Chalk it up to the confident millennial mindset or renewed hope in the job market, but employers are facing a new workforce epidemic: job hopping.
The majority of millennials, who make up a generous portion of the workforce, concede job hopping looks bad but 86% say they wouldn’t let that concern stop them pursuing their passions, according to a recent survey of 1,000 full-time employees aged 22-35 by RecruitiFi.
It’s a never-ending puzzle workforce leaders struggle to solve, examining what they can do to engage employees enough to inspire commitment for more than just a year or two.
Fortunately, there’s hope. New data from LinkedIn analyzing 10,000 people who changed jobs this year found 42% could have been persuaded to stay.
Here’s the hard truth about why employees leave and what inspires commitment:
1. What happens after onboarding.
It’s been said time and time again, what happens during an employee’s first few months with a company influences their decision to stay (or leave). Smart employers focus heavily on developing state-of-the-art onboarding programs that start employees off on the right foot.
But, what happens after that?
Engagement shouldn’t end with good onboarding. It needs to be a continuous process to combat the natural drop in engagement after those exciting first few projects. Employee engagement does, in fact, drop by 44% after the first six months, according to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report.
Don’t stop investing in employees after onboarding. Continue to help them grow and develop their skills via online training courses or job shadowing a role they aspire to grow into.
2. The opportunities (or lack thereof)
The LinkedIn report also found that the top reason why 45% of people left their jobs last year was due to a lack of advancement opportunities.
This is a key reason why some of the most talented professionals change jobs frequently. Job hoppers can be high performers who adapt and gain traction quickly in new roles. They become bored soon after they’ve mastered a new roles.
To keep them engaged, they need to be given new challenges and opportunities on a regular basis. After a few months, let high performers cross-train into a new role. Give them a new problem to solve and the resources to support them. Or, place them in a leadership role where they can train others.
When employees don’t get the growth opportunities they seek, they may unfortunately look for those opportunities elsewhere.
3. The right feedback.
Employees want to know their work makes an impact. They want a greater sense of purpose than being a cog on an assembly line. In fact, RecruitiFi found 31% of job hoppers would leave their jobs to pursue more fulfilling work.
Acknowledge employees’ work efforts, even when they aren’t achieving big milestones. Celebrate small wins, and personally remind each individual their work is important. Provide consistent feedback in a way that is constructive, yet encouraging. Above all, support them as they hone their craft with the tools to succeed.
4. The social side of work.
Employees don’t commit to organizations, they commit to the people who work with them. If they don’t have meaningful relationships with the people they work with, it’s not likely they’ll feel compelled to stay long. Yet, if they do have strong relationships with their co-workers, they’ll be 21% less likely to leave, Globoforce found in its Fall 2014 Mood Tracker Report.
Build a culture that promotes positive social engagement among employees. Use a social communication tool through which employees can share updates, coordinate activities, and support one another.
It all comes down to this: employees won’t bother committing to employers who won’t commit to them. Employers need to consistently invest in employee development throughout the entire working relationship. That means providing them with the opportunities, feedback and social support they need to feel a sense of belonging on a team of people committed to each other.
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This article also appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.