20% of Your Employees are Looking for a Job

Posted on March 26, 2014.

That’s right, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilders, one in five workers plan to change jobs in 2014.  You might want to rationalize that new post recession opportunities are spurring their hunt, but you’d be wrong. The real reason your employees are looking is they just aren’t happy. I can almost hear “duh” in the background.  The survey indicated that less than 60% of workers are satisfied with their jobs. Almost 20% of the workers are dissatisfied and these are the folks who are likely to leave.

And the biggest reason for their unhappiness – salary and “not feeling valued” are almost tied as the most often cited reason. I’m not going to focus on all the other reasons people are unhappy, you can look through the survey.  But it seems to me, the easiest first step is to just LISTEN to your employees.

Since I’m a big believer in positive reinforcement vs. punishment as the best way to change behavior, I thought I’d focus on the 80% of folks who have no intention of leaving and seeing if you can’t make some changes to increase that percentage even more.

·      Start with hiring people that fit in.  Sometimes the smartest, most experienced person is just plain annoying and you know in your gut, they won’t bond with the rest of the group.  So take a pass, and bring on people that will get along.  THE number one reason people are happy were they are- they like the people they work with.

·      Be flexible.  Try to build a results oriented workplace. Focus more on goals than the clock. Allow people to work from home, at least occasionally. And just because you like working 60 hours a week, don’t expect everyone else to embrace their job to that level. The number two reason for worker satisfaction-work-life balance,

·      Provide additional benefits you can control.For most companies, the benefit package is pretty set.  But there are things you can do that may be unique to your office or team.  How about pizza Fridays or catering lunch once a month?  If someone has to work late, buy them dinner. You guessed it, the number three reason for happiness- good benefits.

·      Pay attention to salary levels.  It’s easy to take people for granted, especially the people that just do their job and never complain.  Here’s a novel idea- why not give someone a raise that doesn’t expect it, just because they’re doing a great job?  Exceeding someone’s expectation is almost more important than the actual salary.  Making a good salary is number four on the list.

Managers want to believe that people always leave for more money and given fairly established pay scales, it’s something they can’t control.  It’s easy to rationalize that it’s not your fault. But if you’re honest, it almost always is your fault.  There are many other reasons people both leave or stay. But if you were to focus on just these four, I would bet you could make sure that 20% of your employees aren’t out looking right now.