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That Moment When your Employee Quits via SnapChat

It’s no secret that younger generations prefer to communicate digitally. In fact, more than 70% of Millennials prefer to receive communication in a digital format.

But, even with this overwhelming preference, there are certain messages that are too important to just send in a text, right?

I mean, shouldn’t some things just be done in person...

Well...not according to a recent study conducted by Adobe. They surveyed over 1000 employees and the results were surprising: less than half of all employees age 18-34 indicated that it was important to quit their job in person.

This means that the majority of young employees believe that quitting their job via some digital means like email, an enterprise social network, or via text message is the most appropriate option.


 I thought I was in rarefied territory when one of my young employees quit by sending in a SnapChat, but it turns out I was in the same boat as many other professionals.

When I shared this story with other business owners, they said their first experience with a “digital resignation” was a surprise, but they aren’t surprised anymore. Something about this response got me thinking...if we shouldn’t be surprised by this, then what can we learn from it?

Consider this:

  1. Most Millennials and younger employees do still believe that quitting their job is a big deal. They know it is a big decision, and even the most inexperienced employees understand that the way they leave a job can affect their ability to get a job in the future. They don’t quit with digital communication because they think quitting is trivial. This brings me to my next point...
  2. If they know that quitting is a big deal and yet they still choose to quit through a digital platform, doesn’t that speak volumes about their communication preferences? If they believe that the most appropriate way to quit is digitally, and if they do send that very important communication digitally, then they must also want to receive important communications digitally.

Remember that over 50% of those 18-34 felt exactly that way. We as leaders can learn a lot from a statistic like this.

It is easy to just draw the conclusion that these young employees are disrespectful and cowardly, but it takes real transformational leadership to examine a trend like this and ask ourselves “how can this inform my ability to lead this generation?”

Remember, transformational leadership is a two-way street. You must first transform, to help guide the transformation in others.

Here is the takeaway:

Really leverage your digital communication platforms. These are mediums that your young employees find not just preferable, but the most appropriate to relay critically important information.

Even if you know that some messages are best delivered in-person, send a digital follow-up to reinforce the importance. Chances are you already know how important it is to make sure that you’re communicating your message in the right way, and in the right place for your audience to hear it - don't forget to apply that same principle to your communication with your team.

If they are listening digitally, then maybe you should communicate digitally more often.

Oh, and during their onboarding, make sure to coach them that you expect for them to quit in person :)

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