Many people start a new year with the intention to change and improve, with new fitness regimes, new diets and resolutions to learn a new language. For some, a change of career or a change of location is on the cards.
There are any number of motivating reasons behind an employee wanting to change jobs or quit their current position. A report published by the accreditation firm Investors in People found that, in 2018, as many as 47% of workers will be looking to change jobs, with 18% actively looking for new work.
A changing political climate also raises concerns that come hand in hand with uncertainty, with 25% of workers concerned about the impact of Brexit on job security, and a further 28% concerned that Brexit will make it harder to find work over the next 12 months.
Read on to find out why so many people are looking to change jobs this year – and how you can help address common issues experienced by employees.
Respondents to the survey chiefly cited bad management (49%) as the reason they were likely to quit their position in the next 12 months.
Bad managerial styles – whether you’re micromanaging or not displaying proper leadership – will alienate and disengage your staff. Always be sure to handle any disputes or issues fairly and sensitively, and lead by example.
Get to know your employees and the way they manage their workloads so that you can identify when someone is under- or over-worked, feeling stressed or not feeling challenged enough.
Teambuilding activities, days out of the office and company events are a great way to build rapport, trust and a team mentality. Review the way you manage, or the management culture of your business, to see if there are issues – and if so, don’t be afraid to address them.
An undervalued workforce
For 39% of respondents, feeling under-valued is the root cause of their unhappiness in their current workplace.
It can be difficult to know why employees feel undervalued; whether it’s an issue of time, remuneration, the type of work they are doing, or a range of other factors which may extend beyond the workplace.
In any of these instances, a little can go a long way. Think about how you can make the work that needs done enjoyable and challenging, and don’t be afraid to thank employees for their hard work.
If appropriate, try to include your employees when making business decisions; if moving or redesigning your offices, invite their input to improve engagement. Don’t just delegate work, but empower them to act with agency. Remember that their ambitions are just as valuable as your own.
Crises of compensation
Predictably, competitive pay (40%) is another important factor for workers seeking a new position. This comes with the territory when employees feel undervalued; they may feel that the demands they face are not suitably compensated by the hours they work or the amount of work that they do.
It’s also understandable, given that economic growth and increased levels of employment have been met with wage stagnation.
To keep hold of employees and attract new talent, it’s important to ensure that you offer competitive salaries. It can be a heavy demand for many small businesses, but benefits packages (28%) are also attractive – if you can’t be competitive with pay, seek out other areas in which you can reward employees.
For many survey respondents (30%), the lack of career progression options offered by their current employer are unsatisfactory and another reason why they will look for a change of scenery.
For a lot of workers, being able to visualise a career trajectory, and knowing what their career could look like under a certain employer, is an important (and sometimes decisive) factor when looking for a job. This may be particularly true for graduates.
Offering training puts you in a position where you can guide the professional and personal development of your colleagues and staff; a hugely rewarding process.
To avoid losing your employees, do what you can to offer some sort of pathway so that they can see the benefits of working with you.
However, the Investors in People report isn’t entirely pessimistic. It also highlights that many workers are happy with key aspects of their job, such as flexible working arrangements, enjoyable work, and working as part of a great team.
Technology and the gig economy have changed work patterns, and workers who benefit from these flexible arrangements may not suffer from stressful commutes, while a supportive work environment will foster good relationships.
Other novel approaches have been trialled by Facebook, including designing job roles around the strengths and interests of the successful applicant. This is because the company recognises the importance of retaining talented employees.
The idea is to build roles that engage employees’ personal interests and professional strengths, as “narrow job descriptions that companies create stifle their ability to use the full range of their employees’ skills”.
Ultimately, creating an environment where the work is challenging but enjoyable, secure and with potential for career progression is the way to attract and retain the best employees.
And if they still decide to leave..?
While you can do all the above and more to try to make your workplace as attractive as possible to employees, sometimes it is beyond your reach to convince them to stay.
In these instances, it’s important to end the relationship on a good note, as you never know when you may have the opportunity to work with people again, and they represent a valuable node in your professional network – so don’t burn any bridges.
Former employees can also act as brand advocates; they know your company, and will no doubt talk about it in their social lives or their new role. Be sure to give them a reason to talk about your business positively!