Business media outlets are ripe with stories about millennials and how they can't sit still for more than two years at a job. But the truth of the matter is the trend isn't limited to the millennials. In fact, 63 percent of full-time employees are looking for a new job, according to A Snapshot of Competition for Talent in the U.S., a new research report from iCIMS.
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The breakdown provided by the report may be surprising to many. Sure, 71 percent of millennials are looking for new work, but 66 percent of Gen. X-ers and 44 percent of baby boomers are also willing to see if the grass is greener on the other side. In addition, 56 percent of all full-time employees would be willing to leave their jobs to join the gig economy.
With so many people unhappy in their current jobs, recruitment and retention personnel are left wondering: How do we get them to stay?
Ask Your Employees What's Wrong
If employers want to retain top talent, the last thing they can afford to do is stand there and wave as employees leap over the side of the proverbial ship. Instead, companies must engage with their workers to find out why they are unsatisfied.
"Today's employees won't hesitate to make their next big career move if a better opportunity comes along," says Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer for iCIMS. "Knowing that employees are considering leaving, it is important to also note their current job-seeking status."
According to the report, 42 percent of employees say the would consider pursuing a new role with a new employer because they have limited opportunities for growth or promotion in their current jobs. Additional reasons why employees may be looking to leave include no longer believing in the company's mission, declining industries, inflexible work schedules, and poor relationships with managers and coworkers.
"With a glimpse into the mindsets of employees, companies have the opportunity to recognize potential deal-breakers in their own organizations and implement changes to avoid losing great talent to competitors," Vitale says.
Since the economy began recovering from the 2008 recession, employers have lost the upper hand. If companies don't offer the best they can to their workforces, their employees will seek the perks and salaries they want elsewhere.
"Job seekers know that they are in the driver's seat," says Vitale. "Best-fit candidates have more control in their own careers and likely have multiple options on the table as the labor market continues to tighten. Because of that, candidates of all ages are becoming increasingly confident in exploring other job opportunities that offer higher compensation, unique perks and benefits, flexible work schedules, and opportunities for training and growth."
Vitale also notes that employees have become emboldened by recent developments in transparency.
"Over the past few years, job seekers have been given access to everything there is to know about a company," she explains. "With a quick search on social media, Glassdoor, or other online platforms, they can easily find out which companies are living up to their brands, mission statements, and beliefs, and what type of salary and benefits they can expect. This increases the comfort level of employees in various generations to leave the companies they have grown comfortable at and explore other opportunities."
Make It Hard to Leave
If employees aren't satisfied with the way they are treated at a company, they'll eventually receive an offer from elsewhere that's too good to refuse. These days, many workers opt in to passive candidate lists at other companies. They are just waiting for the right position to come along.
If employees are already leaving, an employer can try to match or top the offer that led them away. However, letting employees know what their future holds at the company might stop them from looking at other options altogether.
"The top reason employees leave is limited opportunities for future growth or promotion," Vitale says. "This can be a common fear at smaller companies, but those employers should focus on building clear career paths for advancement and communicate those options with current and prospective employees to put them at ease and avoid flight risks."
In addition to providing a path for advancement, employers should keep employees interested with solid benefits packages that include nontraditional benefits competitors aren't offering. There are plenty of options that won't break the bank, such as pet insurance and/or letting employees bring pets to work, flexible work schedules, free doughnuts and coffee, or a few "mental health days" every year. Larger companies can consider options like company cars, profit-sharing, or student loan reimbursement.
The important thing is to remember that employees are more than numbers to move around on a spreadsheet. Keeping morale high is proven to make workers more productive, and fostering long-term relationships with workers not only reduces hiring costs, but also cultivates a talented employee base that knows the company inside out.