How often have you heard someone say, “I just feel so lucky to have a job,” over the past five years? How often have you said it?
You’re not alone. Ignoring other ambitions in exchange for job security is a common feeling across the nation in the aftermath of a recession where the unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent in the fall of 2009 and is currently still at 7.7 percent.
And despite statistics from December 2012 reporting a 15 percent increase in time spent at a job for employees age 25 and older since the year 2000, experts are now saying recent improvements in the economy could free people to quit their jobs and pursue other employment opportunities.
This new trend could cause a number of problems for employers who are caught off guard by employees leaving for greener pastures. Especially for those who haven’t focused on keeping employees happy and excited to come to work on a daily basis.
In recent years, employers didn’t necessarily have to focus as much on making employees feel valued and appreciated due to the lack of job openings and opportunities. However, recent statistics reported 3.69 million job openings in January, which is 270,000 more job openings than in January 2012.
And while experts caution that the market hasn’t improved enough for all professionals to have other options, there are some fields — like specialized accounting — where workers are leaving their current job for better offers.
Making Employees Feel Valued
So what is the most common reason people are leaving their current jobs and seeking other opportunities? It may be easy to assume money is the driving factor, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Although good salary and benefits packages do play a factor, the majority of employees leave their places of work because they are unhappy with management.
David G. Allen, a management professor at the University of Memphis, has conducted a large amount of research on this topic and found that workers value relationships with other colleagues, especially bosses, as much if not more than salary and benefits.
“I think smart companies need to make sure they’re making their employees feel valued,” Allen told NBC News.
A Mood Tracker Survey issued by Globoforce in November 2012 found that 55 percent of employees would leave their jobs for another company that made it a point to recognize efforts.
As a small business owner, it is important to not only be aware of this new trend, but also know a few simple ways you can make sure your employees feel valued and appreciated. This includes the following:
Be open to ideas and suggestions from employees
Make yourself available to talk whenever possible
Get to know employees and their families on a personal level. Know about their spouses, children and hobbies.
Talk with your employees about their dreams and goals and how you as an employer can help them accomplish those goals at the company
Create an office environment that is welcoming, friendly and fun
Allen also noted that the first employees to look for other job opportunities and eventually quit are typically your best employees and ones that could hurt you if you lost them. Be prepared and take action to make sure your employees feel valued and a part of your company’s family.