Why Half of Your Employees May be Looking for Other Jobs


Employers should always be mindful about employees looking for other jobs. In a recent survey of over 2400 workers, 43% of respondents said they are not happy in their current jobs (salary.com).

If this is true, WHY are today’s employees so unhappy?  What is the cause of dissatisfaction? And what can companies do to make sure such a large portion of employees are not looking for other jobs?

Imagine a few common scenarios:

Scenario 1: An employee has been with the company for a couple of years, learns the system, and seems happy enough in her work, but turns in her resignation.  She explains that she found a job which allows her to work virtually two days a week.

Scenario 2: Two veteran employees go for the same management position within the company.  The one who did not get the position leaves to join a competitor offering higher pay.

Scenario 3: An employee decides to leave after just six months on the job.  He says that he feels like his current job is going nowhere and no one appreciates his work.

According to the salary.com survey, these scenarios are all too common.  Insufficient salary, lack of raises and advancement, lack of appreciation, and poor work-life balance are the most common reasons employees are not happy.

Employees Look for Other Jobs because They Feel Under-Appreciated 

As an employer, one might think it’s not really necessary to give much affirmation to employees.  They are getting paid, after all.  But affirmation is a powerful tool to not only boost job satisfaction, but also to boost intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is when someone does something because it’s personally rewarding to them.  For example, one might purge clothes in a closet because they feel a sense of organization and accomplishment afterwards.  Praise, given genuinely, increases internal motivation.

study by Bersin and Associates revealed that companies that provide ample employee recognition have 31% lower voluntary turnover rates than companies that don’t—a good sign that those employees are happier (Forbes.com).

But praise has to be delivered in the right way to truly motivate an employee.  When delivering praise, make sure it is personalized, specific, and given genuinely.  “Good job” does not motivate nearly as much as “You handled that client with true professionalism.  I noticed that you really took notes to address his specific needs.  Nice work.  We really need you here.”

Appreciation can also be delivered in the form of raises in pay and job advancement.

Keeping employees happy means providing opportunities to grow, according to a recent poll of over 10,000 employees conducted by Blind professional network.  “Nearly 80% of employees who reported they had significant personal growth also reported they were happy in their current role” (Kim, thrillist.com).  Mega-companies Netflix, Bloomberg, and Google rose to the top for happy employees due to growth opportunity according to the Blind survey. We need to find ways to create employee happiness and growth opportunities.

Employees Look for Other Jobs for Better Work-Life Balance

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to work-life balance, but recent trends show that employees want flexible hours and the option to work from home (at least occasionally).

Telecommuting statistics show that 4.3 million employees (3.2% of the workforce) now work from home at least half of the time (globalworkplaceanalytics.com).

Work-from-home options may not be available at every company, but perhaps companies can consider flexible hours.  Employers might consider combining vacation time and sick time into one, and allowing employees to take paid time off in two hour increments if needed.

Whatever the flex policy might be, make sure it is fairly and consistently applied to all employees.

Work-life balance can also be improved by making improvements to the physical office itself.  Some businesses are creating quiet spaces for employees to go to for a mental break.  Other ideas include stand up desks, open floor plans, healthy lunch options, better seating, and adding greenery to the office space.

Other ideas to improve balance are offering work out spaces or gym memberships, childcare, better health care options, and encouraging breaks throughout the work day.

Companies Should Communicate with Employees

Anonymous employee surveys are a great start, but the best way to truly get a pulse on how employees are feeling about their jobs involves regular, one-on-one communication.

Often employees will open up to a supervisor with whom they feel comfortable, especially when they feel respected and appreciated by the supervisor.

A supervisor should set aside individual time (perhaps even on a monthly basis) to talk about how things are going.

Open ended questions are best, such as “How are you handling this project?” or “What can I do to support you in this role?”

Along with the questions, supervisors should be trained to listen, react appropriately, and then take steps if needed.

If you are looking for another job or want advice on recruiting employees who will be happy with a role long-term, please contact us at Artemis Consultants.

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