‘The Great Resignation’: Why Diversity and Entrepreneurship Matter Pt. 2

Stimulus, Inc.
9 min readJun 24, 2022

In our first article on this topic, ‘The Great Resignation’: How Supply Chain Management can Help, we discussed the ways in which the modern workforce is looking for change in work hours, respect in the workplace, and work-life balance requirements. However, this is just one half of the equation. While supply chain management and modern management overall can make a huge positive impact on your employee satisfaction and turnover rates, the workforce itself is also changing and requires a better understanding of its wants and needs for success.

In this second installment of ‘The Great Resignation,’ we’ll break down the new diverse workforce, what it looks for in leadership, and how to provide these valuable employees with their newly-found desires through diversity, interpersonal strategies, and supply chain transformations alike. To start, let’s take a closer look at the modern Millennial and Gen Z workforce and what energizes these driven individuals in the workplace.

The Statistics Don’t lie — Employees Want a Sense of Purpose

Successful small business administration requires constant analysis and changes that reflect these insights in real-time. This is why it is so important that employers pay attention to the innate desire their new employees have to fulfill their sense of purpose in the workplace.

According to McKinsey, “Employees expect their jobs to bring a significant sense of purpose to their lives. Employers need to help meet this need, or be prepared to lose talent to companies that will.” This quote was shared in a recent study by the company that included several interesting statistics valuable to business leaders looking for employee retention and satisfaction assistance:

  • Nearly two-thirds of US-based employees surveyed said that COVID-19 has caused them to reflect on their purpose in life
  • Nearly half said that they are reconsidering the kind of work they do because of the pandemic
  • 70% of employees said that their sense of purpose is defined by their work
  • Two-thirds of non-executive employees said that work defines their purpose
  • 85% of frontline managers and frontline employees are unsure or disagree that they can live their purpose in their day-to-day work
  • Only 18% of respondents believed that they get as much purpose from work as they want
  • Shortsighted leaders may be conditioning them to feel this way

In conjunction with these statistics, other key pillars of the modern workforce and its desires include wanting to work for a company whose mission, vision and values align with their own, prioritizing physical and mental health, and better technology experiences. Overall, employees want a better quality of life that transcends the workplace and expect the companies they work for to treat them like human beings rather than ‘faceless cogs in the market machine.’

These employees also want technology that helps them rather than hindering them. As a company working with vendors on a daily basis, this means digitizing procurement to develop a world-class supplier experience to streamline the sales process and help your employees feel less overwhelmed and overworked in their day-to-day operations. These strategies will also help to increase your ROI as well making it a win for all parties involved.

Although it may seem confusing where this mass exodus stems from if you’re simply looking at the pile of resignations on your desk or your fellow leaders’ desks, it becomes all to clear what the problems are and how to solve them by simply looking at your staff from an empathetic and more personal angle.

A graph by Gartner representing What Employees Say About How the Pandemic has Changed Their Feelings About Work and Life

The statistics give you direct insight into the voice of the current workforce and the words being shouted by all of them are simple: ‘We want to want to work!’

A study by WeSpire found that Gen-Z is ‘The first generation to prioritize purpose over salary. They read Mission Statements and Values documents to select where they work and want their employer’s values to match their values. They expect consistency and authenticity and will call you out, often publicly, if they don’t see it. They will leave companies they believe are hiding or putting too much spin on bad news, ignoring their negative environmental or social impacts, or that have toxic workplace cultures.’

Gen Z is also one of the first generations to reference social concerns within employee comments. Unlike past generations, the modern workforce would rather work for a company that cares about the environment and employee diversity than a higher-paying company that doesn’t. As such, it’s time to stop thinking banquets and raises are the only parts of the employee acquisition process that matter. Embracing diversity, entrepreneurship, and eco-conscious strategies is the true key to progressive and continued success in a market that is drastically changing before our very eyes.

Diversity and Entrepreneurship in the Modern Workforce

Recognizing that a sense of purpose is crucial to the modern workforce is just the first part of the process. The next step is to determine what these employees consider to be a ‘purposeful’ career path. This is where diversity and entrepreneurship come into play.

According to Pew Research, “The majority of workers who quit a job in 2021 say low pay (63%), no opportunities for advancement (63%), and feeling disrespected at work (57%) were the leading causes. This is why a sense of respect, empathy, and encouragement is needed by employers and managers moving forward. These employees want more than yearly minor raises and pats on the back. Instead, they long for a clear and exciting career path set by their managers and leadership from day one.

As a business leader, providing this career path helps your employees to feel appreciated, strive for more within your company, and find their sense of purpose in their position rather than exterior entrepreneurship that may send them packing.

To create a custom career path strategy, it takes a certain understanding of every position in your company and how they can advance seamlessly throughout the years. A great way to begin this process is by creating an organizational chart for your entire business. This chart will help you to map out your company’s hierarchy and see where employees can progress in their careers smoothly.

During this chart creation, consider the roles of each job as well as how entry-level employees would naturally progress in title and responsibilities. With these elements broken down, you can now create training and management programs to help these employees progress and know what steps are needed to get to the next position in their career.

