Running of the Bulls American Style

Employees are lining up in your departure lounge waiting for a sign indicating the economy is improving. So why are you still treating employees so poorly?

A recent survey from Adecco Group North America highlights the increased dissatisfaction workers in America have with their employers. According to the survey, 54% of employees plan to look for a new job as soon as the economy turns around. The sentiment is even stronger among younger workers. Of those ages 18-29, 71% say they are likely to look for new jobs once the economy turns around, the survey said.


Jack and Suzy Welch warn employers about this in a recent edition of BusinessWeek. Only they take it a step further when they say, “Many people have come to the conclusion that they don’t want to work for ‘the man’ anymore. They want to work for themselves or someone they know and trust.” The impact of this growing attitude is profound. In fact, yesterday I was speaking with a woman who was saying how ready her husband is to leave the employer he has been with for nine years. He has “survived” numerous lay-offs, works 70 hours a week and took what was supposed to be a “short-term” pay cut of 20% that looks like it may be permanent. Who can blame the guy for running out the door the minute he sees a sign that the economy is improving?

I like to call this phenomena the Running of the Bulls American Style. When the flood gates open (and they will) millions of workers will flee those companies where they are being asked to do two, or in some cases three jobs, for the same amount of pay. Or better yet, they have taken the mandatory 10% across the board pay cut just so they can keep their jobs.

I’m still having a difficult time understanding why companies are operating like business is usual. It is anything but! We moved into this recession slowly, with few people even realizing we were here until we were knee deep into this. We will come out of this the same way. Very slowly.

This is the time for leaders to assess their workplaces and make changes before the gates begin to open. Or they may wake up one day to find that they are the only person left in the office.

About the author

For more than 25 years, Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies, including Best Buy, New Balance, The Boston Beer Company and small to medium-size businesses, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. She is known world-wide as “The Talent Maximizer®.” Roberta, a leading authority on leadership and the skills and strategies required to earn employee commitment and client loyalty, is the author of the top-selling book, Suddenly In Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, 2011), a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book For Leaders.