Have you ever had a bad day at work and fantasized about what life would be like if you worked for a different company? Most of us can sympathize with workers who become dissatisfied with their employers and decide to search for another job. There is even a new phrase trending in the career world that describes this very act: "rage applying." This article will explain what rage applying is, why it happens and what the public sector can do about it.
Rage applying is the act of applying to a ton of jobs quickly. It typically happens after a negative event in a person's current work life. For example, an employee might rage apply after getting passed over for a promotion or having a negative interaction with their manager. Employees want to regain a sense of control over their work life, and applying to jobs is often an easy fix.
Rage applying happens more because applying for a new job is easier than ever. Tools like LinkedIn Easy Apply and Indeed Apply make applications seamless for potential candidates and companies. These tools use a candidate's LinkedIn or Indeed profile to fill out most of the application, so each one takes less time.
Now that you know why some workers rage apply for jobs, let's discuss the pros and cons of this arrangement.
The pros of rage applying mostly fall on the side of the employee. Rage applying allows workers to channel their anger and feel like they are taking ownership of their careers. If workers are rage applying, this can also be good for companies who want to increase their job applicants, since people who rage apply are often unhappy with their current position.
One of the most significant cons for employers is potentially getting a ton of applicants who aren't serious about moving on and finding a new job—they may be just upset at work. For candidates, rage applying may alleviate some of their stress, but it's not the best way to find a new job. Applying to a ton of roles means they likely aren't putting enough energy into one application. On top of that, the job search can lead to mental health and emotional issues that workers need to be aware of.
Rage applying is becoming more popular, but it's not the end of the world. There are tons of things that public sector employers can do to keep employees engaged and excited about work.
Here are four strategies to help public sector organizations address the work environment so that employees are less likely to rage apply to other roles.
Workhuman recently completed a survey that found that 34% of respondents voluntarily left a job during the pandemic. Of those that left, 28% cited mental health or toxic work culture as a reason for leaving. Addressing these issues can make work more bearable and fun. If you spot any toxic workers, start addressing their issues verbally and noting the behavior in their files. When toxic behavior becomes a problem and you need to terminate employment, having the data to back you up matters.
Flexibility is important to workers. According to McKinsey, 21% of workers value flexibility over when and where they work. Full-time remote work isn't always an option in the public sector, but flexibility is an option.
According to the Global Government Forum, there is a gap between private and public sector pay. As it stands, workers in the public sector earn 22.47% less than public sector employees who have similar duties. These pay disparities can cause rage-applying issues for public sector workers enticed by the higher pay of the private sector. If you have employees that you don't want to lose, consider how increasing their financial benefits could help with retention.
Lastly, employees need to connect with their managers often. One-on-one conversations shouldn't be just for reprimanding your employees. Instead, having a one-on-one can help you and your team discover problems and find solutions. Managers should schedule weekly chats with their direct reports so they can know how employees are feeling and address problems before they lead to turnover.
Rage applying is growing in popularity these days, but there are so many steps that lead up to the point when an employee feels so disengaged that they turn to rage applying. After all, rage applying is a way for employees to take ownership of their careers when they feel like their current path isn't working. As a public sector employer, there are many things your organization can do to prevent this, from addressing toxic work environments to forming deeper connections with employees. While rage applying can feel like a scary work trend, companies have all the resources they need to avoid it.
CPS HR Consulting is a self-supporting public agency providing a full range of integrated HR solutions to government and nonprofit clients across the country. Our strategic approach to increasing the effectiveness of human resources results in improved organizational performance for our clients. We have a deep expertise and unmatched perspective in guiding our clients in the areas of organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development.