Skip to content

Are your employees ready to quit?

July 9, 2010

Are your employees getting ready to quit?  When did you last think that was possible?  My guess is that it has been a couple of years, because you figured there were no jobs out there.  The job market certainly hasn’t been good and it was risky for someone to leave a position for an unknown situation.

Well, I’m here to tell you that the tables are turning.  The market is picking up  and we are seeing employees that have put up with salary/bonus cuts, reduced benefits, longer hours, constantly changing management and a stop to all new development/projects making the decision to move.   They now have choices.  I am not saying that we are back to the .com days (unfortunately!) where employees are readily jumping ship and salaries are rising like crazy, but I believe that there is going to be a lot of movement of talent in the next year.

An article in The Wall Street Journal from May 26, said that,

“in February, the number of employees voluntarily quitting surpassed the number being fired or discharged for the first time since October, 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Before February, the BLS had recorded more layoffs than resignations for 15 straight months, the first such streak since the bureau started tracking the data a decade ago.”

Later in the article, it gave this statistic, “in a poll conducted by human resources consultant Right Management at the end of 2009, 60% of workers said they intended to leave their jobs when the market got better.”  The article also talked about employees feeling disengaged and having less satisfaction in their jobs.  Now, this data is for all positions and on a national basis, but 60%?  That’s a lot.

At MATRIX, we always talk to our candidates about why they are leaving and ask them if they have discussed those issues with their manager – especially if the main issue is money.  We usually hear something like, ” there is nothing they can do…they tell us all the time there is no money for anything…they have been laying everyone off, I can’t ask for anything.”  They feel so beaten down and so sure that there is nothing their company can do that they are not even trying.

The article mentioned that, a job board for tech professionals, asked what a company could do to persuade them to stay and 57% said there is nothing the company could do, 42% said higher salary and 11% wanted a promotion.  Sounds like there is nothing you can do, right?  I don’t think so….

Candidates are being picky and patient in their job search – and I think they are looking beyond the money – contrary to what is mentioned above.  They are looking for growth opportunities, challenges, new technology, flexible work hours, reduced commute time, a strong peer group and a leadership team they can believe in.

You have competition now for your best talent, but you have the first right/opportunity to keep them and hopefully strengthen your relationship.   Will you wait for them to resign, or be proactive?  If you would offer something when they resign, why not move forward now and show that you are thinking about their best interests and showing them that they are important to the company?  Waiting for someone to resign and offering a counter is not a good idea….not for you, the employee, or the rest of the team that watches this happen.  It doesn’t have to be just about money, although that can be key if folks are making less now than two years ago.

HP recently reversed its 5% mandatory pay cut, and I have other clients that have given pay raises to those that excelled during this time (and who they were able to hire during the downturn at a lower salary).  Other choices might be telecommuting one day a week, increased benefits, extra days off (especially if they worked long hours to cover for laid off workers), or finally getting to do that training they have been asking for. Or maybe a lunch hosted by the company that thanks them for all that they have done and communicating what is coming up, what challenges are still there and how you are hoping they will stay with you and be successful together. If you didn’t handle things well, maybe you should admit it and tell/show how you are getting back on course.  Be careful, though, this had better be genuine….we all know the fake rah-rah when we hear it!

I wrote a previous blog about keeping your best talent, and I think now is a good time to look at your team, understand what motivates them and be a true leader.  Communicate and try to understand things from their side and hopefully meet their needs as best you can while you have the opportunity.

Replacing a top performer is expensive, time consuming, and risky. You and your team will be distracted with interviewing, training, and closely managing this new person.   It is certainly a lot more expensive to hire a new employee than to motivate and reward a current one.

So – think about it….what can you do?

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: