This just in: Employees are ready to check out the moment a better offer comes along, according to MetLife's 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefit Trends, one of the big, well-known and highly regarded benchmark surveys. So what's an employee benefit survey have to do with employee retention? Apparently plenty. MetLife chose to begin the executive summary of their benefits survey with the following statement:
"The 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends delivers a clear message to employers: Reprioritize employee loyalty and satisfaction, or economic recovery may arrive with unanticipated setbacks for retention and productivity."
Even MetLife can't ignore the issue of employee retention and the disconnect between employee and employer. Go directly to the executive summary and you'll see a workforce that has grown more dissatisfied and disloyal, to the point where one in three employees hopes to be working elsewhere in the next 12 months. Yet ask employers if this is of concern and most will switch the topic to the rising cost of fuel. Why? Because it's easier to discuss world events than it is to discuss what's going on in your own backyard.
Organizations continue to focus on the challenging economic climate and assume their people will remain with them because they are happy to have a job. In some cases, that may be. However, don't confuse "happy to have a job" with "happy to be in one's job". How can you fuel your company's growth if you are using this energy to replace exiting talent? You won't have to answer this hypothetical question if you begin to address the issue of employee retention now, before there is no one left to worry about.
Take Action Now
Stop using delay tactics like climate surveys if you already have a sense of what the temperature is in your organization. You can feel this when you walk into a room. Do you and your clients feel warm and welcome or is there a chill in the room? Chances are you have a good idea what needs to change. That's why I suggest making changes as soon as you are aware there are problems, rather than waiting for the complete forecast.
It's no secret that employees leave their bosses. Note any patterns that indicate you may have a boss who needs to be sidelined. Gather feedback from your people and your customers to confirm your suspicions. Then execute your plan.
Yes, it's shocking to some that one in three employees are looking to exit their current employers. But on the other hand, if you take the time now to create an exceptional workplace that attracts key talent, you may indeed be the winner here as you pick up talent that just a few year's ago may not have been within reach.
© 2011 Human Resource Solutions. All Rights Reserved.
Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions and author of the new book, Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey). Visit Roberta's Blog or her Linked-in Group Suddenly in Charge! Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta's monthly newsletter, HR Matters.