Wait, move up, or move on? How predisposed are your employees to stay or leave?

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Posted by Matt Rivera

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November 18, 2010

Are you ready to move to another job? Move up in your company? Content to stay where you are and wait for better opportunities? Never want to leave?

How you answer these questions says something about you. If you are an HR practitioner, you should have some idea about how your key employees would answer them. How predisposed are they to stay or leave?

I would compare this to all the information you get when choosing your 401(k) options. There's a plethora of carefully worded guides and charts that advise employees to choose an investment option that fits their risk profile, or their predisposition to gamble (or not) with their money.

The same can be said for a person's retention risk profile. For example, some employees are looking for stability, while others want someone to constantly "show them the money."

Further proof of this is in BLS statistics noted by TLNT in a recent article. The statistics show that in August of this year, slightly more people voluntarily left their jobs than the number of people who were laid off. While there could be several reasons for this (low wages, less perks, feelings of disengagement), one less obvious reason is that some are simply predisposed to having a wandering eye.

Why is it happening more now? Because there are more jobs available. People have not suddenly changed their stripes because of the recession. They simply have more options. Those who are predisposed to leave or look around are exercising those options.

I point this out not to alarm you (although you probably should be). I'm simply saying that people have this predisposition, and it's important that retention strategies take this into consideration.

It's also important as you look to re-engage employees and restore wages and perks. Some simply want money. Others are looking for better benefits. That's why Google's 10 percent raise might work for them, but not for everybody.

While this might seem like common sense, keep in mind that many of the cuts in wages, benefits, and perks were done as a knee-jerk reaction without taking anything but cost savings into account.

On the flip side, if you are bringing more people into your organization right now, it's important to understand that these might also be the people more predisposed to leave. So Google's big payday says to me that they are OK with a bit of a revolving door because they want to attract more movers and shakers than people looking to punch out at 5 p.m. every day.

Lastly, there still might be a tipping point when even those who are predisposed to staying start looking around. I don't think we're there yet, but like most things in this arena, by the time we get the reports and analyze the statistics, it's already happening.

So now's the time to look at your employee population and figure out who you want to keep or attract. As part of that effort, you should also get some idea of their predisposition to staying or leaving and align at least some of your efforts in that direction. Not an easy thing to do, but a good long-term strategy to keep in mind.

Topics: Staff Management

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