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Three Ways to Prevent a Human Resource Nightmare
Sep, 19,2012
Researcher, consultant and speaker on the future workplace
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The average worker today stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.4 years, according to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the expected tenure of the workforce’s youngest employees is about half that.

Ninety-one percent of Millennials (born between 1977-1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years, according to the Future Workplace “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey of 1,189 employees and 150 managers. That means they would have 15 – 20 jobs over the course of their working lives!

So while Baby Boomers started working with an eye on gaining stability, raising a family, and “settling down,” today’s young workers take none of that for granted. Instead, as shown by Net Impact’s survey, they are more concerned than their predecessors with finding happiness and fulfillment in their work lives

Indeed, since humans have been proven to be terrible at predicting what will make us happy (as shown by Harvard happiness guru Daniel Gilbert), it’s crucial that we find it through trial-and-error.

So what does a Chief Human Resource Officer do in the face of the perceived advantages of job-hopping amidst the potential cost to the organization? Here are three tips:

  1. Offer Workplace Flexibility. According to research by Future Workplace, flexible hours and generous telework policies are even more important to younger workers than is salary. To keep your employees around for more than a year, give them the chance to adjust their schedules when the situation calls for it. Understand the future of work and the demands prospective employees place on employers today. In the Future Workplace study “Multiple Generations @ Work,” workplace flexibility trumped both compensation and career progression in importance. Yet managers interviewed did not rate this as one of the “perceived” top five levers of attractiveness. So ask yourself, do your managers understand the importance of workplace flexibility to engage new hires? Are your employees leaving for reasons other than job promotions?
  2. Listen To Your Employees. More than previous generations, Gen Y workers crave the chance to contribute creatively to the company and have their ideas heard, according to survey results from Future Workplace. This helps them grow professionally in each position, which will entice them to stick around longer, since personal development is a main reason workers job hop in the first place.
  3. Communicate The Company’s Mission  & Values. Increasingly; employees want to work at a company whose values match their own. The same Net Impact survey mentioned above found that 58 percent of respondents said they would take a 15% pay cut in order to work for an organization “with values like my own.” In order to maximize the number of your employees who achieve that goal, and therefore stick around for the long haul, make sure to communicate your company’s values during the recruiting process. If applicants know what they’re signing up for when they pursue positions at your company, the ones who would leave due to value differences will weed themselves out.