Talent is mobile. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average tenure of an employee is 4.2 years as of January 2016, a drop from the same survey in 2014. The reasons for the faster turnover rate is an indicator of labor market strength and generational changes.
From an employer’s perspective, the practice of talent hording is no longer an effective strategy. An employment practice that does work: creating a work atmosphere that encourages mobility and professional advancement. According to a recent survey by Indeed, the number one reason employees change companies is for career advancement. Interestingly enough, it’s the same reason they change roles within an organization.
Institute effective redeployment programs
In an employment ecosystem where professional development and advancement are at the top of everyone’s minds, employers who can offer career advancement through well-developed redeployment programs are more likely to hold onto the talent they value most.
According to RiseSmart’s 2017 Guide to Severance and Workforce Transition, a majority of companies surveyed allow employees to apply for positions in divisions or departments across the company, other than the ones where they currently work. Nearly half of all employers surveyed have a dedicated redeployment program designed to make the process easier. We also found that those companies who are most successful at redeployment are those that not only allow employees internal mobility, but they also provide some level of coaching, resume assistance, and networking guidance.
As redeployment and mobility initiatives take on greater importance, organizations may want to look for partnering opportunities with a third-party vendor to implement redeployment programs that empower employees to identify internal jobs and prepare them to successfully apply for, interview, and land those jobs. While these programs have traditionally been managed from within the organization, few companies have the resources to provide all the services that make redeployment successful.
Invest heavily in employees for the time they’re there
The compact has changed between employers and employees. No longer is there an expectation that employees will stay with your organization until retirement. Instead, thought leaders, like Reid Hoffman, are talking about companies entering into incremental alliances with employees. He sees the initial employee compact as a four-year tour of duty, with a discussion at two years. In his model, if the employee is able to meet goals and make a contribution to the company during the four-year tour of duty, the company would then help that employee advance with another tour of duty within the company or a position elsewhere.
Since both the employee and the employer have an interest in a four-year model, each invests heavily in the relationship. The result for the employees is not a lifetime of employment, instead they gain the skills and rich experiences that make them valuable and employable beyond their current positions.
During an employee’s tour, companies that provide career guidance, training, and professional development opportunities reap the rewards of an employee who’s engaged and prepared to make a significant contribution to the organization. The employer-employee relationship is such that ties and mutually beneficial experiences do not have to end when the employee chooses to move on to another organization.
The goodwill created between the employer and the employee opens the door to future relationships with employees who decide to leave. Boomerang employees, those who leave an organization and return back to that same employer later in their careers, are becoming a commonplace occurrence. In fact, a study done by Workplace Trends, found that nearly half of the HR professionals surveyed claim that their organization previously had a policy against rehiring former employees, but 76% say they are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees today than in the past — and that was two years ago. From all indications, those numbers have grown.
Attract the best with career support
As companies continue to compete for the best and brightest, offering opportunities for personal and professional growth are becoming more commonplace. The gig economy, originally a fallback explanation for when unemployed, is becoming an attractive, and in many cases lucrative, employment option for people who want more control over their time.
According to the 2017 Upwork and Freelancers study, the current number of freelancers is 57.3 million, representing 36% of the working population.
Moving forward, the contingent workforce will put further pressure on employers hoping to attract the most highly sought after talent. The amount of support a company is willing to give these employees will have a huge impact on whether or not they are able to continue to engage with them and keep them warm for future projects. Members of the flexible workforce will require specialized career coaching and professional development designed to help them succeed as independent contractors. Companies willing to invest in programs for these highly-skilled workers will get the highest return on their relationships and engender brand loyalty.
Investing in things that matter
While ping pong and free soda are great immediate rewards, and probably won’t be replaced by more meaningful perks, career development opportunities impact lives and make a lifetime of difference. Employees looking for a workplace that provides them with meaning and purpose, and who are looking for ways to feel connected to work, will be attracted to those organizations that invent in people in meaningful ways, like career counseling and development.
The evolution of work is upon us and AI, automation, and robots are already here. While some jobs may be eliminated completely, others will be changed forever. Today’s employees are feeling the tension of an uncertain future, not knowing yet just how their jobs will change, or if they will even have a job in the future. When these employees are encouraged to invest time and energy in their careers through programs developed for them by their employers, they are more likely to let go of anxiety and adopt a sense of comfort as they prepare for the next step.
The underlying changes in employment and the shift to an employee relationship economy are creating an environment where career development and personal and professional growth are going to be top of mind for the successful employees and employers of the future.
Making exits smoother
The question for both employees and employers remains, where do you want to go and how do you want to get there? Setting long-term goals and understanding that leaving a company or losing an employee is just another milestone in the employee-employer journey. No matter what the reason, companies need to ensure that the transition into, through, and out of their organization is smooth. Offering redeployment solutions, career counseling and professional development opportunities, and providing outplacement and career transitions services to all exiting employees (whether voluntary or involuntary) will help companies maintain enthusiastic employee and alumni sentiments and grow a positive brand image.