High-potential employees are remaining in unwanted jobs, employers have until Labor Day to persuade them.

High-potential employees are remaining in unwanted jobs, employers have until Labor Day to persuade them.

Grumpy Stayers: Why Some Employees are Unhappily Staying Put

Move over “quiet quitting,” another fad term to describe employee angst is taking your place: “grumpy staying.”

Coined by Insider in late June, employees are “grumpy staying” at jobs they would otherwise leave but hesitate to do so in a cooling job market. Grumpy stayers are typically employees who recently switched jobs only to discover that their new position isn’t what they hoped for or feel stuck in a position they’ve held for years with no chance of upward mobility.

It may be tempting to dismiss this phenomenon as yet another workplace misgiving unique to entry-level Gen Zers. After all, they are often the ones to coin these phrases and tend to report higher burnout and job dissatisfaction than other age groups. But emerging leaders, professionals with high potential for the VP or C-suite level, are also “grumpy staying” in higher numbers, warns Justin Hirsch, CEO of executive search and leadership consulting firm Jobplex. He says that many high-potential employees accept calls and emails from his firm, even if they stay at their current organization for now.

“It is a significant challenge for senior-level leaders to engage and optimize that mid-level leader,” says Hirsch, adding, “This type of employee is curious. They’re taking our phone calls and responding to our emails but are more intrigued than interested. They’re intrigued to understand: How is the market right now? How would that affect me in my career? Many of our candidates start as exploratory, and we convert them in the process.” So why do they stay, unhappily, in their roles? Limited job opportunities, including slower hiring activity and difficulty finding positions with ideal remote or hybrid work arrangements, prevent these high-value employees from finding new positions.

“Because of the current job market, the grass is no longer greener on the other side at this moment in time. Employees are begrudgingly staying because the opportunities have dried up,” Hirsch says.

Still, employers should be wary of declaring victory in the talent war. As hiring ramps up post-Labor Day, these grumpy stayers will likely bounce.

“This is people thinking privately: How am I managing my career internally and externally? And a lot of candidates we’re talking to are…waiting and seeing how the market will evolve into the fall,” says Hirsch.

The key, he says, is for employers to focus on employee engagement and talent development. Fostering a sense of belonging, purpose, and individuality within an organization is crucial, as is offering opportunities for advancement.

A May survey from the MRA, a nonprofit employers’ association, found that 61% of organizations surveyed identify emerging leaders internally, and 31% reported an employee retention increase thereafter. The top career growth opportunities the surveyed organizations offered emerging leaders were external training or classes, mentoring, one-on-one meetings, and cross-training.

“That’s where engagement, retention, and development, especially the emerging leader level, is designed to be bench strength into the VP ranks and C-suite,” Hirsch says. “The future is bright within these organizations, as long as they’re engaging and focus on talent management and talent development with these folks.”

WeWork Faces Financial Challenges, Raising Concerns for Co-Working Offices

Co-working offices have become popular for remote workers who still yearn for in-person connections. But WeWork’s recent earnings report may cause concern for teams that frequent these spaces.

The company announced Tuesday that there’s “substantial doubt” about its ability to stay in business due to financial losses and canceled memberships. It plans to reduce rental costs, negotiate more favorable leases, and increase revenue and capital over the next twelve months.

Around the Table: Important HR Headlines

  • Less than two months after the Supreme Court overturned affirmative action, conservative legal activists sued companies like Comcast, Amazon, and Starbucks over diversity initiatives to boost minority representation in the workplace.

  • Black employees who felt protected from racism when working remotely face a difficult choice: return to the office to bolster their career or stay home and enjoy a better quality of life.

  • Searches for UPS jobs on Indeed have surged 50% after the package service, under threat of a strike, agreed to raise part-time wages last week.

  • Disney has 11 job openings for candidates proficient in A.I. and machine learning across almost all of its departments as it looks to develop in-house applications and cut costs.

Watercooler: Noteworthy Updates from ANBLE

Zoom gloom. Zoom, the video conferencing platform that powered schools and workplaces through the pandemic, is joining other companies in asking employees to return to the office. Employees living near Zoom headquarters will have to report to the office at least twice a week starting in the fall.

Taking senior care. In 2006, California became the first state to require that employers provide paid family leave for new children and seriously ill family members. Nearly two decades later, research finds that the law eased the burden of employees aged 50 to 70, who spent their paid family leave taking care of their parents.

Striking visuals. Visual effects workers at Disney, widely regarded as overworked and undervalued, have voted to join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union. The 52-member crew, some of whom criticized their tight deadlines and low pay, are the first visual effects professionals to push for union representation.

By Paige McGlauflin
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