With some of the lowest unemployment rates seen in decades, the current employment market is a job seeker’s paradise.
How Did We Get Here?
During the early 2000’s, employees began to realize that they needed to be flexible in order to accommodate a shifting job market. Established companies that had been around for “eons” began to downsize.
Company retirement accounts disappeared. A general distrust of employers began to erode what was once considered a given: you find a company you like and build a career there. Out of necessity, employees began sharpening their skills to make themselves more attractive to prospective companies, and employers began to scramble as they realized they were losing valuable people.
Employees were encouraged to change jobs frequently, with many experts advising that job stints shouldn’t last longer than 3 years. From this era, the idea of employee engagement emerged in an effort to stem the rising tide of job hopping and improve the quality of employees within a company.
As the result of decades of research, business experts have amassed an impressive amount of information regarding the state of employee satisfaction. Known as employee engagement, it is a quantifier that demonstrates the level of employee commitment to their employer and the company’s goals and vision.
According to this research, nearly 75% of Canadian employees are disengaged at work. 15% of employees are actively disengaged, meaning they are blatantly working against the company’s goals, while the remaining 60% are merely unengaged. They show up for work but have no enthusiasm for self-improvement or helping the company achieve success.
The lack of employee engagement, along with the growing number of employees who are constantly looking for their next job stepping stone, can create a sense of unease for business managers who are struggling to build a cohesive team. In fact, a recent survey indicates that 56% of workers are planning to look for a new job within the next 6 months.
What can employers do to combat this issue?
Invest in employee growth. Most employees want to grow professionally and personally. Investing in training programs that have long-term benefits for the employee can improve employee engagement and demonstrate to employees that you are interested in their continued growth.
Think outside the box – not all training has to be business related, some can be fun. Are your employees into line dancing? Bring in dance instructors and offer a series of line dancing classes during lunch. Do you have employees interested in coding? Offer on-site classes in coding after work. How can you invest in your employees that are “whole self” focused instead of just on-the-job training?
Make employee well-being a priority. Wellness programs, flexible scheduling and other benefits can all be factors in cultivating loyalty from your employees. When employees feel as though they are valued as individuals, they are more likely to stay in their current position.
Zappos has taken a different approach to preventing employee loss. If you haven’t heard about their unique methods, they instituted a “Pay to Quit” program for new employees who were going through their training program. At the midpoint of their onboarding, employees would be offered $4000 if they felt as though Zappos was not the right job for them.
Zappos’ management explains that they only wanted people who were fully invested in the success and growth of the company. They calculated the amount of money they would spend to train and replace employees and determined it was cheaper to “buy out” employees who weren’t going to make the cut.
Since Zappos was acquired by Amazon, the program has evolved and is now offered yearly to employees as part of their annual evaluations.
The offer is made through a memo entitled, “Please Don’t Take This Offer”. According to management, they rarely have to pay and employees consistently rate Amazon and Zappos with high marks.
You may not be in a position to pay employees for leaving, but can you institute a process where employees are encouraged to evaluate why they took the job at your company?
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.