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6 MZ Generation Career Categories: (3) ‘Introspective Idealists’

Written by Stella H. Kim

Published June 15, 2023

Self-Reflection and Recalibration for Work-Life Balance

Stella Kim, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President at HRCap

As a continuation from our last two columns introducing the “Eager Entrepreneurs” and “Refined Reskillers,” the third MZ Generation Career Category is the “Introspective Idealists.”

These are the MZ Generation employees who prioritize quality of life and resign to achieve greater work-life balance. When asked if they are open to consider a new job opportunity, many from this category often ask the recruiters to reach out again in a few months because they are currently on a sabbatical leave to recharge and recalibrate their lives.

Work-life balance is extremely important for the MZ Generation. 40% of MZ Generation shared that they would rather be unemployed than unhappy working in a job they didn’t like, and 35% quit without having another job lined up.

In fact, the MZ Generation are not making these decisions hastily overnight. They are ultimately resigning to overcome burnout, as the excess workloads and routine lifestyles have gradually caused depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

Companies will face significant loss if they have to constantly invest in recruiting and training new employees every time a once-passionate talent resigns from burnout. Even if burnt out employees do not leave, their ‘Quiet Quitting’ has an incredibly negative impact on business productivity and the corporate culture. The World Economic Forum estimated that excessive stress and mental illnesses from burnout annually amount to $190 billion in health care costs, and the global loss from high turnover and reduced work productivity exceeds $322 billion.

How can we effectively overcome and proactively prevent burnout? Companies must improve the current working environment by assigning reasonable workload, supporting fulfilling work, and empowering autonomy. It is also essential to allow employees experiencing severe burnout to take time off through sabbatical leave or vacation time. A sabbatical leave is a corporate benefit program that allows employees to take complete time off to recharge without any burden or restrictions. This originates from academic institutions allowing tenured professors to go on sabbaticals every 7 years or so to conduct personal research or to truly refresh.

Many companies already offer diverse sabbatical programs to their long-term employees. Adobe offers a 4-week sabbatical for 5 years of employment and Intel offers 8 weeks for 7 years of employment. Smaller business entities with less structure and infrastructure even allow employees to take unpaid sabbatical to fully recharge. The key is to completely offload and free the employees from work so that they can reflect, recalibrate, and recharge.

Organizations are also able to retain the ‘Introspective Idealists’ by providing positive stimuli and new working environments. Patagonia offers a 2-month environmental internship program, and Google provides a 6-week non-profit volunteering program. Through self-development and rewarding service, employees are highly engaged to recalibrate and return to their roots.

These valuable experiences and time away from work allow employees to fully reflect and recharge, gain new-found inspiration and skills, and become even more loyal and committed to grow with the organization long-term. Upon their return, they bring infectious positive energy and vitality to the entire team. Therefore, sabbaticals not only benefit the individual, but also strengthen the organization by allowing the team to step in and step up to support the vacancy. This motivates greater trust, communication, collaboration, productivity, and development.

A company that takes us from feeling like we can’t do anything, to believing we can accomplish everything. An organization that nourishes and awakens our soul, mind, and body. The sheer thought of joining such a company is refreshing and enticing.

Stella H. Kim

HRCap - Chief Marketing Officer & Global VP

Source: HRCap, The Korea Daily, JoongAng Ilbo

Adapted into HRCap Instatoons


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