Care: The Best Defense Against the Great Resignation

Nima Gardideh
September 16, 2021

We all know someone who is leaving their job right now. If you’re in tech, fast turnover has always been a part of the industry. But recently, the pace has sped up and been matched by our friends and family in other sectors. They’re calling it The Great Resignation or The Big Quit. 


“After a year filled with shutdowns, economic uncertainty, and record-breaking unemployment levels, a massive change took place that no one could have anticipated: People are quitting their jobs,” according to Forbes. 


Forty-one percent of the global workforce is considering leaving their jobs this year, according to a  study by Microsoft.


As many articles point out, people are leaving in pursuit of change—they want things like the ability to continue working from home, increased flexibility, more money, and greater fulfillment. Others are rethinking the role of work in their lives altogether by looking into how and where they spend their time and attempting to live by their values. As far as the key to retention? The best answer I’ve been able to glean from all of this seems to be: Care.


At Pearmill, we're intentionally quite culturally different from other agencies in the market.  According to the Association of National Advertisers, the average annual ad agency turnover is around 30 percent. This statistic doesn’t suit us. We’re designing the company so that people who work here (as well as the clients) stay for a long time and don't rotate out every year or two. We're building long-term relationships within our team. To do so, we thought deeply about what it means to care for each other. 


And, to be clear, care isn’t just a feeling or “wacky office perks.” It’s an action displayed in how we support each other through internal dialogue, company strategy, and smart benefits. 


Letting bad clients go

One thing that makes Pearmill different is that we’re not afraid to lose clients who bring the team down.



Agencies I've worked with will do whatever it takes to keep [clients]. At Pearmill...if you're not a good fit or are not a pleasure to work with, we are willing to part ways. [Pearmill] prioritizes the happiness of the employees, and you are not just a cog in a machine. - Joanne Yoo, Growth Manager at Pearmill


They just care about you as a person, which I felt immediately. - Leala King, Associate Creative Director at Pearmill. 






The biggest thing for me is care, like genuine care for others on the team. There have been times where clients became a really heavy weight on the mental health of the team, and Karim [a co-founder] prioritized the health of the team over the money from a client. - Geraud Bastille, Growth Manager at Pearmill. 



Paid Time Off 

My personal experience with startups has taught me that the kind of work we do at Pearmill, where you have to use your intellect and creativity in a focused manner, takes a very strong toll on you if you haven't learned how to recharge and reset.


We've chosen an unlimited vacation policy because we want our team to learn how to integrate the work that we do into your life in a way that doesn't burn you out and puts you in a position to do the best work of your career. I also acknowledge that while "unlimited vacation" sounds cool, it's known to be counterintuitive since people take less time due to pressure or cultural reasons. That’s why when we created our policy, we added 15 days of required time off.


Here’s our internal policy in Notion.



Much of being able to continue using our creativity and being able to get in a state of flow has to do with how well-rested the team is, what their physical and emotional states are, and if they’ve been able to recharge their creative juices. Taking time off enables them to be in their best state and is fundamental in making sure we work sustainably.


Questioning “Professional”

Another tenet of the workplace we’re creating is that we're working with "whole people." Our team brings their talent, intellect, energy, and grit into our community, and in return, we all commit to helping each other go through life alongside each other.


There is no human I know that cares about "what is best for the business" one hundred percent of the time. Almost every friend I have that works in a corporate environment seems to have to show up to work wearing a mask of personality that fits the mold of what is expected of them as a “professional.” They fake rationality even when decisions are emotional in nature. They aren't able to grow in the company because they don't conform to this culture. We know that we’re more than just our jobs, and we think acknowledging that helps us to build a better place to work. 


Looking at an article in Forbes, we see this idea proposed as an antidote to resignation. “Companies who are able to shift their culture to give employees permission to be fully themselves and have a life outside of work will be the ones best able to retain their talent.” We believe our approach to working with “whole people” helps provide a workplace that does just that.


Profit-sharing

As far as compensation and employee value goes, we're not trying to take advantage of talent that's undervalued. This is why we do profit-sharing, and why we want everyone to enjoy working with our clients (and why we're open to firing them if they're not a good fit).


Better integrating care into the workplace appears to relieve a laundry list of the “whys” behind why people leave. Whether it comes in the form of keeping great clients, more PTO opportunities, or smart benefits, systems implemented with care at the center look to be the foot that can stop the revolving door of hiring/resigning that many companies are facing today.


Join us

If you’re someone who’s just as thoughtful, caring, and driven as we are, apply. We’d love to meet you