74% of Workers are Passive Job Seekers…

That’s right, 74 percent. Pretty startling numbers, aren’t they? Yet, they’re not exactly terribly surprising. As the economy continues to improve, slowly but steadily, more and more professionals are willing to jump ship for the right opportunity.

As reported by TLNT (Link to article: http://www.tlnt.com/2011/03/08/survey-74-of-workers-are-passive-job-seekers-ready-to-consider-a-move/), recent years have shown a vast majority of America’s workforce ponders a move, but this most recent study shows a decided jump in the numbers. The most recent study, conducted by Harris Interactive, on behalf of Plateau Systems, found that 74 percent of employed full time/part time and not self-employed workers would consider a new job opportunity.

“The numbers have been high for quite some time now,” you might be thinking. “Why is this a big deal now?”

There’s more to the survey results than just the numbers. According to Plateau, “After several years of recession marked by widespread layoffs, benefit reductions and pay cuts, many assume U.S. workers would be singing ‘I can’t get no satisfaction,’ and actively hunting for new jobs. While certainly true for many, the survey indicates that most workers are satisfied or very satisfied with their current employment, and only about a quarter have an updated profile or resume on a job board or networking site like LinkedIn or Monster.”

Let’s make sure we’re getting this straight. A vast majority of workers are satisfied with their current jobs…yet they are willing to jump ship if offered the opportunity once the economy has recovered enough for extensive job growth?

The survey identified three (3) primary reasons why workers, despite general satisfaction with their current jobs, would consider bailing on their current employers:

  1. The desire for high salary (57 percent)
  2. A need for general change (31 percent)
  3. The lack of adequate career and/or advancement opportunities (29 percent)

There they are, the three biggest obstacles, as identified by Plateau, to retaining your employees. Let’s take a look at how to combat them.

1. The desire for higher salary.Addressing salary concerns is not always the easiest problem to solve; however, there are other alternatives to a simple pay hike. Consider:

  1. Profit Sharing
    As the economy continues to improve, an added incentive for your employees to not only stay on board, but contribute to the bottom line, can be found in profit sharing. In addition to the financial benefit to employees, an added sense of contribution and commitment to the “bigger picture” are added benefits.
  2. Flexible Work Arrangements
    Although most of us would appreciate a higher salary, most employees wouldn’t argue with a more flexible work arrangement. Whether that includes working from home one or more days a week, or a job share with another employee, offer your team members opportunities to work outside the 9-5 grind.
  3. Other Rewards
    Recognition for a job well done cannot be overrated in importance. Who doesn’t like a pat on the back from time to time? When your employees go above and beyond, or simply do a great job–let them know it. Offer small touches to help your employees feel valued, like team lunches, birthday cards, or a bonus 3-day weekend.

2. A need for general change.It’s something most people have felt from time to time–like they’re in a rut. Long-time employees, when faced with an improving economy, could feel that their current job is getting a bit stale. Keep employees engaged and invested–and out of a rut–by offering:

  1. A Red Tape-Free Workplace
    In today’s workplace, employees are tired of hierarchies and bureaucracy. Too many meetings, bosses who supervise too closely…avoid these detriments like the plague, and keep your employees from losing their sense of independence and professionalism.
  2. Simplify Processes
    Doing the same thing repeatedly expecting the same result…didn’t someone once define that as insanity? Take a look at your internal processes, and cut the fat. Your employees can get drained and bored using time and energy on tasks and processes, simply because that’s how they’ve always been done. Keep your employees at the top of their game, and enhance your bottom line in the process, by encouraging them to offer suggestions for improving your processes. Or better yet, dedicate a day (or two) to solving your problems and simplifying your processes as a team.
  3. Give Regular Updates
    Sometimes workers can burn out or lose interest simply because they don’t know where they stand in an organization. When your employees are spending valuable time on projects, keep them abreast of updates, advancements, or status. By keeping your employees engaged and in the loop, they are more likely to feel continued investment in their job–and your business.

3. The lack of adequate career and/or advancement opportunities.Nearly 30 percent of people surveyed feel that their current positions offer a lack of opportunities. What does this show? Your employees want to grow and offer more to your organization! I think most organizations would want this “problem.” Keep your employees motivated and continuing to grow by:

  1. Supporting Networking
    Encourage your employees to network–both inside and outside the company. Through networking, professionals gauge the success of their efforts, and keep abreast of developments in their areas of expertise. They’ll have a clear idea of their potential for advancement, and might also bring back new ideas to improve your company!
  2. Give Employees Access to Information
    In a constantly evolving time, knowledge has become obsolete even faster than technology. Offer your employees updated information and resources so that they can educate themselves and have the tools necessary to advance within your organization.
  3. Share Potential Opportunities with Employees
    Most companies have regularly scheduled reviews. Use these reviews as an opportunity to discuss your employees’ goals and aspirations within your company. Then, provide encouragement and clear steps for employees to take in order to reach those goals. By simply giving your employees an idea of their potential success, they will remain engaged and excited to be a part of your company.

The team of specialized recruiters at Professionals Incorporated would like to speak with you if you  fall in to any of the above categories!  We work with both active and passive job seekers in Central and Western New York, Washington DC/Metro area, as well as on a nationwide basis.  Call us today at 315.457.2500

This article originally appeared as part of our monthly “Staff Matters” enewsletter

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