Does Job Jumping Matter Anymore?

I would answer no.  I have the opportunity to look at many resumes on any given day and there is a definite sea-change in the job jumping area.  Millennials are far less loyal to their employers than any generation before them.  In fact, I would say “job” jumping isn’t accurate, they are actually “skill” jumping.  These employees are often looking for personal skill development and once they sense they have tapped out their growth curve in their current role, they leave.

I spend a fair amount of time explaining this skill jumping behavior to old-school hiring managers.  Companies must have a plan for ongoing development of their Millennial workforce otherwise they will look for skill development at a different company.

This somewhat new trend is well documented in this Harvard Business Review article.  From the article:

Sullivan says that employers have become more accepting of brief periods of employment. As many as 32% of employers expect job-jumping. “It’s become part of life,” says Sullivan. In fact, people are most likely to leave their jobs after their first, second, or third work anniversaries. Millennials are especially prone to short stays at jobs. Sullivan’s research shows that 70% quit their jobs within two years. So the advice to stick it out at a job for the sake of your resume is just no longer valid.

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Did you catch that…2 years!  I suspect that fact is due to companies being slow to provide development paths for these new employees.  The days of pension-earning careers with one company are long gone.

The Millennials are skewing the tenure number lower, but other generations are catching on also:

The average length of time a worker stays in a job these days is 4.6 years.

Have a plan to grow your direct reports’ individual skill sets.  Put milestones out there for them to achieve.  Have a plan and share it with them.  If you need help, we can help.

Tracking Sales Reps 24/7

A sales executive was fired for deleting an app on her cell phone.  The details from the Fox News story:

A sales executive was fired after she deleted an app on her phone that tracked her every move, allowing her employer to know where she was 24/7.

It was only a matter of time until this type of issue surfaced.  My personal take is that tracking her 24/7 is an incredible invasion of privacy and her actions were the same ones I would have chosen in that situation.  However, let me throw this at you from the former Judge quoted in the article:

Judge Andrew Napolitano said that in the case of this traveling saleswoman, her employer had a legitimate interest in knowing where she was going, and that was the reason for the app.

Judge Napolitano added that she had no right to delete the app, but she could have disabled the phone while she was at home, on vacation or otherwise on her own time.

Ok, he is familiar with the legality of such things.  I am still shocked, but I suspect this isn’t the last case we have heard regarding this topic.  For now, here is a very interesting, if extreme, workaround from the article:

Where do you put your phone when you don’t want anyone to know where you are? Gretchen Carlson asked.

“You ready for this? A refrigerator,” Judge Napolitano said. “No signal can get in and no signal can get out.”

It Is All About Communication

From today’s Herman Trend report (emphasis mine):

The other highlights of the study are fascinating: the least happy of the generations is the Baby Boomers. They expressed the strongest discontent with their employers and the greatest frustration that their loyalty and hard work have been neither recognized nor rewarded. “Almost one-third (32 percent) of Baby Boomers surveyed say a lack of trust in leadership is a top turnover trigger—the highest ranking by any workforce generation.”

Employers are most vulnerable to lose their Generation X workers. Lack of career progress is their top exit trigger (65 percent). Only 28 percent of Gen X employees surveyed expect to stay. This intention to leave is a clear signal to employers to expect a significant exodus by employees viewed as future leaders.

For the Millennials, their employers’ commitment to "corporate responsibility/volunteerism" was very important. Millennials are also nearly three times more likely to say a "fun work environment" is important than their Baby Boomers counterparts.

On the other hand, “employees who plan to stay with their current employers (35 percent) say their companies have strong talent programs, characterized by clear career paths, leadership development initiatives, trust and confidence in corporate leadership, superior programs to retain top talent, and effective communication.”

Did you catch that last topic?  Communication – this is almost a free move for any company, but it requires commitment.  The Gen X’ers are a generally skeptical bunch as I can attest – I am one.  I value all of the programs listed, yet it all starts with effective communication within the company and specifically within the manager-employee relationship.

