- 72% of workers would consider leaving their jobs over a clash of values with their employer on society’s pressing issues.
- However, many young workers are failing to walk the talk when their values aren’t aligned with that of their employer.
- While Gen Z may not be walking out just yet, the workers’ job market created by the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased people’s confidence in quitting.
As well as making a living, workers want to know that their place of work is having a positive impact on society.
A McKinsey & Company survey found that employees are five times more likely to want to work at a company that spends time reflecting on the impact it makes in the world.
Younger working generations care about the values of their employer
Springtide’s research Work/Life: Helping Gen Z Flourish & Find Balance dives deep into how Gen Z currently feels and thinks about the workplace. What the research found is that there is a big disconnect between what Gen Z needs and what employers are offering.
“The days of relying on work to simply provide a paycheck, while spending free time on more fulfilling pursuits, are rapidly disappearing—if not gone already. Though they hope for more than a paycheck—including meaning, mentorship, and growth, among other things— young people today understand a paycheck as being the bare minimum of what work should provide,” according to Springtide.
Doing meaningful work is only part of the equation for Gen Z; 74% of Gen Z want to work for an organization that enables them to help others. 73% of them say they are more likely to do extra work when they believe in the work they are doing.
“Young people today want whatever organizations they join to reflect and uphold their personal values. When it comes to work, many are seeking spaces that are integrated with the other aspects and values of their lives. They want jobs that will help them contribute to the common good,” according to Springtide.
There’s a growing desire to make choices that align with our values, and people are evaluating whether their employer’s values align with their own.
An anonymous software development engineer at Amazon took the high-paying position he was offered with Amazon – although he had qualms about the ethicality of the company.
“My issue with Amazon doesn’t revolve around how they treat me; it’s more about the fact that they’re exploiting their warehouse workers and some of the drivers have really bad conditions,” he told Allwork.Space.
He says he wouldn’t mind getting paid less if that meant that warehouse workers and drivers got paid more.
Where does the responsibility fall – with employees or employers?
The younger working generations are beginning to question the morality and ethical standards to which the companies they work for are held to. Many employees of big-name organizations have expressed that they wish their companies treated their workers better, as well as wishing the companies had less of a detrimental effect on the environment.
Companies like Walmart have been accused of unsafe warehouse conditions as well as having too large a carbon footprint, yet this entity still has millions upon millions of employees.
Tesla workers have also alleged a racist, hostile work environment, a history of environmental violations, and they have expressed their disagreement with its CEO’s views and values.
Many of these workers continue to work for the companies that they believe treat them or others badly/unfairly, but it comes into question whether they have a choice.
So, who does the responsibility lie with?
Is it the workers who depend on the income, or the corporations in which they work for?
If people refused to work for certain entities, those entities would be forced to change their practices in order to be favorable to work for.
But people have to work to survive, and companies simply supply the jobs. Young workers in particular have it harder when quitting a job. In most cases, they probably don’t have as much savings (or any at all) as older workers, and they probably have some debt. This leaves them with little choice other than sticking with their job until they have a decent cushion of money.
Businesses need to be conscious of how they profit in order to retain employees in a tight labor market
Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends Report argued that “organizations are no longer judged only for their financial performance, or even the quality of their products or services. Rather, they are being evaluated on the basis of their impact on society at large — transforming them from business enterprises into social enterprises.”
Though businesses shouldn’t be ashamed of striving for a profit, they do need to be conscious of how they pursue that profit, making sure that they don’t harm the environment, mistreat employees, and deceive stakeholders.
In the future of work, it’s safe to assume that there will be a rise in people who want to find meaning in their work by opting for purpose-led companies that care about the impact they have on the world.
Zety asked survey respondents if they’d consider leaving their jobs over a clash of values with their employer on society’s pressing issues (racial justice, gender equality). For 72%, it was a resounding “Yes.”
71% of Gen Zer’s would even take a pay cut to do meaningful work.
However, what people say they will do often differs from what they actually do. The Amazon worker who spoke to Allwork.Space took the job because of the pay raise, although he disagreed with the company’s ethics.
Nonetheless, there might be reason to believe that Gen Zer’s will start following through with their claims to walk away from employers who are unethical.
The pandemic has created a workers’ market; American workers are reportedly less afraid to quit their jobs and have, in fact, been doing so more than any other time period in the last 20 years according data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The BLS reported that there were a record 9.3 million job openings at the end of April.
Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, told TIME Magazine that the current BLS numbers point at a nationwide walk-out.
“People are quitting and they’re not taking jobs. That’s tantamount to a strike. American workers have, in effect, called a general strike,” Reich said.
It has been proven that employees who are satisfied with the environment in which they work are more productive than workers who are unhappy.
The leadership of an organization holds the key to its long-term success, and implementing standards built on a foundation of ethics will sustain or improve employee retention, happiness, and productivity.