Quick Quitting

Quick Quitting

Quick Quitting

Quick Quitting

“Most of our new clients are referred to us after being frustrated with trying to recruit staff on their own,” the Abel Personnel recruiter assured her caller. Kathy was the managing partner of an IT consulting firm, with a sad tale of the successful hiring and surprising resignations of three systems analysts in less than a year.

The recruiter advised Kathy, “In our industry, we call that ‘quick quitting.’” She continued to explain that this term characterizes resignations within a year after the start date, sometimes within the first three months. Economists measure this as the “short tenure rate.” Industry data indicates that its occurrence is on the rise in the past few years.

“Is this related to the COVID pandemic?” Kathy wanted to know.

“Partly,” was the recruiter’s response. “But not in the way we saw the early retirement of many long-term employees. It also dates from well before the pandemic, when labor markets were especially tight.”

The recruiter had been busily typing as Maureen was presenting her concerns. When there was a pause, the recruiter shared her screen:

Kathy was intrigued and wanted to better understand the causes, what she missed trying to recruit on her own that this experienced Recruiter had spotted:

  • Too Quick Hires: In the desperation to find staff, companies were hiring based on a single interview, where typically there had been second interviews with multiple interviewers. Mismatch of job responsibilities with skills and experience were often missed. The employee realized this first and resigned; perhaps the employer wanted to believe too much they had made the right hire.
  • Virtual Interviews: In efforts to maintain social distance, and because so many were working from home, interviews were being performed online. Both the interviewer nor the candidate were not receiving information about each other that can only be conveyed in face-to-face meetings.
  • Workplace Experience: Similarly, reliance on virtual interviews did not offer the applicant an opportunity to experience the environment in which they’d be working. For some, starting a job working from home and then having to report to an office added too many “minuses” to the job situation, making it untenable.
  • COVID-related Stress: The special workplace demands due to the pandemic have challenged both frontline and managerial positions. This ranges from feeling safe at the workplace to not being able to adapt their working or supervisory style when some or all workers are remote. There are also family and mental-wellbeing stresses that staff at all levels needed to accommodate. Fear of COVID and dealing with sudden infections remains even though the masks are largely gone.
  • Available Alternatives:In high-demand positions, such as in IT, there is less risk that a “quick quit” will result in a long period of unemployment. Constant badgering by headhunters reminds these employees that other opportunities might better fit their career goals and lifestyle needs.

“When we work with hiring companies, you will find we go into unexpected detail in two areas: job responsibilities and corporate culture,” the recruiter continued. “The causes I listed most often result in the employee not fully understanding the responsibilities and expectations of the position that is open or the culture of the workplace in which they will be expected to perform.”

“Are you referring to ‘toxic workplaces?’” Kathy inquired.

“I’ve discovered that some people find some workplaces to be exhilarating while some others may find the same workplace to be toxic. Still, the prospective employee needs to understand what they’re getting into. We believe there should be no surprises. Surprises lead to quick quitting,” the recruiter offered.

As the conversation focused on what types of employees are likely to quit soon after being hired, the recruiter provided the following data:

  • Unsurprisingly, entry-level positions are the highest in a quick turnover. Quick quitting is significantly on the rise in VP (up 13%) and managerial positions. “Toxic workplace” was the number one reason for those higher-level escapees.
  • Also to be expected, those in the first few years of full employment are more apt to decide they made the wrong job change. This is the cohort the least certain about what kind of work they want. However, those numbers are increasing for the Millennials (up 6%) and Gen X (up 5%) generations, too.
  • Since 2019, women have been more likely to be quick quitters. However, in the past few months, men’s willingness to walk off the job within a year has been increasing slightly faster than women’s.

The recruiter’s final recommendation to Kathy was to assess how well her company onboarded new hires. This process done well will help the new staff member move beyond the inevitable first disappointing experience with any job. The Abel Personnel recruiter also shared her commitment to stay in touch with anyone she had placed for at least 3 to 6 months past the start date, to make sure the job remains a great fit for both the employer and new employee.

Sourced from Linked In, “More Top Executives Walk Off the Job, as Quick Quitting by VPs rise 13%,” George Anders, October 12, 2022.

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