After surveying 6,000 registered Monster.com users, Monster Worldwide released a report on June 4th with some pretty startling findings. Among them: 81% of those currently employed plan to actively search for a new job next year. That’s right, 81%!
Even though this figure only represents what employees plan to do, and therefore does not account for any real action (so far), the takeaway for employers should be no less powerful. Indeed, the power of the data lies in the fact that it is predictive instead of retrospective. With the right steps, employers may be able to both stem the tide of turnover potentially facing their organizations and capitalize on the new talent likely to enter the market.
Of course, there will be skeptics who say these survey results are overblown. They should still pay attention. According to the survey, 42% of the employed are dissatisfied with their jobs. Given the widespread adoption of “do more with less” company strategies in recent years, this may not come as much of a surprise. However, the survey also reports that 79% of the employed are confident about acquiring a new job next year. It is this confidence coupled with the high dissatisfaction that makes the prospect of turnover quite real for many employers (yes, even you).
Let’s turn to what you can do about it then. When asked why they sought new positions, employed job seekers listed higher compensation, a better skills match, and personal fulfillment as top reasons. While higher compensation might not be feasible for all dissatisfied employees, it should be a strong consideration for top performers, especially if they’ve been doing the work of multiple positions for an extended period of time. Finding better skills matches for employees and increasing their sense of fulfillment are harder to achieve quickly, but perhaps easier to implement from a cost standpoint. Mangers can and should initiate open conversations with employees about their skills, how their skills relate to their current role, and where they see themselves within the organization. The conversations should feel genuine, and managers should go into them prepared to make changes, but sometimes just having the conversation can make employees feel valued enough to rethink their departure plans.
Having these conversations with existing employees can also help pave the way for new hires. Taking the collective pulse of their team will give managers a better sense of the areas they need to strengthen through recruitment. It will also, hopefully, get hiring managers thinking about what they need to do to attract top talent. Top performers who are looking to leave their current positions for higher pay, more personal fulfillment and a better skills match aren’t going to be attracted to positions that seem like more of the same. And top performers are going to be savvier about identifying what might be a bad fit, so it won’t be enough to just pitch how great your company is if the reality is that you’ve kept the status quo.
So, if you’re serious about both retention and recruitment at your company, approaching them separately won’t work. It may still be an employer’s market, but the most successful employers never abuse that power. They focus on ensuring that the employees they have are effective and happy, because that’s exactly what the best candidates out there seek in a new job. In other words, in the end you get what you give.