3 Ways to Make a Commitment-Phobic Job Hopper Stay

The median number of years that US, wage and salary workers stay at eac..., as reported by the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics in 2012, giving them enough time to hop around as many as 10 times. Sourcing, recruiting, hiring, training and replacement costs could potentially come down to a loss for the company when new employees choose to hop on to the next gig in such a short amount of time. A recent study from the Center for American Progress found that for all jobs earning less than $50,000 per year, (which is about 40% of US jobs) the average cost of replacing an employee amounts to 20% of the person's annual salary.

1) Don’t Offer Dime-a-Dozen Jobs

Job hoppers are able and willing to hop from job to job because some organizations are making it way too appealing to do so. If an employee gets frustrated, disengaged or perhaps wants a change of pace, they will hop right on onto the next dime-a-dozen company, because they can.

Combat this by standing out. If you are part of an industry in which you are exactly like the rest, take a look around you and see what you can change. For instance, say you’re hiring in high volume for a call center. The annual turnover rate for these centers is at about 33%, and quit rates represent 60% of total turnover. This sounds like a prime “hopping” industry.

What few of them offer is costly, but the return on investment through lowered retention rates is well worth it. Call centers that pay a portion of the health insurance premiums for their employees have retention rates 10 times higher than those centers that don’t.

2) Solicit Constant Feedback

Job hoppers don’t leave their dream jobs at which they are fully engaged and fulfilled. They leave because they can and they aren’t happy. There’s not much muss and fuss, they’ll just go on to the next job. We have all left a job, and it most likely wasn’t because we hated the job, it was because we hated the boss.

This is a prime reason that companies need to do away with the outdated notion that yearly feedback or even quarterly reviews are enough. Soliciting constant feedback allows leaders to implement timely solutions. 46% of employees represented in a Cornerstone survey said that feeling appreciated by their employer is what motivates them to stay. Too many companies are not taking advantage of the free or cost effective ways to open up communication. Even something as simple as a Google+ Hangout, or professional social network like Yammer can be extremely helpful.

3) Focus on Hiring Internally

They’ve seen it a hundred times, and it’s exactly why they have one foot out the door. Workers will spend decades climbing up the corporate ladder, only to get there and realize the company has filled their dream job with an external hire. Millennials in particular have realized that tenure is out, and negotiating is in.

A recent Forbes article included interviews from several job hoppers. This is what one of them said,

“I’ve seen people spend ten years at a job only to continue being passed over for the newcomer from outside the company,” Kyle Flight says. “The rest of my generation saw it, too. So when we want to advance, we know that it’s going to take a hop and skip to a different company and job, with a better title and paycheck. We’re just trying to make it in the world.”

Combat this with strong succession planning. Open up new positions internally first. Make sure the company has access to the listings, and that they know they can talk to leadership about these possibilities. Very often the management team won’t know about all of the experience, skills or career interests of all of their employees. Have an open door policy when it comes to career planning.

4) Give Them Something to Learn

Continued training and cross-training is of huge value to each worker, as well as the organization. 32% of respondents from the same Cornerstone survey indicated that opportunities to develop skills are what motivate them to stay with an organization. Ongoing training creates a highly skilled and engaged worker; and who doesn’t need a whole bunch of those?

Each of these suggestions to combat the leaving of commitment-phobic job hoppers are actually things that strong organizations should be doing anyway. Standing out from the crowd by investing in employees, showing employees recognition and giving them the tools for career planning are all mutually beneficial tools to start using today.

photo credit: Logan Brumm Photography and Design via photopin cc

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Comment by Keith D. Halperin on March 17, 2014 at 2:00pm

Thanks, Sean. Loyalty = Cash-flow. If you're serious and have an important person you really don't want to lose, then offer them a "multi-year, guaranteed-raise/bonus, no-layoff-without-cause" employment contract . As the saying goes: "Money talks, and no-money walks"...



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