Everyone knows that the era of lifelong employment and reciprocal employee loyalty have gone the way of the dinosaurs. So, it’s perplexing when one runs across yet another example of an organization that is surprised when employees aren’t “loyal.”
The rise in social networking sites for professionals, most notably LinkedIn, means employees are more prone than ever to be approached with opportunities outside your organization’s walls. Conversely, human resources have unparalleled access to more candidates than in past decades.
Pensions are quickly becoming remnants of bygone times. Health care benefits are shrinking within many companies (or the share borne by individual employees is, at least, rising quickly). The state of the economy in the past several years has seen a sharp decline in anticipated retirements, leading to stagnation of career ladders and frustration by Gen-Xers and Millenials thwarted from moving into leadership roles.
Paint this picture, and it should suprise no one that employees are seeking out and accepting more career mobility than ever before. The average millenial will spend time with an estimated twenty organizations over the course of their career. Do the math….in a 40 year career, that’s a change every two years!
So, what can companies do to combat this trend toward workforce instability? The simple answer is…..adapt! Focus talent management approaches to understand the changing workforce attitudes, employee expectations, and encourage employee mobility. That’s right, encourage it!
One of the key reasons individuals leave their companies is out of a desire for continuous career growth. The reality is for many, their readiness to promote is outpacing turnover in higher level positions. Emotionally intelligent leaders realize this and, rather than simply shrug their shoulders and encourage patience, by actively coaching stagnating employees into higher level positions (even with other organizations), they are practicing people-focused leadership.
It’s not only possible, but increasingly likely that individuals, as they move from organization to organization, may return to the same organization later in their career. For those companies who accept this, the benefits from the cross-pollination of leadership and competitive thought will return ten-fold by way of a more seasoned leader with good feelings and memories of his or her time as a more junior employee there.
So, stop practicing talent management from a position of fear and apprehension. Retention of employees is important, but a broader perspective that includes an understanding of the cyclical nature of today’s jobforce is needed. Stop allowing your employees to stagnate. Encourage them to seek opportunities, wherever they may be.
Chances are many of your most talented employees will leave your organization (you know it’s true). Strong talent management approaches ensure their departure is a positive growth opportunity for them, not because they are unhappy or dissatisfied with being forced to stagnate (or ostracized for wanting more). Look out for their interests, and the rewards down the road will far outweigh the costs of losing them for now.