful employees on an ad-hoc basis, employers must start by building foundational cultures that retain and engage all employees, especially Gen Z, who will comprise 30% of the U.S. workforce by 2030.

Emotional salary

Prioritizing “emotional salary” – i.e., non-monetary perks of a job, like work-life balance, connection and recognition – is one way to make employees feel more connected to their work. Achievers Workforce Institute (AWI) data finds that most employees actually care more about their emotional salary than their monetary compensation, so long as their salary meets their basic needs.

It’s particularly important that HR leaders prioritize emotional salary for Gen Z workers, most of whom are currently working early career jobs with salaries that don’t allow for much more beyond basic needs. For employers who aren’t sure where to start with emotional salary, AWI points to five factors to focus on: culture alignment, recognition, work relationships, feedback, and career progress. By having the right programs and company culture in place that address these five elements, all employees (including Gen Z) will feel more fulfilled, motivated and engaged each day that they sign on – rather than growing bitter or giving up.

Having tough conversations at work

Ineffective emotional salaries aren’t the only gap employers need to fill to ensure their workers feel connected to their jobs. It’s time to address another conundrum: having hard conversations at work. If employees feel they cannot talk openly about frustrations, concerns, and challenges, resentment can build up and ultimately boil over. About 87% of workers surveyed in a report from MyPerfectResume said they’ve had an outburst at work in the last six months, with over half of that group having done so multiple times. The outbursts ranged from leaving the office or meetings early, threatening to quit, and even yelling or cursing at colleagues and managers in fits of anger.

This data shows that resenteeism in the workplace is more common than not, and it can result in heightened emotions and create hostile work environments for all. To eliminate these unprofessional and (sometimes) aggressive confrontations, there must be a culture in place that is safe for tough conversations so employees can voice concerns before they turn resentful.

Most employees want to be able to have hard conversations at work about their satisfaction and fulfillment, but one-third of employees don’t feel safe having these conversations with their managers, according to AWI data. Similarly, 3 out of 4 managers do not feel that they have received enough training on having hard conversations. So, how can employers prepare their frontline managers to sufficiently support their direct reports through these moments? Luckily, there is a lot of overlap between manager upskilling and emotional salary priorities.

A case for upskilling managers

It is the role of HR to help train managers across their organizations on how to create positive, safe and welcoming environments that help employees feel supported emotionally and comfortable talking about the tough stuff. AWI research identifies contact, recognition, coaching, and professional development as the most important trust-building behaviors in managers. Upskilling people leaders in just one of these areas (for instance, recognition) can strengthen emotional salary and make workers twice as likely to have high trust in their manager. Additionally, with this change, employees are about two times more likely to feel safe having hard conversations with their managers. So, when necessary, workers will vent freely about workplace struggles with a people leader dedicated to remediating them – rather than taking out resentment on coworkers or WorkTok.

Hannah Yardley, Chief People and Culture Officer at Achievers