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What is “Rage Applying,” and How Can You Prevent Your Employees from Doing It?

One day you have an employee on payroll, and the next day you're scrambling to fill a position. Have you ever found yourself in a situation similar to this? Unfortunately, this isn't a coincidence– the average employee turnover rate is rising. As of 2021, the national average annual turnover rate was 47.2%, and in 2022, that cost businesses $1 trillion. So, what causes an employee to jump ship?

You’re probably familiar with “quiet quitting,” but it’s time to recognize a workplace phenomenon overtaking the conversation: rage applying.

If this is the first time you hear the term, “rage applying” is a job search response strategy born out of frustration. When employees feel like they’re not going anywhere in their current jobs or face an especially infuriating workday, they start mass applying to other positions to find a way out. Other triggers include missed promotions, rejected raises, or even a general disappointment with their role or organization.

Unfortunately, this trend has negative implications for both employers and employees. So let’s look at how it works, why it’s happening, and how your business can prevent this issue within your workforce.

Why rage applying is a lose-lose concept

The apparent issue with rage applying is that employers may lose employees to other roles. However, there are a few more subtle issues to be aware of. First, employees actively applying to other positions may be mentally checked out from their existing roles, whether they land a new job or not.

For employers, this means that team members are using company time to find and apply for new jobs, and even when they’re not, they’re not likely to give their best effort on their everyday tasks. This disengagement is significantly damaging the longer it goes on and can spill over into general company morale and team culture.

The second issue is that employees may waste their time with this strategy. When emotions drive job applications, employees are more inclined to choose job openings that don’t perfectly align with their skills or goals. They may also fill out the application in a rush, trying to get something submitted rather than putting their best foot forward for the role.

With this approach, although employees are technically submitting job applications, they are unlikely to get the responses they’re hoping for. And as they mentally check out from their current roles, they’re prolonging a negative situation by not committing to significant improvements in any direction.

How to prevent your employees from rage applying

If rage-applying harms the workplace, as an employer or manager, how can you prevent your employees from rage-applying? Here are a few helpful strategies to consider.

Create a positive work environment

A positive work environment can go a long way in preventing employee burnout. As the manager, regularly recognize and reward employees’ hard work and achievements. It’s also essential to foster a culture of open communication where employees feel comfortable speaking up about their concerns.

It’s understandable for employees to experience frustration on the job, but if they have an outlet to speak up and request improvements, they’re less likely to reach their breaking points. Not sure how to address negativity in the workplace? Read our blog for eight tips on minimizing and managing workplace negativity here.

Provide growth opportunities

One of the main reasons employees may feel burnt out is a need for growth opportunities. As a result, L&D (learning and development) initiatives continue to be among the most sought-after benefits for younger generations entering the workplace. Some companies even supply their employees with a professional development stipend to promote workplace growth.

Providing opportunities for employees to learn new skills, take on new projects, or attend training programs can help keep them engaged and motivated. Additionally, investing in your team’s professional development through this strategy can help transform a frustrating role into a more constructive one.

Offer flexible working arrangements

Providing employees with flexible working arrangements can also help prevent burnout and the desire to rage apply. If you’re in the position to offer remote work, flexible schedules, or just more time off to recharge, employees may get the break they need to refocus.

Work frustration is ultimately a sign that it’s time for a break, so offering flexibility for employees to manage their well-being is a helpful approach. While remote work and flex schedules might not be accessible to every industry, there are plenty of options to consider. You can learn more about them here.

If you’re worried about rage applying, quiet quitting, or any other employee-driven workplace concern, the best thing you can do is take a proactive approach toward team satisfaction. By implementing the strategies above, you’ll be in a great position to address employee challenges before they ever turn into rage.

If you want to improve employee engagement and morale or need support with the endless HR tasks on your to-do list, we have you covered! At Merritt Business Solutions, we provide end-to-end solutions to tackle the most challenging obstacles HR presents. 
Contact us to keep your workplace running smoothly!

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