Published on: November 9, 2015by Kevin Coupe
The New York Times this morning has a piece noting that as the economy improves and unemployment numbers go down - as they did last week - the top concern and priority for many employers is worker retention, an issue that is pervasive across virtually business sector.
For the moment, what this means is that employers are beginning to focus on reshaping their cultures so that employees feel more engaged with the company and their work, believing that this is critical to retention.
Indeed, a 2015 report from Deloitte says that "organizations are recognizing the need to focus on culture and dramatically improve employee engagement as they face a looming crisis in engagement and retention." And the Times notes that "a study from Spherion, a recruiting and staffing company, of 225 human resource managers showed that far fewer employers were concerned about employee costs this year than last."
One problem may be that employees may have different priorities than employers. For example, while employers may focus on raising wages, studies show that, except in sales, wages are not in the top five reasons people change jobs.
The Times continues: "It’s not surprising that employers should worry about losing their best workers as the economy gets better and job options open up. But a vastly changed work culture and the advent of the consumer Internet have altered the familiar cycle.
"Benefits are different from what they were 20 years ago. Retirement savings, for instance, have become more portable as 401(k)’s have largely replaced traditional pensions. But the Internet has brought changes that are every bit as radical to job hunting and hiring. LinkedIn profiles advertise workers’ skills and experience to the world. Sites like Glassdoor.com provide insight into a business’s culture that wasn’t available in the past."
As one expert puts it: "Workers have changed faster than the workplace."
In many ways, I think, the Times puts its finger on the real problem in its lead: "Most employees — no matter how many years they have been with a company or how much talent and hard work they bring to the table — feel disposable. And most employers do little to discourage that feeling."
I think that's absolutely true.
But here's the thing. I've always felt this is true. I think I've been writing about this for most of the almost 14 years that MNB has been in business.
But I also think that if businesses are going to really address this issue, it can't be situational. It can't be "business is good, unemployment is down, so I have to engage my employees, but if business goes south and unemployment goes up, I don't have to worry about it anymore."
Engaging employees and understanding that they want to feel valued has to be a persistent and consistent way of doing business. The shift in employee priorities is not a temporary thing ... and employers have to take it very seriously. Permanently.
It is an Eye-Opener. The season for employee disposability has turned, turned, turned.
- KC's View: