I actually was going to write this morning about another subject until I read this article online this morning, which essentially reveals that 84% of those who are currently employed want to get new jobs in 2011. What??!!! I just published a book this past May where the research showed that number at about 45%—which was a huge alarm in itself—but 84%?
This should be a terrifying statistic for any manager or leader. If this is not the #1 Human Capital issue of 2011 (and potentially 2012), I can’t imagine what would be. I wrote about this a year ago, when the number was around 45% and warned of workplace burnout and fatigue. Keep in mind that those presently employed were not let go during the downsizing or right-sizing recession over the past two years. These were folks that organizations had decided to retain for their skills, local knowledge, and relationships. Eighty-four percent of these folks want to leave your organization.
I can throw out a laundry list of the consequences of this workplace reshuffling, but the greatest risk is the loss of intellectual capital that it takes an employee to acquire. How things get done in an organization, who to know, when to execute on certain tasks, what people need to hear, and the power of networks – all this is at risk of leaving your organizations.
Some argue that new talent brings its own skills and intellectual capital – and that is true, but dozens of studies historically have shown that it takes almost 18 months for a new employee to learn to be effective in a new culture. Some could argue that if everyone is leaving, then everyone is starting afresh. Theoretically yes, but again, what will clearly take a hit as new employees and their working teams go through the stages of norming to performing… is productivity. It is quite possible that projects, new initiatives and programs, etc, will be slowed down significantly—not because of the recession or lack of funds (as has been the case the past two years), but because organizations simply do not have the talent to execute.
I know the initial reaction of most organizations will be to reinstitute retention bonuses and other financial rewards, even though studies have shown this is only one motivator and most often not the top one when it comes to unplanned attrition. I urge all my readers to think very hard about what kind of multipronged Talent Strategy they want to have for their organization and how soon they can get going on it.