Lastly, the most important thing to remember with these paths is that they should not be set in stone. Instead, these paths should be able to move and transition with every employee so no one feels like their expectations do not reflect themselves and their assets. This is how you can increase your employee satisfaction as well as find and retain employees for years to come.

Just as employees are driven in their careers and want a sense of entrepreneurship in the companies they choose to work with, diversity is another element this modern workforce expects. As you hire new employees, you must consider what unique elements they bring to the table. Rather than looking for a cookie-cutter workforce to man your company, you should embrace diversity in every part of your business and see the positive impact it can have on your long-term success and growth.

For companies that have chosen to embrace diversity thus far, the results have been exponential and entirely worthy of mimicking by any business leader looking to succeed. This is why empathy and progressivism are critical to company growth and employee purpose paths no matter what industry you’re in.

Using Empathy and Progressivism to Transform Your Workplace

Knowing that these young and diverse employees care far less about office pizza parties than they do respect and consistency, being able to address these issues is crucial to Gen Z employee retention. The time of empathy and progressive values is nigh and the companies that choose to embrace this are the only ones that will make it past ‘The Great Resignation’ unscathed.

There are many ways to embrace these modern values that range from the way you handle your supply chain to the career paths and incentives you offer your employees.

All of these options are effective, but to start implementing these strategies, try turning to your local community. For your supply chain, a great way to incorporate diversity and progressive values is to look at your local community in hopes of finding vendors which may be smaller in size but have more consistency and diligence in their delivery processes.

While many business owners opt for more established and larger suppliers, this is exactly why they face so many disruptors and never feel fulfilled with the relationships they build between themselves and their vendors. Meanwhile, smaller local companies want to impress and want to create strong relationships which help you to achieve your demand requirements and also respect the time and interpersonal needs of your employees as well.

Similarly, choosing to work with minority suppliers is yet another way to show your company is dedicated to making a difference and standing alongside your modern diverse workforce. Supplier diversity helps to show your dedication to diversity and inclusion in your industry which reflects in the purpose fulfillment of your employees as well.

Secondarily, when it comes to progressive values in your supply chain management strategies, eco-consciousness is key. There are six certifications that you can look for when finding vendors to make it easier to pick the most environmentally-sustainable products on the market. These six are as follows:

  1. Rainforest Alliance
  2. Demeter
  3. Energy Star
  4. Fair Trade
  5. Green Seal
  6. Forest Stewardship Council

If a vendor is certified by any of these organizations, they have proven their eco-friendliness and are a great resource to not only help the environment but also show your employees that you care and that they too are making a difference in the world by working alongside you.

While it may not seem like this simple act would have a big impact on employee retention, ​​a recent report from intranet company Unily revealed that 83% of workers thought their employer was not doing enough to be more sustainable and tackle climate change. On top of this, 65% said they would be more likely to work for a company with robust environmental policies.

Lastly, preparing for different supply chain seasons internally is a great way to show your employees that you care and take into consideration the consistency of the hours they work. This small act of empathy can have a significant impact on the way your employees see you and the timeline in which they work for you likewise.

Demand forecasting is not just ideal for saving money, but also retaining your workforce as well. In 2021, 4.5 million people quit their jobs right before the holidays recognizing that the season would be horrendous in their current positions.

As a considerate and modern leader, you likely recognize that it isn’t fair for employees to be abused during the holidays simply because of a lack of preparation on your end. This is why tracking your company’s trends and data analytics is so valuable.

By finding the patterns in your sales and site traffic, you can work with your suppliers and vendors to be prepared not just for the busy seasons but the slow ones as well. This will ensure your employees’ hours stay the same year-round and will also help you to save money and time which would have been wasted without these preparations and data analyses.

With a grip on the interpersonal changes your company can make to retain the modern workforce, all that’s left is determining how to implement these strategies effectively and easily moving forward.

Inclusion and Calling for all With Stimulus

As you begin to incorporate modern values into your business to satisfy and retain your workforce, you may become overwhelmed or find yourself getting lost in the minutia. Although these new strategies may seem difficult to implement all at once, with the Stimulus team by your side, you can begin to create an empowered and streamlined workflow of diverse vendors that welcomes a more diverse staff likewise. Inclusivity in your business practices is one of the best ways to guarantee diversity and engagement in your team as well.

As Bob Dylan once famously sang, “The times they are a-changin’.” As true as this statement was back then, the sentiment remains. Every generation is bound to redefine the once acceptable standards, and a great leader is one that recognizes this and isn’t afraid to change with the times. To see how the Stimulus Relationship Intelligence Platform (SRIP) can transform your supplier ecosystem in ways that reflect your team’s diversity and create a more diverse and connected community, check out the SRIP page today!

If you missed the first part of this article, you can read that as well by following the link below:

‘The Great Resignation’: How Supply Chain Management can Help Pt. 1

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Stimulus, Inc.

Stimulus, a relationship intelligence software that helps companies build more valuable vendor and supplier relationships.