Chipotle Rewards And Retention

Retention does not seem to be a topic of great concern in this present economy.  However, the economy will turn and hiring will accelerate.  When this happens (hopefully sooner rather than later), retention will become a key topic for many companies.

In a surprising story, CNNMoney.com provides a brief description of a unique approach Chipotle uses:

Find incentives that work. The best Chipotle restaurant managers get the title “restaurateur” and a $10,000 bonus for each person they hire who starts as crew and goes on to become a manager. We have 170 restaurateurs out of 1,000 managers, and the turnover rate among them is very low.

Two things that work in this incentive plan are the status and recognition reward (“restaurateur”) and the material possession reward ($10,000).  I suspect their turnover rate is quite low based on these two incentives.

Take This Job And

shove it…apparently.  The Herman Trend offers up some stats that may catch you by surprise (emphasis mine):

It is interesting to note that in the United States more people quit their jobs in the last three months than those who lost their jobs. After 15 straight months of time in which layoffs exceeded voluntary departures, it appears that the job market is finally shifting.

In a related development, one-quarter of our business community’s most promising employees are increasingly disengaged and many are actively seeking new employment opportunities. A recent study on employee engagement, conducted by the Corporate Executive Board’s Corporate Leadership Council (CLC), found that 25 percent of the “employer-identified, high-potential employees” plan to leave their current companies within the next year. Compare that figure to the one from 2006 and we have seen an increase of 250 percent.

Moreover, 21 percent of today’s employees identified themselves as “highly disengaged”. This group has increased nearly 300 percent since 2007.

The mass movement of employees is on the horizon, but I think there will be limited movement until the economy rebounds.  In spite of what the government says, the economic situation is still tenuous at best.

Sales Departure Time

I do think there is an impending, colossal jump of sales talent in the very near future.  The Herman Trend Alert speaks to this potential in their latest report:

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, more than one-quarter (28 percent) of sales employers are concerned about losing their high performing workers in the second quarter, while more than one-third (35 percent) of sales workers said it is likely they will start looking for a new job when the economy picks up.

And here is why:

Increased workloads, longer hours and fewer resources related to the recession may be contributing to job dissatisfaction. Looking at key factors that influence job satisfaction and company loyalty, sales workers reported the following:

•Pay – More than one-third (35 percent) of sales workers said they are dissatisfied with their pay.

•Work/life balance – One-in-five (20 percent) sales workers said they are dissatisfied with their work/life balance.

•Career progress – One-in-five (21 percent) of sales workers said they are dissatisfied with the career advancement opportunities provided by their current employers.

I’m a bit jaded here in that I think pay is probably much higher then what is normally reported in these surveys.  Nonetheless, I have talked to a handful of salespeople recently who are starting to put their ears to the tracks regarding new opportunities.  I still believe the hiring landscape will be slow this year, but will begin to ramp up in Q4.  A year from now may be one of the largest retention struggles we have seen in quite some time.

Battle Lines

I’ve been busy over the past week or two handling a myriad of business topics and tasks which has decreased my blogging time dramatically.  One item has come up during this time at one of our customers – a battle of wills amongst managers.  This is no small battle, it has turned into an ongoing war for which I am now in the midst of the battlefield.

Without going into specifics, I can tell you where we start in these situations – motivations.  The first place to look when there is interpersonal conflict within an office team is the motivation pattern for each individual.  In the instance with our customer, we have two people with almost polar opposite motivational patterns.

Here is why this matters – neither person can understand where the other is coming from, especially in terms of decision-making.  Each person finds the other one to be inconsistent, off-base and…well, wrong.  The relationship has deteriorated into acerbic communication.

Unfortunately, this customer did not assess this employee when they were in the hiring phase.  Instead, they made an emotional hire.  This employee has the skills to succeed in this role, but the hiring manager was never informed of the employee’s motivational pattern.  If he had been, he would have known the differences between the two of them and he could have managed through them.

I’m not sure the relationship is salvageable.  I am certain it was avoidable.

