Is the Great Resignation Over? Why People Really Hate Working for a Raggedy Company

Home Resources Articles Is the Great Resignation Over? Why People Really Hate Working for a Raggedy Company
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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Growing up, the word “raggedy” was often used to describe something or someone messy, torn up, or sometimes even dirty. While I believe language could benefit from fewer derogatory terms, for better or worse, I’ve come to associate the term “raggedy” with workplaces that embody chaos, toxicity, and a lack of genuine care for their employees. I understand that this may sound critical or judgmental, but it can be frustrating to read studies that reveal the toll that toxic work environments have on people’s health and happiness. It’s even more frustrating when employees have to accept the bare minimum regarding parental or caregiving leavedisability compliance, or wellness benefits that don’t address the root causes of burnout and stress in the workplace. While I recognize that some of these issues stem from broader societal and cultural norms regarding who and what we value, we cannot claim to prioritize the work we do or the people we work with without addressing some of the present “raggedness” in our workplaces.

But let’s move beyond the data and get personal for a moment. Before embarking on my career, like many millennials and Gen Z employees, I was adamant about avoiding institutions that didn’t prioritize my professional growth, well-being, and overall development. My aversion to “raggedy” workplaces partially stems from hearing the struggles of my immigrant family members who faced hardship with some of their employers. They endured situations where affordable health insurance was non-existent, where microaggressions and xenophobia from bosses and clients were common, and where adequate parental leave or childcare support was lacking.

I’m a product of a mother whom I barely saw during my childhood because she couldn’t afford to miss work, and her workplaces couldn’t “afford” to support her as a mother and caregiver. While I recognize that it’s not entirely the workplace’s fault, many workplaces feel like they have to protect their bottom line, or in other words, prioritize profit over people in a capitalistic society. This realization leads me to ponder how life for me and many others could have been different if our families’ workplaces genuinely cared. And then, of course, I think about how our lives would be different if humanity and our general society cared, but that’s a conversation for another time.

Many employees already feel that their employers don’t honestly care about them. From an employee perspective, it can feel like some employers believe they can overlook mistreatment, micromanagement, and discrimination if they offer employees a list of perks and benefits. However, despite access to benefits like daycare stipends or extended parental leave, many employees are dissatisfied with their work environments and overall culture. The research underscores that the primary cause of job dissatisfaction isn’t solely about work-life balance or flexible schedules (though they can be tremendously helpful for some); it’s about the absence of a culture prioritizing respect, community, and acknowledgment of contributions.

In my view, the Great Resignation was a response to people reevaluating their treatment and overall priorities in the wake of the pandemic. This reevaluation wasn’t just because of the pandemic. Some say that the great resignation has been gaining momentum since 2009. Those who left their job during the Great Resignation cited low pay, limited advancement opportunities, and a lack of respect as core reasons. While it’s claimed that the Great Resignation is over, sectors with high turnover rates persist, and employees continue to demand change from their employers. The shift in workplace expectations requires that we rethink and reshape how we work. While benefits hold value, they’re not the end-all-be-all solution. 

So what do we do? The U.S. Surgeon General’s five-step plan, which institutions are recommended to implement to support workers’ mental health and well-being, underscores the urgent need for change. Organizations must think of ways to prioritize their employees’ holistic well-being and cultivate respect, support, and a culture that is willing to change for the betterment of the people working to achieve a company’s overall mission. While it may be difficult for some employers to meet their employees’ needs or expectations, it’s worth creating a work environment where employees feel empowered to lead their work, trusted to make decisions, and respected for their specialties. This approach can instill a sense of ownership and autonomy, resulting in heightened job satisfaction and overall well-being for many.

Yet, it’s always important to recognize that not all employees require or desire the same solutions. We’ve grown up in a world where we were told to treat people the way we want to be treated or treat everyone the same. While seemingly well-intentioned, these teachings don’t account for difference and nuance. As a result, employers need to remain open and curious about alternative ways their employees wish to be recognized, valued, and heard in the workplace. Adopting a personalized rather than a one-size-fits-all approach can be instrumental in going beyond benefits as a solution to a much more human and complex problem.