A recurring comment that I hear in my job as an HR Consultant is around employees moving from one job to another and not showing any loyalty.
It seems that gone are the days of a job for life and beginning your career as a 17-year old cadet before retiring with the gold watch 50-odd years later. At least it seems that way in the white-collar world. I myself have had four different professional employers since the end of 2013, albeit, that coincided with a move interstate and back.
I’m not writing this to comment on the pros and cons of changing employers and/or careers. Let’s leave that one for another day or one of my other colleagues. What I did get into a discussion about with one of my newer colleagues the other day, was how do we stop people from job-hopping and/or incentivise them to remain with the same employer?
My first question to help solve this issue would be why do people change jobs in the first place?
Another layer of intrigue was added to this thought on Sunday night when I was having a Skype conversation with an old German friend of mine I hadn’t spoken to in over 8 years. She is about to finish her medicine degree and rotation to take up a permanent post in Berlin and she said that one thing that she missed about Australia and Australians was their ability to change jobs and careers without too much care about any potential negative ramifications. She said she knew of countless examples in Australia of people who had had 2 or 3 or more different careers in their lifetimes.
So obviously people are fine with the thought of leaving a company and are keen to try new things, but how does a company keep someone longer term in order to embed a culture and keep their experience on board?
One suggestion that I had was, to write a clause into the employment contract entitling the staff member to a guaranteed secondment to a department of their choice within the organisation. This would only be available after an agreed period of time in the role that you were hired in.
As an Accountant, have you ever had an itch of curiosity about I.T. Development that you have wanted to scratch? Human Resource professionals, have you always thought that working in Procurement would be pretty interesting?
Why leave an organisation that you have come to know and trust just to change jobs when you could potentially make a much easier transition internally?
I know that these types of moves do happen in the workplace and internal staff are encouraged to apply for vacant roles before they are advertised, but let’s not leave it to chance and availability, let’s show some conviction and some loyalty to our staff to reward them for their loyalty by enhancing their skills and broadening their horizons. Here is another option to incentivise staff and attract new talent without having to just throw a larger salary at them.
With a booming market of contractors and interim resources ready to jump at a role, a company would easily be able to backfill the position in the same way they do for a maternity leave contract with a similar clause ensuring the existing role would be held until the end of the secondment.
Imagine the benefit of having a cross-pollination of skills internally and building relationships and appreciations for what particular teams do. Not only that, you would keep building on the culture that the organisation has spent so long to implement and you would hold on to that invaluable knowledge and experience that is bred from longer tenures with the same company.
Perhaps this is already being done in the workplace and I just haven’t come across it?
Of course, it is always easier said than done, but shouldn’t we be looking outside the square to change a course of action?
Isaac Dufficy – Executive Consultant