Do you know what your employees are doing? Well, let me enlighten you. According to research conducted by our German CSG partner, von Rundstedt, every third person is working on a job application and dreams of leaving your business. Do you believe this statistic? Gut feel alone is no longer enough. You need to know what your employees are doing. But the real question is why are they thinking of leaving? How could it have come to this?
The main reason often cited is a lack of attractive development opportunities at their present employer.
How does this compare with earlier generations? Loyalty and devotion to duty were rewarded with the next rung of the career ladder. When a company was hiring, there were often mountains of resumes and bosses could choose who they wanted. This scenario seems to have ended. A corporate survey among managers in Austria showed that 25% of vacancies are now hard to fill, with 4% in fact not filled at all.
Why is this so? Well, jobs today are very demanding. Job descriptions have changed a lot and many positions are now extinct. By contrast, new jobs that didn’t even exist two years ago are on the rise. In addition, there is a demographic change: there are simply less contenders for these demanding jobs.
If that were all, you could just be nice to your employees and all would be fine. But it is not! Other changes also determine current careers. The world has become flat. Companies must exist in a globalized world and be quicker and more flexible.
How does that change the lives of your employees? Job security is passé. Companies have denounced the psychological contract of "loyalty to lifetime employment" years ago. Uncertainty and change dominate the employment landscape.
Unsurprisingly, employees have quickly learned and adapted to the new situation. Instead of job security, they look for personal fulfillment. Many believe "if everything is uncertain anyway, I'll do what makes it fun." Unfortunately, this hasn’t worked well. According to the latest Gallup poll, 6 of 10 employees work because they need to. That does not sound fulfilling.
Work is changing - and it is a dramatic change. Companies and employees have new expectations of careers. What used to work doesn’t work anymore, and a new system has not yet been established. Instead, when it comes to careers, a vacuum has been created. Does that sound ominous? It will be if we don’t act.
The good old corporate ladder has landed in the garbage. In the future, careers will be like a climbing wall. The variations on the career route are unlimited – it goes up, down or sideways. Today’s career path is more akin to a climbing wall, offering many creative possibilities. It offers many perspectives and not just for those at the top. On the climbing wall, it can be exhausting, as it requires support to navigate the career wall.
Two conditions need to be put in place:
1. Employees need to be the drivers of their careers. You need to be active, not passive. You must be a designer and get out of the consumer attitude.
2. Managers have to conquer a new role – that of a career coach for their employees.
A simple tool can be used to illustrate this - the three circles - ability, desire and need.
Where these circles intersect, employees are satisfied with their work and produce peak performance. Why is this so important for you? As so often in life, what is simple is not so easy to implement. People need training and support in order to embark on the search for their personal peak performance. Likewise, leaders must learn to accompany their employees as coach and sparring partner.
Career management – a new competency. This skill ensures that employees deal confidently with their three circles to find their career satisfaction, and with the knowledge that managers will support them.
Keeping employees happy and satisfied at work is key for productivity. Employees who actively manage their careers are more engaged, resulting in higher levels of productivity and engagement, which is always good for the bottom line. Managers must work to support them.