Loan Out Your Employees

Now this is something I have not seen yet – loaning out your employees during slow periods.  Inc.com provides the article:

How it works: On the StaffShare website the “seller” company lists the employee’s skills, daily rate, and availability. The cost is £50 (roughly $81.70) a year per candidate. The “buyer” company searches the database, uses the website’s message system to vet candidates and iron out details with the seller, and then a contract is sent electronically.

The background behind the idea:

“The companies had these redeployment pools of 1,000 people who needed to find other work within the company,” Flaxton says. “So we thought, ‘What if there was a service where they could find it at another company?'”

Conceptually, I think it is a tremendous idea.  Logistically, I’m not sure how this approach would work for retention.  Still, I believe there will be major transformations once we finally come out of this severe recession.  Employees moving to a contract agreement seems to be a natural progression.

The movement of health insurance payments from the employer to the employee (inevitable based on rising costs) will remove one of the incentives of traditional employment agreements.  A contractual (1099) agreement could become the more standard arrangement.

The Key Word Is Hiring

You don’t have to look far to find disconcerting news about the present economy.  This AP story from one of our local papers lays out numbers that paint a vivid picture (emphasis mine):

There were nearly 6.4 unemployed workers, on average, for each available job at the end of November, according to Labor Department data released Tuesday. That’s up from 6.1 in October, and a record high.

There were 1.7 jobless people for each opening in December 2007, when the recession began.

Job openings fell sharply to 2.42 million in November from 2.57 million in October, according to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

That may sound like a lot, given the depths of the recession, but it’s the lowest number of job openings since July and the second-lowest since the department began tracking the data in 2000. It’s also about half the peak level of 4.8 million, reached in June 2007.

It will turn as our economy is almost constantly in a state of expanding or contracting.  The real issue on the horizon is retention as I have written about in the past.  Hiring is the key.  There are many salespeople today who are “corporate cocooning” until hiring picks up again.

Earlier this week I spoke to just such a salesperson.  He is stuck in a development position where the company is eager to talk about supportive changes but reticent to act on them.  He is simply performing in the role as best as he can with the internal company factors working against him.  He basically said he is ready to leave once there are signs of expansion in the economy.

There is probably a ratio in the above quoted article that flips the exit light on for salespeople.  I won’t hazard a guess, but I suspect it won’t have to get back down to 1.7 jobless people for each opening to open the floodgates to job jumping.

Retention Horizon

Employment in this economy is a wonderful asset, to say the least.  However, this abcnews.com story points to an impending problem – retention.

Even Americans who are lucky enough to have work in this economy are becoming more unhappy with their jobs, according to a new survey that found only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their work.

That was the lowest level ever recorded by the Conference Board research group in more than 22 years of studying the issue.

The economy will eventually turn around though it appears it is going to be a slower process in comparison to historical recoveries.  When it does turn and hiring picks up, there is going to be a tremendous push for retaining top sales performers.

I have talked to top salespeople recently who are not satisfied with their current position, but they are unwilling to make a change right now.  Interestingly, I have had a few of them contact me to get their oar in the water for when hiring picks up again.  At that point, they will use their sales prospecting skills to find a new opportunity for themselves.

The key to improving retention is understanding the salesperson’s motivations and identifying their reward structure.  Here is an example of how it works – if you have a salesperson who has a strong Utilitarian motivation (hopefully you do), they are driven by return on investment.  They will appreciate practical, efficient workplaces that assist them in their quest to close deals.  A sales department rife with gross inefficiencies will grate on this salesperson.

Now that you know their motivation, it is important to understand what rewards them.  Here is a fine point, but an important one.  If your salesperson is rewarded by Material Possessions, you can expect them to respond to money so they may acquire the possessions they desire.  This seems logical.

However, if you have a Utilitarian salesperson rewarded by Status & Recognition, their will respond more to titles, exclusive clubs (President’s Club) or money that they can use to gain access to a higher status (e.g. private golf club membership).  Both salespeople will appear to have similar reward structures, but they respond differently based on their deep-seated structures.

If you are interested in learning more about your team, please contact us at your convenience.